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Friday, 26 May, 2000, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Oxford and Cambridge: Student profile
Oxford dons
Do Oxbridge dons teach a broader mix of students?
About half the students chosen to take up places at two of the UK's most prestigious universities come from state schools.

Yet less than one in 10 children in the UK attend independent schools.

Now and then
Oxford
This year: 53% from state schools, 49.5% women
1980: 56% from state schools, 35% women
Cambridge
This year: 53% from state schools, 46.5% women
1979: 50% from state schools, 20% women

The government, keen to be seen to sweep aside the country's class divisions, has accused Oxbridge admissions policies of being elitist.

Chancellor Gordon Brown said it was a "scandal" that a Havard scholarship winner from a Newcastle comprehensive had been rejected by Oxford University.

Although the universities have redressed the gender imbalance of the past, Oxbridge continues to attract a disproportionate number of applicants from independent schools.

Of the undergraduates entering UK universities from secondary school, more than 80% came from the state sector.

According to the Higher Education Funding Council, a university with the course mix offered at Oxbridge would be expected to have about 65% of its intake from state schools.

Oxford University

This year, Oxford made 53% of its offers to UK students from the state sector and 49.5% to women. That compares to 56% from the state sector in 1980, with just 35% women.

Oxford
Half of Oxford's student body went to independent schools

Yet the proportion of undergraduates from the private sector - currently 49% - is far higher than the 8% of the nation's children who go to independent schools.

Of the 7,852 UK students applying last autumn for places at Oxford in 2000, almost 56% came from state schools.

Students living in the North East made up 2.3% of all applicants, and were offered 2% of the places.

Those from the North West made up 8.6% of the applicants and 8.9% of the successful candidates; and students from Yorkshire and Humberside made up 4.4% of applicants, and 5% of those offered places.

But Oxford's student population almost mirrored the nation's ethnic make-up, with non-white Britons offered almost 8% of places in the 1999 intake. That compares to 5.3% in 1992, when the university began monitoring students' ethnic background.

Cambridge University

This year, Cambridge made 53% of its offers to UK students from the state sector - 46.5% to women and 10% to non-whites. That compares to 50% from the state sector in 1979, when women made up just 20% of the student body.

More than 59% of its applicants last year came from state schools.

Students living in the North East made up 3% of all applicants, and were offered 3% of the places.

Those from the North West made up 7% of the applicants and 9% of the successful candidates; and students from Yorkshire and Humberside made up 6% of applicants, and 6% of those offered places.

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