This data sneaked out alongside the new area based measures data, without fanfare or press release. It makes it clear that higher tariff providers (itself an unhelpful distinction as courses not providers have an entry tariff) have seen recruitment sharply grow in all parts of English 18yo society.
We get data for “higher” and “all” tariffs – subtracting one from the other makes it clear that “other” providers have lost out among least deprived students.
This graph shows the percentage point difference for each POLAR4 quintile for “other” providers, looking one and five years into the past. The sector has become more rather than less stratified over five years, with recruitment among quintiles two to five falling for these providers while rising sharply at higher tariff providers.
This is the impact of a policy that has sought to see more popular providers grow at the expense of less popular ones – you could argue this is the natural way of the market, but the risk of cold spots of provision plays against the leveling up agenda. By plotting the numeric difference for “higher” and “other” tariff providers, you can see that the latter group is losing out for least deprived applicants, while still doing a lot of the work in widening access (though this is less striking in direct comparison to last year.