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For release on 30th September 2002

Low proportion of disabled people entering higher education

A recent report identified that an 18 year old with a disability or other health problem is only 40% as likely to enter higher education as an 18 year old without a disability or other health problem. With the Government and the education sector talking constantly about widening access to higher education for under represented groups, action must be taken to improve this figure. To help to encourage more disabled students to apply to university, Skill has just launched Into Higher Education 2003, an informative and practical guide for disabled students thinking about entering higher education.

Into Higher Education 2003 features lots of useful advice about applications, getting support, grants and benefits as well as profiles written by disabled students about their own experiences in higher education. The guide also includes listings written by institutions offering higher education courses about the arrangements they can make for disabled students. The listings, which include contact details for each institution's disability co-ordinator, can also be accessed as a searchable database on Skill's website, www.skill.org.uk.

Dawn Dyson, writing about her experiences studying English at Sheffield Hallam University for the guide, said:
"If I had to give any advice to someone with a disability who is wishing to go into higher education, it would be as follows; do it! If you want to do it you can, and life is too short to keep putting it off. I wish I had done it years ago!"


Barbara Waters, Chief Executive at Skill, said, "With the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act Part 4: Education from September 2002, disabled students now finally have legal rights in education. Into Higher Education will give disabled students the information they need to feel confident about going to university or college alongside the knowledge that institutions have a legal responsibility to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students."

Into Higher Education is priced at £12.50 for professionals and £2.50 for disabled students and can be ordered from Skill, Tel: 0207 450 0620, Email: skill@skill.org.uk.
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Interviews with Skill's Chief Executive and with some of the students profiled in Into Higher Education 2003 can be arranged through Liz Victor, Tel: 0207 450 0643, Email: lizv@skill.org.uk.

References:
1. National Audit Office, Widening participation in higher education in England, HC 485 2001-2002

Notes for Editors:
1. Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities gives information and advice to thousands of disabled students every year on how to maximise their experiences in education (higher and further), volunteering, training, and employment. The Skill information service is open from Monday to Thursday, 1:30pm to 4:30pm, on 0800 328 5050 (voice) or 0800 068 2422 (text). Extensive information is publicly available on Skill's website: www.skill.org.uk. Skill also advises government policy makers and disseminates good practice through publications, conferences and professional networks. Skill is a registered charity with offices in London, Belfast and Edinburgh.

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