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26th Jan 2023
Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that Oxford University has bucked the national trend and is accepting fewer state taught students.
Excluding smaller specialist colleges, Oxford has the lowest proportion of state educated students in the country and has actually seen a drop in entrants from this background.
Of its 2015-16 intake, 55.7% were from state schools and colleges, compared to 57.7% five years earlier.
In contrast, the proportion of state educated students at Cambridge University has risen from 54% to 62% in a decade and the institution now has fewer privately educated students than universities such as Bristol, Durham and St Andrews.
Of those UK students starting as full-time undergraduates at British universities in 2015-16, 89.9% were educated in the state sector, up from 88.9% five years ago.
All other Russell Group institutions have also seen an increase in the percentage of state educated students in the last five years.
Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that while senior figures at Oxford University have been trying to improve access, it had not yet filtered down to individual admissions tutors.
Mr Hillman added: "As the admissions are done by the colleges, the university is less in control of admissions.
"There is the issue of unconscious bias, where tutors don't realise you are doing it but they are actually choosing people who look and seem a bit like them."
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