2009 volume 41(8) pages 1849 – 1864

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Holdsworth C, 2009, "‘Going away to uni': mobility, modernity, and independence of English higher education students" Environment and Planning A 41(8) 1849 – 1864

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‘Going away to uni': mobility, modernity, and independence of English higher education students

Clare Holdsworth

Received 9 June 2008; in revised form 21 July 2008; published online 28 April 2009

Abstract. Recent changes in English higher education (HE) admissions policies and financial support have sought to increase diversity among university entrants. It is anticipated that, as more young people from different backgrounds choose to go to university, a greater proportion will choose to study at local higher education institutions (HEIs), rather than move away. I review the evidence for a trend to more localised study among English HE students. Analysis of admissions data shows that HE expansion has been concomitant with less interregional student mobility. However, despite the fact that a smaller proportion of students are moving away to university, the expectation that going to university means moving away continues to shape students’ experiences of and attitudes to university life. I unpack the taken-for-granted assumptions about student mobility and transitions to independence and adulthood. Drawing on analysis of interview data with students, I explore how assumptions about student mobilities are socially and culturally coconstituted and how student mobility has become established as an elite practice within English HE.

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