OXFORD University has forked out more than £100,000 for each student it admits from a poor background, according to an analysis on access figures.

Statistics outlined by Lady Margaret Hall principal Alan Rusbridger suggest Oxford’s “cost of acquisition” for each extra student from a low income area is £108,000, over a seven-year period.

Oxford has faced heavy criticism over admissions after statistics revealed 'glacial' progress on admitting undergraduates from minority groups.

The new data is based on Oxford’s record of admitting about 10 disadvantaged students each year, and spending at least £14m a year on widening participation.

Mr Rusbridger, a former Guardian editor, writes: "From the inside, I see real concern in numerous colleges to create a fair admissions system open to all. From the outside, I could see the frustration, even anger, at Oxford’s apparently glacial pace of change."

Professor Martin Williams, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education at Oxford University, said: “As Alan says, the University cares passionately about having a fair and accessible admissions system. Our outreach spending has several purposes, including widening interest in higher education generally among children from primary age upwards. Presenting this spending simply as a cost per additional widening-participation student admitted to Oxford doesn't reflect everything it achieves. For example, our work locally with IntoUniversity is dramatically improving entry to all universities among students from Oxford’s most deprived neighbourhoods. 

“We have a range of targets for improving access, with 40% of our UK undergraduates now coming from the groups we aim at through outreach. That said, and as Alan rightly points out, more needs to be done. We will shortly be setting a further set of demanding targets to ensure Oxford education is open to talented students of all backgrounds. Alan’s article is a welcome contribution to the debate around this. Our colleges are key to this and we welcome the commitment and innovation that colleges, including Alan’s, are showing on the vital question of diversifying our student intake.”