Matching in the dark? Inequalities in student to degree match

25th October 2021 : 12:45 - 13:45

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Quantitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Dr. Gill Wyness, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL

Location: Mary O’Brien Room, Lady Margaret Hall (LMH)

Convener: Steve Strand

Audience: Department Staff and Students

This paper examines inequalities in the match between student and degree quality using linked administrative data from schools, universities and tax authorities. We analyse two measures of match at the university-subject level: undergraduate enrolment qualifications, and graduate earnings. We find for both that disadvantaged students match to lower quality degrees across the entire distribution of achievement, in a setting with uniform fees and a generous financial aid system. While there are negligible gender gaps in academic match, high-attaining women systematically undermatch in terms of expected earnings, driven by subject choice. These inequalities in match are largest among the most undermatched.