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Oxford shows continued progress on state school and ethnic minority student admissions

Oxford University has continued its progress on offers to target student groups, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 across two admissions cycles, new figures show.

Figures just released by the admissions body UCAS for the University’s 2020 intake show that Oxford has increased the proportion of admitted UK undergraduates with Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority heritage to a record level. Meanwhile, early figures for offers for 2021 show the University is in line with last year’s record offers for state school pupils and has again made progress among students from the most socially disadvantaged areas.

For the 2020 admissions round, the number of British Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority undergraduates accepted rose again to 684 students, or 23.6% of the UK intake, up from 558 or 22% the previous year. Within that group the number of Black and mixed-race undergraduates also rose on the previous year. The number of Black students accepted was 106 or 3.7% of the intake, up from 80 students, or 3.2%, the previous year. Analysis by UCAS shows that, when predicted grades and subject choice are taken into account, Oxford is now more likely to make offers to students from areas less likely to progress to higher education (POLAR4 quintile 1), to students with African and Caribbean heritage, and students with mixed heritage.

For students applying in the most recent admissions cycle, the University has made a total of 3,541 offers. In this cycle, state school pupils received 68.7% of all offers, in line with the 69.1% figure last year for offers and the record 68.6% who were admitted.

The ratio between admissions from the most socially advantaged groups and the least has continued to fall. For students from areas less likely to participate in higher education (POLAR), it fell significantly from 7.6:1 to 6.3:1 and on areas measured by social disadvantage (ACORN) it fell from 2.8:1 to 2.7:1; both ratios are well ahead of the targets the University has agreed with the Office for Students.

The University’s Opportunity Oxford bridging scheme for students from the most disadvantaged areas also had a successful second year, with offers made to 167 students, up from the 116 offers made in its first year.

Dr Samina Khan, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at Oxford, said:

“Last year’s record figures for offers to students from underrepresented groups was a significant step towards diversifying our student body, but to be able to make further advances for a second year during the COVID-19 pandemic is an achievement and testament to the hard work by many students in these difficult circumstances  The University has also worked hard to put much of its outreach and access activity online and we are delighted this helped keep us on track to boost the proportion of undergraduate student intake coming to Oxford from under-represented backgrounds.”

Oxford made 34 offers to black students through the Target Oxbridge programme in the 2020-21 admissions cycle, in line with last year’s programme results. With support from Oxford, Target Oxbridge is aimed at helping more UK students of Black heritage apply to Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and its applicants enjoyed an application to offer rate of over 40%, which is considerably higher than the average conversion rate for UK applicants.

The University remains committed to further progress on admissions, and to providing more help for those school students who have been most disadvantaged by the pandemic, through targeted online outreach and academic support.