Oxford University has announced that more than 22% of undergraduate students starting in 2019 were Britons from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds – up from 18% on the previous year’s UCAS admissions statistics. The overall proportion of Black students admitted is up from 2.6% in 2018 to 3.1% in 2019.
2019 was a milestone year for Oxford’s commitment to access. In May, two new initiatives – Opportunity Oxford and Foundation Oxford, were announced, alongside a steady increase in the number of students choosing the University choosing from under-represented backgrounds. And, just last week, the University unveiled the Oxford–Arlan Hamilton and Earline Butler Sims Scholarship – its first dedicated, fully funded scholarship at undergraduate level for black British students from disadvantaged backgrounds, provided by the international tech entrepreneur Arlan Hamilton.
Professor Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at Oxford University said: ‘It has been a busy 12 months at Oxford, and I am thrilled to share that our efforts to widen access and build a University environment where talented students from every background and region, are welcome and would want to be here, are moving in the right direction.
'These developments are testament to the individuals working towards and driving our access agenda day to day. Our access and outreach teams work with schools, families and communities to reach students and provide opportunities for them to decide for themselves based on facts and what we have to offer them – not hear say, or long-held perceptions, whether Oxford is the place for them.'
With students who have applied to the University in this cycle will are set to take part in the Opportunity Oxford pilot programme in summer 2020, and the first Oxford-Arlan Hamilton Earline Butler Sims scholar due to begin at the University in the next academic year, 2020 looks set to be as progressive for Oxford as the previous year.
As well as continued efforts to sustain an inclusive undergraduate student body, specific attention will be given to ensuring that the University environment is as inclusive as it can be, from the curriculum studied to the behaviours observed. Work will also focus on postgraduate admissions, and expanding the University’s offering for students who have been through the care system.
Professor Williams added: ‘Truly being an inclusive institution is about more than just talking about access and attracting students from less traditional backgrounds. All students need to feel and trust that Oxford is somewhere they feel welcome, valued and respected, and that their wellbeing matters to the University. I am proud to be a part of this exceptional University community, and over the next 12 months I look forward to sharing more about our work to take Oxford University to the next level.’