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Cambridge sees record number of BAME admissions in 2020

The University of Cambridge accepted record numbers of British students from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds last year. 

Nearly three in 10 (29.3%) of UK undergraduates admitted to the institution in 2020 were from BAME backgrounds, an increase in the 27.8% seen in 2019.

The annual admissions statistics confirmed Cambridge also accepted a record proportion of state school pupils (70.6%) in 2020, up from 68.7% the year before.

These numbers come with a 13.3% increase in the number of students admitted in total – from 3,528 in 2019 to 3,997 last year – in part due to the U-turn on A-level grading last summer.

The proportion of British students from economically disadvantaged areas rose to more than a fifth (21.6%) in 2020 from 19.7% the previous year, the new figures show.

We have a commitment to seeing more students from underrepresented backgrounds here at Cambridge and this work will continue.

– Professor Graham Virgo

The admissions statistics also confirm the proportion of students from areas with low progression to higher education admitted to Cambridge last year rose from 13% in 2019 to 14.1%.

There was a fall in the number of applications from the North East of England and Wales, but as a proportion of students from those regions gaining a place, the university said the success rate was high – at 24.6% and 24.8% respectively.

Professor Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor, said: “2020 was a challenging year across the higher education sector, but I’m happy to say, despite the increase in undergraduate admissions, we were able to admit each student who met the terms of their offer, with no forced deferrals.

“What these statistics show is that we are meeting, or even exceeding, our benchmark targets.

“It’s encouraging to see the number of BAME students rising again. We have a commitment to seeing more students from underrepresented backgrounds here at Cambridge and this work will continue.”

Dr Sam Lucy, Director of Admissions for the Cambridge colleges, said the university was “delighted to see the number of students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds increasing this year, at a time when many of those students have been particularly affected by the pandemic”.

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