This chapter focuses on UK higher education and how structural racism is perpetuated through inadequate attention to access, support, and wellbeing. Inequalities in higher education correspond with those in health, where there are marked disparities between ethnic majority and ethnic minority populations, as COVID-19 revealed. The research employed a qualitative methodology to explore students’ experiences of higher education at a widening participation university during lockdowns resulting from COVID-19. Twenty undergraduate students participated in focus groups and semi-structured interviews across the academic year 2020–2021. These were audio recorded, transcribed, and coded using thematic analysis. The findings reveal that ethnic minority students suffered from inadequate access to technology, insufficient attention to child-care responsibilities, a dearth of peer-to-peer interactions, and limited institutional support for mental wellbeing. Inclusive support services and welcoming learning environments, including space for peer-to-peer learning, however, were emphasised as enablers for effective learning and emotional wellbeing. This study has shown that inequalities in access, support and wellbeing in higher education remain. Overcoming these inequalities requires equitable access and support provisioning for ethnic minorities so that all students can fulfil their potentials, at university and after.
Part of the book: Effective Elimination of Structural Racism