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Awarding Gap Project

A Widening Participation and Social Mobility project aimed at reducing the awarding gaps that exists between Black and marginalised minority Ethnic students and white students.

Awarding Gap Project

A significant piece of work, overseen by the Student Inclusion Team, which seeks to use an evidence and research informed approach to develop projects to support our students. Working in collaboration with our students and engaging a range of key stakeholders, from across the University and wider community.

The University of Southampton are committed to reducing our awarding gap, in line with the targets set in our Access and Participation plan (APP).

Black Fresher's Guide

Black Fresher's Guide

A resource created by the Awarding Gap Project Panel to help new students navigate their adventures at Southampton.

View here

What is the awarding gap and what does the project aim to do?

The Awarding Gap Project is a course of action, aimed at tackling the awarding gap between Black and white students, where there is the largest disparity in degree outcomes across the sector; both sector-wide across Higher Education as well as internally.

The ethnicity degree awarding gap is the percentage point (pp) difference between the proportion of Black, Asian and minority Ethnic (BAME) students and white students awarded a 1st or 2:1 degree classification at undergraduate level. Across the HE sector in the UK, for the 2021/22 academic year, the BAME degree awarding gap stood at 10.5pp difference. More specifically, the gap between Black and white students’ degree outcomes stood at 18.3pp, for 2021/22. Internal UoS data currently reflects what we can see across the sector, as the gap between Black and white students outcomes sits roughly the same at 18.1pp difference.

This project seeks to work with a range of key stakeholders, using an evidence and research informed approach to develop projects to support our students and close the gap. The project is a collaborative piece of work between our students and the University, which strives to create long-lasting positive change throughout the institution. Through the project we recruit a panel of students each year who are at the forefront of curating peer-led interventions.

The Awarding Gap Panel

The Student Inclusion Team, within Widening Participation and Social Mobility, recruited undergraduate students at the University of Southampton to take up paid positions on the Awarding Gap Project Panel.  

The panel currently consists of students from Black ethnic backgrounds (currently underrepresented in higher education), who have oversight of activities and interventions targeted at Black students at the University with the aim of improving their university experience. 

With the support of staff, our student panel members evaluate the impact of existing projects, develop new interventions in response to feedback, and are a part of implementing targeted campaigns.

Members of the panel are able to scrutinise reports, drawing on internal and external data, before having the power to make informed decisions regarding which interventions and activities to put into place for other students. The panel is also responsible for planning and hosting at least one community building event each semester and are supported by the University with the financial resources to do so. 

Members also undergo high-quality training prior to taking their posts, involving external speakers, which further equips them with the skills to complete their work.

Students involved gain experience of being part of a proactive committee alongside fellow students, challenging staff, and carrying out campaigns. Becoming a member of this panel allows students to be part of a project that has the potential to form a wider case study into the impact of entirely peer-led interventions on the lived experience of Black students in Higher Education.

While primarily focused on supporting students from Black ethnic backgrounds, the project is dedicated to creating an environment that is equitable for all our students.

The University’s pledge

The University of Southampton signed the Race Equality Charter (REC), showing our commitment to addressing racial inequalities within the Higher Education sector.

The REC, is an initiative from the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) which works to further support equality and diversity for staff and students.

By signing, the University have committed to the REC's aims of improving the representation, progression and success of our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and students.

As part of our commitment, we have been developing initiatives and solutions to improve race equality across the University; the Awarding Gap Project being one. This is also in alignment with the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy.

How you can get involved...

Sign up to our internal Awarding Gap Project mailing list to keep up to date with our events, related opportunities and more.

If you would like further information or to get involved with the project feel free to contact us at

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