Why are Britain's universities still failing black and Asian students?

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New figures show that white university students receive significantly higher degree grades than those from minority ethnic backgrounds with the same A-level qualifications. This suggests that higher education institutions are somehow failing black students, which should be a national embarrassment.

Three years ago the National Union of Students (NUS) conducted a study on the experiences of black students. The findings showed that they face a range of barriers in all levels of education, which affect satisfaction and attainment. The figures made for uncomfortable reading. It emerged that one in six black students had experienced racism in their institution, a third felt their educational environment left them unable to bring their minority perspective to lectures and tutorials, and 7% openly labelled their learning environment as "racist".

Many linked their experiences of racism with a drop in their self-esteem, confidence, motivation and desire to continue their education, reporting that they felt marginalised and socially excluded. Worse still, we continue to hear stories of how black students are being pushed down before they've even really had a chance to get their feet off the ground.

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