The focus of this thesis is to analyze the contribution of HE to social justice in England’s society. Recent educational reforms claimed for a ‘fairer’ educational system, although the literature points to a divergent pattern of participation and attainment rates in education according to the individuals’ socio-economic background. The study of educational equity / equality is a small, but important part of social justice. Inequality is likely to occur in relation to educational opportunities in terms of access (participation), output (attainment) and outcome (the consequences of education). Based on this rhetoric, this study analyzes two functions of HE, its import and export role. As they are both interconnected, this research project offers first an in-depth look at the import role of HE in England, establishing a student profile and discussing recent educational policy reforms. Two different theoretical perspectives (focusing either rational action or social structures) will aid at understanding the differences between social groups, in terms of access / participation and attainment in HE. Overviewing the import role of HE provides a solid foundation upon which the export role will be looked at, by exploring the individual and societal benefits of HE, namely through a key component – knowledge. Even though inequalities are an inherit part of society, the literature points to the positive effects of education, through the widespreadapplications of knowledge, at both individual and societal levels.