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Cambridge University to Improve Access

Posted by Richard Ward

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Cambridge University is to increase its efforts to attract a greater number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Following criticism from politicians and regulators, the institution's vice-chancellor, Stephen Toope, has outlined new ways that it will improve access for students from poorer families.

The university is finalising proposals following a demand from the Office for Students, after a fall in the proportion of undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds attending England's most prestigious institutions.

Cambridge plans to offer around 200 additional places to students from all backgrounds, who did not receive offers at the start of the year but do better in their A levels than their predicted grades.

Moreover, Mr Toope said a significant number of the 31 colleges are discussing ways to jointly provide "foundation" programmes from 2020 for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, which could consist of online courses and short visits to better prepare undergraduate applicants.

Cambridge is also looking to provide extra funding so undergraduates from poorer families have the funds to fully participate in university life.

Commenting on the plans, Mr Toope said they not only have to think about how to get people into Cambridge but to ensure their success throughout their time there.