In England it has long been a policy objective to widen participation in higher education. This project addresses a number of important questions regarding access to higher education for different types of student, particularly disadvantaged students, ethnic minorities, women, those entering HE without A levels and mature students. For example, at what age should interventions aimed at widening access to higher education be focused? In particular, when do socio-economic, ethnic and gender gaps in educational attainment emerge? Do students from different family backgrounds and with differing prior attainment have different perceptions of their ability to benefit from higher education? Do previously under-represented groups experience a very different form of higher education from their more advantaged peers, particularly in terms of subject studied and quality of institution? Do progression rates vary across different types of student and across different subjects and quality of institution? The research will use quantitative methods and a variety of large scale data sets, largely longitudinal. Specifically, the project will make use of combinations of key English administrative data sets to provide a uniquely comprehensive account of the educational attainment of an entire cohort of young people.