MORE students who are BAME, from state schools, and disadvantaged backgrounds are being admitted into the University of Oxford, a new report has revealed.

The university’s fourth annual admissions statistical report was published yesterday, with results highlighting increased diversity at the university.

However, while more poorer pupils in the UK are applying, applications from the EU have fallen.

In total, 3,695 students were admitted to Oxford, about 400 more than usual.

Almost four fifths of those places (2,950) went to students living in the UK.

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In the foreword to the report, vice-chancellor Louise Richardson says the highlights of the report are as follows:

• Over the past five years, the proportion of students from state schools rose from 58 to 68 per cent

• The proportion identifying as Black and Minority Ethnic rose from 15 to 23 per cent

• The proportion from socio-economically disadvantaged areas rose from eight to 15 per cent

• The proportion from areas of low progression to higher education rose from 11 to 15 per cent

• The proportion declaring a disability rose from seven to 10 per cent

• The proportion of women rose from 48 to 54 per cent

Indeed, when it came to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, in 2020, 15 per cent of students admitted came from the two most disadvantaged groups (Acorn categories four, five and six).

Acorn is a postcode-based tool that categorises the UK’s population by level of socio-economic advantage.

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In a statement, the university said: “There was concern across the sector that the method chosen to award A-level grades last year might negatively impact young people from under-represented backgrounds, particularly those who had been adversely affected by the pandemic crisis.

“However, the collegiate university worked to support students affected, being as flexible as possible, ensuring that the most talented applicants were accepted, especially those who are under-represented at the university.

“As a result, in 2020, the incoming undergraduate student body included a record level of students from a state school background than ever before, with more than 68 per cent (1,899) of new undergraduates attending from state schools – an increase of more than six per cent on the previous year’s admissions of 62 per cent (1,557).

“The report also shows that more students of black, Asian and ethnic minority heritage are choosing the university than ever before, representing 23 per cent of Oxford’s UK intake – up from 22 per cent in the previous year.”

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A potential impact of Brexit however may be the downturn in the numbers of students applying from the EU.

Applications from UK and non-EU students rose, however applications from EU students dropped.

Sixty per cent of applicants came from the UK, with UK students making up 79 per cent of the total admitted.

EU students however made up just 11 per cent of applicants, and seven per cent of the total admitted.

The highest number of overseas applications and admitted students was from China.

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Mrs Richardson commented: “While the pandemic has, in many ways, changed the way we operate, it has not weakened our commitment to diversifying the make-up of our student body.

“The progress evidenced in this, our fourth annual admissions report, is a testament to the dedication of our admissions teams, the support of school teachers and, of course, the many talents of able and ambitious young people.

“Notwithstanding all the adjustments and adaptations required by the pandemic, we remain committed to ensuring that every talented, academically driven pupil in the country, wherever they come from, sees Oxford as a place for them.”

Samina Khan, director of undergraduate admissions and outreach at the university, added: “The pandemic will continue to hit the least advantaged students for a while, hence we remain resolute in stamping out inequality in access to Oxford.

“Working together with schools across the country, we are increasing our focus on reaching regional ‘cold-spots’ where the most talented young people are still under-represented at Oxford – driving down the risk that we are missing out on some of the UK’s brightest students.”

For the third year running, Oxford admitted more UK female undergraduates than male.

The most competitive courses at the university are economics and management (16.9 applicants per place) and computer science (16.1).