Roma University Students in Spain: Who Are They?

Ainhoa Flecha*, Silvia Abad-Merino, Fernando Macías-Aranda, Blas Segovia-Aguilar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Roma people in Spain face situations of high deprivation, including high unemployment and early school leaving rates. The strategies to address this situation point to education as the means to overcome poverty and social exclusion. Although efforts have been made within compul-sory education, scarce attention has been given to their performance once in higher education. Although young Roma people are reaching higher education more often than their parents, once at university they face specific barriers that hinder their opportunities. Using a mixed-methods ap-proach, UNIROMA analyses those difficulties and formulates orientations to overcome them, thereby contributing to increasing the university graduation rates of Roma students. This paper presents the results of the quantitative fieldwork, consisting of an online questionnaire administered from May to July of 2020 to Roma students enrolled in Spanish universities. In the results, three main profiles were identified: traditional students, young students with other commitments (job and/or family responsibilities) and mature students. The results, concordant with research on other minority groups and higher education, provide evidence of the barriers that Roma students face in university due to the intersectionality of multiple factors of discrimination, namely, belonging to an ethnic minority and being more frequently first-generation, low SES and non-traditional students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number400
Number of pages17
JournalEducation sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2022


  • Roma people
  • ethnic-minority university students
  • first-generation university students
  • higher education


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