Why do some students from Global Majority and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities choose to withdraw from university?

Although preliminary findings from ROTA's Pilot Study cannot be said to be representative of the Higher Education sector as a whole, some concerning issues have emerged. Among many reasons why students choose to leave or consider leaving university, race discrimination appears to play a part.

ROTA is keen to take this research forward, to explore the experiences of students more closely and to obtain the views of university Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Leads on how improvements might be made to address discrimination.

Download the full Report HERE

We are gathering feedback on this Pilot Study to inform the next phase of our research. Please use the comments section below. ROTA welcomes comments and feedback.


Thank you.


  1. What are your experiences of
    What are your experiences of university? If you have experienced race discrimination has it affected your decision to continue your studies? If you have read our Report, please give us your views on the findings.

  2. I am not sure the correct
    I am not sure the correct approach is being taken to understanding this issue. The answers as to why GM and GRT communities decide to withdraw from university will to a large extent already be documented by the Universities themselves.

    It seems to me that ROTA is just asking the wrong questions of the universities and their students.

    For instance, the Universities will already have ample large scale data on what students find attractive about their courses and life at the university. There are ample survey forms such as this

    Which universities have always used to collect large data samples from their student populations.

    In that data will be the reasons why GM and GRT students may be leaving in disproportionate numbers. The task for ROTA is to obtain the results of these large-scale surveys and to see whether (if not explicitly requested in the survey) the results can be demarcated by ethnicity (GM/GTR).

    The objective of any survey should be to identify why GM/GTR students are likely to drop out, rather than how many have dropped out. The difference being that the proportion who have dropped out may only represent a small cohort of a much bigger issue.

  3. Thank you for your response
    Thank you for your response to the Report. The findings of our preliminary (Pilot) study were based on a small number of interviews with university EDI Leads and survey of students at London universities. We acknowledge that the sample may not be representative of the sector as a whole. For this reason, we intend to expand the research to a wider population. The next stage will explore further whatever data is held by universities on the reasons students choose to discontinue their studies, including that which is collected by surveys such as SurveyMonkey, as you point out. We agree that there may be much bigger issues regarding withdrawals. For example, we are aware that the proposed re-structuring of the Higher Education loans system (LLE) coupled with new entry requirements (MERs) need to be examined more closely in relation to the decisions that students from GM and GRT communities take on entering, and continuing Higher Education. ROTA is holding an event to discuss the findings of the Report on May 25th and welcome views on how to take the research forward. Registration details for this conference will shortly be available on our website.

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