ONLY one in three young people in Huddersfield go on to higher education, a report reveals.
The figures, published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, also unveiled major inequalities in the national number of young people from poorer areas continuing their education, compared with those from more affluent parts of the country .
The national study examined the participation rates of students in every region, constituency and ward from 1994 to 2000.
It showed that just 29% of young people in Huddersfield went on to further education, as against 69% in London and 65 % in Sheffield.
One of the worst areas was Hull, where only 12% continued with their studies.
The report also found the most advantaged 20% of young people were six times more likely to enter higher education than the most disadvantaged 20%.
Council chief executive Sir Howard Newby said: "This reports highlights just how entrenched the divisions are between advantaged and disadvantaged areas.
"It reveals the extent of the challenge facing society and the whole educational system if we are to make real inroads in improving participation rates for young people from poorer backgrounds, so that a greater proportion can benefit from higher education."
The study also found women were 18% more likely than men to enter higher education in 2000.
But university and college lecturers' Union NATFHE expressed serious concerns about the report.
Roger Kline, head of the union's higher education department, said: "The report reinforces our fears of what will happen when student fees increase and students face increased debt.
"If poorer students are already less likely than wealthier ones to go anywhere but their local university - as this report shows - then increasing the cost of study will put further pressures on them to choose their studies on the basis of proximity and affordability, not preference.
"If their local university cannot provide a significant bursary the current plans for university and student finance will continue to keep higher education beyond the reach of many bright students from poorer backgrounds ."