An expected 70 per cent of incoming Cambridge freshers will be from state schools

The number of undergraduates starting this year has increased by 10% from 2019’s cohort

In a press release today, Cambridge University has announced that they expect 70% of the incoming freshers to be from state schools, up from last year’s rate of 68.7%. The University has also not forced any undergraduate student to defer as a result of the mismanagement of A-level results this year, and is instead accepting record numbers of students in the 2020-21 cohort.

According to the University press release, “Almost 400 students who met the conditions of their offer following the issue of revised exam results based on their teacher assessed grades have been admitted.”

“No student has been forced to defer entry to 2021.”

The University indicated that this will result in a bumper year of students; instead of the usual yearly cohort size of 3450, Cambridge is admitting “up to 3,890 students” in order to honour all offers that had been met according to teacher-assessed grades.

The University goes on to say: “Not only have Faculties and Departments been flexible, but there has been a collaborative effort on the part of Colleges to ensure accommodation and tuition can be found for everyone being admitted in 2020.”

This news follows nationwide uproar at the original mismanagement of A-level grades, resulting from an algorithm causing downgrades for thousands of students, which was considered particularly to affect those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. This caused many across the UK to miss their Cambridge offers, and sparked an open letter to be penned by Cambridge SU’s Class Act campaign, demanding that the University “consider applicants from Widening Participation backgrounds on the basis of their predicted or centre-assessed grades.”

Indeed, the University has said today that it had “exceeded its widening participation targets following the initial release of the results”, expecting that “70% of UK students will now be coming to us from state schools, surpassing last year’s rate of 68.7%”, though official statistics are set to be released later in the year.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, said: “This summer has been an exceptionally challenging admissions process. Staff have worked around the clock to ensure that each student who has met their offer secures a place to study at Cambridge. And our Colleges have worked together to provide extra accommodation for the higher than planned intake. This incredible effort means we are not having to compel any student to defer entry until 2021.

“I am also proud that we have the highest ever number of state school students arriving this year as well as greater numbers from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, underlying our commitment to providing equality of educational opportunity. We look forward to welcoming all our new students in October.”

Featured image credit: Christian Richardt, Wikimedia Commons