A record number of state-educated students will be admitted to Cambridge this autumn, The Times reports.
The proportion of state-school students has increased from 71.6 per cent last year to 72.5 per cent of UK entrants this year.
The rise follows criticism of Oxford and Cambridge for being dominated by white and privately educated students, which has resulted in a series of measures to increase diversity and opportunities for those from other backgrounds.
Many in the independent sector accept the inevitability of a “levelling up” in admissions between the state and private sectors. But some have criticised both Oxford and Cambridge for “social engineering”, believing there is now a bias against the privately educated.
Eighty-four Cambridge students were admitted through its “August reconsideration pool”. Under this scheme, students from less advantaged backgrounds who narrowly missed out on an offer from Cambridge in January but went on to achieve high grades at A-level and were considered again for places last month.
A total of 47 students who have faced extra challenges to their education have also been accepted into the first cohort of the university’s new “foundation year” that helps students prepare to apply for courses in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
Dr Sam Lucy, director of admissions for Cambridge, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming another cohort of talented young people on to our courses this year who have shown real resilience in [achieving] superb results.
“Every student who gets a place at Cambridge thoroughly deserves it. We know that many will have faced challenging circumstances in the last two years and the colleges are ready to help with the transition to university study.”
Last year’s admissions statistics show that 99 per cent of those who started degrees at Cambridge had achieved at least the equivalent of A*AA grades in their A-levels.
However, more than 7,700 candidates who achieved those grades were unsuccessful in their application.