This paper proposes that widening participation in higher education might distinctively be conceptualised beyond economically driven human capital outcomes, as a matter of widening capability. Specifically, the paper proposes forming the capability of students to become and to be 'strong evaluators', able to make reflexive and informed choices about what makes a good life for each of them. Evaluating equality and justice in higher education, and specifically the case of 'widening participation', is then greatly advanced by considering the conceptual tools provided by Amartya Sen's capability approach. The paper therefore elaborates on Sen's ideas and demonstrates their applicability in relation to widening participation student voices gathered in research interviews. Important though Sen's ideas are, there are barriers that stand in the way of taking up these ideas educationally. While three such barriers are acknowledged in the paper, four resources of possibility for recovering widening participation as capability formation from neoliberal and other forms of instrumentalism are also sketched.