If you went to state school you can get on A* courses with B grades

You’ll need higher grades if you went private

You can now study at top unis even if you didn’t get the grades – but only if you went to state school.

Sixth formers from state education are getting on to Russell Group courses sometimes with two grades lower than the entry requirements, according to an audit by the Daily Mail.

These generous offers are given when students are from bad schools, low-income families or live in troubled areas.

Only 17 per cent of Russell Group students from private school had Bs or Cs at A level, which rose to one in four for state school students.

The pattern was most obvious at less selective Russell Group unis like King’s College and Newcastle, where the gap between state and private applicants was largest.

Oxford is the most private school uni in the Russell Group

Oxford is the most private school uni in the Russell Group

At the top of the Russell Group, Oxbridge and Imperial were found to admit privately educated students with A* grades, but state school applicants with As.

These practices have drawn criticism from some groups who call the methods “crude”.

Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, told the Daily Mail: “Lowering the bar is unfair on students who got the top grades and it also means people may be entering universities for which they are ill-equipped.

“It could have a dumbing down effect, social engineering is not the answer.

“The way forward is to focus on improving schools so that students can be selected on merit.”

Under government regulations, any uni that wants to charge £9k fees must run programs to encourage students from poorer backgrounds.

The amount of disadvantaged teens admitted to higher education has increased by over 60 per cent since 2006, but those from middle class areas are still seven times more likely to go to uni.

Cambridge is one of the most private school unis in the country

Cambridge is one of the most private school unis in the country

Dr Lee Elliot Major, chief executive of the Sutton Trust said: “Many of the world’s leading universities recognise that it is harder to excel academically in some schools than others, and use contextual admissions to recruit bright students from less advantaged backgrounds.

“In this country, some of our best universities are doing the same and we support them in this.

“The evidence is that where young people are recruited on this basis, they do as well as those with slightly higher grades at university, which testifies to their often having had to work harder than those with the better grades to get there in the first place.”

In 2014, stats showed Oxford is the most private school uni in the country, with 42 per cent of undergrads coming from an independent school background.