Education news

Cambridge University calls for support to improve diversity

St Edmund's College did not make any offers to its black applicants over the period. Picture by Cambridge University

CAMBRIDGE University has called for support from schools and parents to increase diversity after data reportedly showed some of its colleges admitted no British black students - or as low as one a year - over a five-year period.

A Freedom of Information Request by the Financial Times is said to have revealed that six of the prestigious institution's 29 undergraduate colleges had admitted fewer than 10 British black or mixed white and black students between 2012 and 2016.

The university told the paper that it had admitted a record number of comprehensive school students who identified as black in 2017 after a rise of nearly two-thirds in applications on the previous year.

Cambridge said it is undertaking a "significant bit of outreach", but added: "Ultimately the university isn't going to be able to bring about this change on its own.

"We need the support of schools and parents too."

The figures were supplied to the paper as ranges in order to adhere to data protection rules.

According to the figures, St Edmund's College did not make any offers to its 31 to 35 black applicants over the period, while Hughes Hall received 74 applications and made between five and seven offers.

Corpus Christi and Magdalene received 40 applications each over the period and both colleges made between three and nine offers.

The third most popular college, Downing, made between eight and 12 offers after receiving 95 applications over the period, although it made no offers in 2014 and 2015, the paper said.

The university said: "More needs to be done to prepare high-achieving black students for applications to Cambridge and Oxford, which is why we have significantly increased the funding we contribute to programmes like Target Oxbridge."

Oxford recently said it needs to do more to improve its student diversity, after revealing the proportion of students identifying as black and minority ethnic was 18 per cent in 2017.

This was up from 14 per cent in 2013.

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