Determining factors of access and equity in higher education:A systematic review

Mega Megawanti*, Renate Wesselink, Harm Biemans, Perry den Brok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This literature review study aims to provide an overview of influencing factors of access to and equity in higher education. In this way, the research offers insight into specific factors that support or hinder access and equity, respectively. Forty factors from thirty-three peer-reviewed articles, mostly from three continents: Europe, Australia, and America, published between 2014 and 2018, were selected for further analysis. The articles were analyzed into four organizational levels: government, university, pre-university education, and student. Most findings on this topic discuss government policies and financial support. In addition to financial support, the significance of this paper discusses social support influence (by peers, by family, by teachers, by university officers, and via programs) to improve access and equity in higher education. Social support emerged as crucial for both access and equity. This study alerts researchers, teachers, administrators at the university level, and policy-makers at the national level to focus more on social relations between peers, students, and lecturers, support by the managerial level, and establishing programs that provide basic academic skills to disadvantaged groups.
Original languageEnglish
Article number275264612210924
Pages (from-to)279-296
JournalEquity in Education & Society
Issue number2
Early online date16 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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