On Air Now
Early Breakfast with James Stewart 4am - 6:30am
14 May 2014, 08:36 | Updated: 14 May 2014, 08:41
New figures show fewer state school pupils won a place at Cambridge University in 2013.
Statistics published by the institution show a rise in the proportion of places handed to youngsters educated privately.
Overall, applications to the university rose to a record high, with 16,185 people applying - up 3.1% on the year before.
The figures cover students applying from September 2012 onwards to start a degree course at Cambridge in October last year, as well as those deferring their entry to this autumn.
The data shows that just over three in five places (61.4%) were awarded to students attending UK state schools and colleges - down from 63.3% in 2012.
And more than a third of places (38.6%) went to youngsters who went to a private school - up from 36.7% in 2012.
The university said its target, across its colleges, is to take between 61% and 63% of its students from state schools by 2015/16, and this target has been agreed with the Office For Fair Access (OFFA).
Around one in six successful applicants in 2013, about 16%, were from an ethnic minority background. This was also down slightly from 16.4% in 2012.
Dr Mike Sewell, director of admissions for the Cambridge Colleges, said: ``We have been delighted to see another increase in the number of talented and ambitious students applying to, and competing for a place, at Cambridge.
``We are a highly selective institution and inevitably not every application will be successful. However we can assure every applicant - and their schools, advisers and parents - that they have been assessed holistically as an individual, and they have been assessed on academic factors alone.
``We remain within our target range for state school admissions. Year-on-year variations were anticipated and we are still above the position of 2011.
``Such fluctuations also demonstrate that we prioritise fairness in our admissions decisions over meeting targets. We do not operate a quota system at Cambridge. Every successful applicant has won their place on merit in an open and fair contest.''
The statistics also show that applications from UK students were up 3.7%, those from EU students were up 2.9% and those from international students outside the EU were up 1.5%.
In total, 3,371 students were accepted, down 1.9% compared to 2012, and more men were offered a place than women.
Around 96.8% of those handed a place scored the equivalent of an A* and two A grades in their best three A-levels.