British universities won’t be able to see applicants’ names anymore

Drink up, applicant B-1245!
Drink up, applicant B-1245!
Image: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth
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Earlier this year, when one professor analyzed 151,000 applications to the Russell Group of the 24 most prestigious UK universities, she found they had a particular problem with diversity. While 54.7% of white applicants got an offer, black applicants had a success rate of 21.9%. Offer rates for Pakistani and Indian students were 30.3% and 43.1%, respectively.

The British government has announced a possible solution to this. From 2017, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service will remove names from university applications.

This follows an earlier announcement that big employers, including HSBC, the BBC, and Deloitte, will recruit graduates on a “name blind” basis. Deloitte has even gone a step further; its own recruiters will not even see an applicant’s university next year to prioritize their academic achievements.

This year, for the first time in history, the number of American women with a bachelor’s degree surpassed the number of men with one, but prestigious American universities are also struggling with the same issue of discrimination as their British counterparts.

For all students, the biggest factor in determining admission to elite US universities is still being born rich. And in May, 60 Asian-American associations submitted a joint complaint accusing Harvard University of discriminating against prospective students of Asian origin.