Cambridge University admits highest number of state school pupils for 30 years

The number of state school pupils given places at Cambridge has hit a 30-year high following a drive to boost admission rates in the face of rising tuition fees, it was announced today. This is from the Telegraph…

Almost two-thirds of British students with places at the ancient institution this autumn are from state-funded schools and colleges, it was revealed. Numbers are up from just 58 per cent a year earlier.

At the same time, the proportion of places turned over to pupils from fee-paying schools has slumped to their lowest level since the early 80s.

Cambridge hailed the figures today as proof that the university was seeking out students with the greatest “potential” to succeed – irrespective of school or social background.

It comes as the university prepares to offer one of the most generous packages of bursaries and grants in Britain to soften the blow of a near tripling of tuition fees this year. Like most top universities, it will charge £9,000-a-year for undergraduate degrees.

But the disclosure is bound to fuel the debate over the “social engineering” of university admissions.

It comes just weeks after Prof Les Ebdon, the new head of the Office for Fair Access, warned that highly-selective universities would be required to set “challenging” targets to boost admission rates among students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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