Skip to main content

Our priority groups

Our Widening Participation work supports people from a wide range of backgrounds to reach their potential.

To achieve this, we have identified priority groups of people who are under-represented in higher education. People in these groups will be the focus of our specially designed support and outreach programmes, aimed at benefiting both current university students and people in the community.

Our priorities are reviewed on an annual basis using the latest data and guidelines.

Our priority groups are categorised under the five headings below:

Care experienced

A person is considered care experienced if they have been in care or looked after for three months or more.

Forces veteran

A veteran is a current or ex-service man or woman who has served a minimum of one day in the Armed Forces: the Army, Royal Navy (Royal Marines) and Royal Air Force. This also includes National Servicemen, Regulars and Reserves.

Refugee / asylum seeker

In the UK, a refugee is a person who has fled their country, and is seeking protection, which can be due to a number of reasons.  An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for refugee status and is waiting to find out if it has been granted.


A person who is entering university for the first time and is aged over 21 is considered a mature student.


Living with a disability should not be seen as a barrier to accessing and thriving at higher education - we have a range of support services available.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds

We are committed to strengthening race equality by creating a diverse and inclusive environment.

Part-time students

Some part time study options are available at Cardiff University and can provide students with the flexibility needed. We want to ensure students choosing this option are supported through their application and beyond.


We are committed to providing a campus environment that promotes and celebrates use of the Welsh language, for first language Welsh speakers as well as learners.

Caring responsibilities

A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support” (Carers Wales).

Estranged from family

The term estranged student is used to refer to students who are studying without the support of a family network. We understand that no two estranged students’ circumstances are the same so please contact us if you feel this applies to you.

Household income

Household income usually refers to how much your parents/guardians earn combined, annually (for students under 25 years old who live with, or depend on them financially). At Cardiff University, if your household income is under £35,000 you may be eligible for additional financial support from us.

First generation (parents/guardians not educated to HE level)

Please note you are still considered first generation if you have siblings who have gone to university, for this measure we look at whether your parents/guardians have attended university.

We access information about the school you have/are studying at, and this information can include location, percentage of students eligible for free school meals and exam performance.

Your postcode provides us with information about the area where you live. There are two measures we look at from your postcode.

The first is POLAR, which tells us about the rates of participation in higher education across the UK by area. If your postcode is in the bottom 40% of postcodes, you may be eligible for our programmes.

The second is IMD (indices of multiple deprivation) which looks at a range of different measures about your area. Again, if you are in the bottom 40%, you may be eligible.

Contact us

For more information please contact our Widening Participation and Outreach team:

Widening participation and outreach team