Teenagers in some parts of Leeds are nearly three times as likely to apply for a university place as their peers just a few miles away, figures out today reveal.
The city’s “education gap” means youngsters’ expectations of studying for a degree depend heavily on where they live.
The Leeds Central parliamentary constituency has been placed fifth from bottom of a national table measuring application rates for universities, with fewer than one teenager in five applying for a course.
But just two miles away, in the leafy Leeds North East constituency, which includes Moortown, Roundhay and Chapel Allerton, more than half the eligible students put in an application.
The figures led to calls last night for greater equality.
Nicola Dandridge, of Universities UK, an advisory group set up to look at application rates, said it was acknowledged that disadvantage was “deeply entrenched in our society”.
She said universities needed to work even more closely with schools and colleges.
Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust charity, which campaigns against educational inequality, said: “The massive difference in the numbers going on to university between the top and bottom constituencies reflects the fact that the chances of getting to university are very much dependent on where you live and where you go to school.”
The Department for Education said applications from poorer youngsters were at “record levels”.