UCAS has published figures showing that the proportion of UK undergraduates from ethnic minority backgrounds admitted to Oxford has reached record highs.
In 2020, the number of students from a BAME background who were accepted rose to 684 (23.6% of total UK intake), compared to 558 (22%) the previous year. The number of Black students who gained a place has risen from 80 (3.2%) to 106 (3.7%).
Further analysis from the admissions body has also shown that after accounting for subject choice and predicted grades, Oxford is now more likely to make offers to students from disadvantaged areas, to students from an African and Caribbean background, and to students with mixed heritage.
In the most recent admissions cycle, Oxford made a total of 3,541 offers. Of these, 68.7% were made to state school students, a marginal decrease from last year’s 69.1%. However, the ratio between candidates from the most socially advantaged areas to the least has fallen considerably, decreasing from 2.8:1 to 2.7:1 as measured by ACORN. Meanwhile, for students from areas least likely to participate in higher education the ratio also fell from 7.6:1 to 6.3:1 according to the POLAR measurement.
Both of these statistics are ahead of targets agreed upon by the University and the Office of Students. The Opportunity Oxford bridging scheme has made a large impact in just its second year of operation, with 167 students of its students receiving offers compared to 116 last year.
Target Oxbridge, a programme that aims to help UK students of Black heritage get into Oxford and Cambridge, has also announced an application to offer rate of over 40%. This is significantly higher than the average conversion rate for UK applicants.
The Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at Oxford, Dr Samina Khan, commented: “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.”