Equality Act 2010 Explanatory Notes

Section 91: Students: admission and treatment, etc.

306.This section makes it unlawful for universities, colleges and other institutions in the higher and further education sectors to discriminate against, harass or victimise a student or someone who wants to become a student in relation to the arrangements it makes in deciding who to admit, the terms on which a person is admitted and the way a person is treated when admitted. Subsection (3) of section 91 specifically makes it unlawful to discriminate when considering conferring qualifications to disabled people who are not enrolled at the institution.

307.It also imposes on the responsible body of such an institution the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students and prospective students.


308.This replicates the position in previous legislation.

  • A college refuses admission to a man who applies to be a student, because he is gay. This would be direct discrimination.

  • A university refuses to provide residential accommodation to Jewish or Muslim students. This would be direct discrimination.

  • A college puts an age limit on access to a particular course. This would be direct discrimination, unless the college could show that the age limit was objectively justified.

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