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Now it’s Cambridge’s turn: Black students admissions stats revealed

Six colleges admitted fewer than 10 black students in five years


Between 2012-2017, some Cambridge colleges admitted no black students, with six out of the 29 undergraduate colleges taking fewer than 10 black students.

The figures come to light following an FOI request by the Financial Times, and reveal the low success and application rates made by black students.

At Downing College, only 8-12 applications from black students were successful (over the five year period), out of a total of 95 applications. This leaves black applicants at Downing with an 8.4 per cent – 12 per cent success rate, which is less than half of the university average, which stood at 21 per cent in 2017.

St Edmund's made no offers to the 30 black students who applied between 2012-2017.

By contrast, Fitzwilliam , Homerton, and Pembroke made multiple offers each year: 30 applicants were successful over the five year period at Fitzwilliam, with Homerton and Pembroke taking 24-26 / 62 applications and 17-21 / 66 applications respectively.

Oxford has also been criticised for its low intake of black students, after an FOI request by MP David Lammy in 2015 showed that 10/32 Oxford colleges accepted no black students in 2015.

Only 2.8 per cent of all applications to Cambridge were made by black students. However, this does not take into account the six per cent of applicants who chose not to disclose their ethnicity. Nationally, black students make up eight per cent of all university applications.

In a statement, Cambridge University said that the success rate stood at a 'record high', as BME (not specifically black students) acceptances were 22 per cent of all offers made in 2017. A university spokesperson also noted the continued investment made in Target Oxbridge, which supports black students through the application process, through which 46 black students have achieved offers at Cambridge since 2012.

The university also said that it would not be able to improve diversity on its own, ad that to do so would require "the support of schools and parents."

Last year, a post made by the Cambridge Afro-Caribbean Society, in which the 15 black, male undergraduates accepted to Cambridge took a photograph in Trinity College, went viral.

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The caption included a quotation from ACS member Dami Adebayo, who urged his peers to apply to Cambridge: "Young black men don't grow up thinking they'll make it here. They should."

Whilst there are signs that change is happening, it is clear that there's still some way to go.