150 personal stories of how university changed lives


Cover: Trentham Books

This is Professor Mary Stuart’s book about the history of higher education in the UK.  The Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln used real-life personal experiences from those who were the first people in their family to go to University. Mary said “I have tried to illustrate how higher education can and does transform the life chances of individual people from the humblest of backgrounds.”

The book titled ‘Social Mobility and Higher Education: The life experiences of first generation entrants in higher education is a culmination of a research project.  It features autobiographical accounts from 150 people about how getting a degree changed their life chances.  

Professor Mary Stuart, VC University of Lincoln

Professor Mary Stuart

The book aims to highlight the broader changes in British society and culture since the Second World War. Mary said that the “dialogue about the merits of higher education has become heavily politicised in recent years and, to some extent, we as a society may have lost sight of all that higher education can offer.  The message that if you have talent and ambition, then you will have the chance to apply it, regardless of your postcode or parents’ income, is really fundamental to having a fair, meritocratic and prosperous society. The repercussions of pulling up the ladder for a new generation of young people could be very serious for our society.”