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King’s Ranks As Top Russell Group University for Social Mobility

A black and white photo of students at their graduation. They are sitting in a row next to the aisle facing forwards. All are wearing black gowns and caps
Photo by Emmanuel Offei via Unsplash

King’s College London (KCL) has placed fourth on the English Social Mobility Index, according to London South Bank University (LBSU) and the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).

This year’s English Higher Education Social Mobility Index (SMI) sees KCL rise one place from last year, to rank behind Bradford (1), Aston (2), and City, University of London (3). The university is the highest ranked Russell Group University in the index. King’s is the highest ranked Russell Group University in the index. Its neighbours, the London School of Economics (LSE) and University College London (UCL), placed fifth and tenth respectively.

The university shares that 48% of KCL UK undergraduate students meet one or more ‘widening participation’ criteria. Furthermore, 39% of undergraduates at King’s come from the most disadvantaged areas of the country. KCL states it spends £10 million annually on needs-based bursaries and that it provides more bursaries than any other London Russell Group university, with the exception of Queen Mary University of London, which placed sixth on the HEPI index.

This positive ranking is despite the King’s Living Bursary providing the lowest levels of default financial support to students in the lowest bracket of household income out of all London Russell Group universities, as well as complaints of high rents charged by KCL Residencies. KCL does have an array of other funding opportunities for students, both domestic and international.

The HEPI SMI ranks English universities that are registered with the Office for Students by their contribution to social mobility. This is measured by the social distance travelled by their graduates and the proportion of their graduates so transported. The index combines measures of access, continuation of study and graduate outcomes for undergraduate students. It was established in 2023.

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