The University of Cambridge continues to attract record numbers of economically disadvantaged and underrepresented students

The University of Cambridge has published its annual admissions statistics for the 2020 academic cycle (for those who applied in 2019 for 2020 or 2021 entry).

The figures show a record state school intake of 70.6%, up from 68.7% on the previous year. As reported last October, the number of Black students continues to rise, increasing by 50%, and more than a fifth of undergraduate students now come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The statistics include;

  • The proportion of students coming from economically disadvantaged areas (as measured by the official indices of multiple deprivation) has risen to 21.6% (from 19.7%).
  • The proportion coming from the lowest two POLAR4 quintiles (areas of low participation in Higher Education) has also gone up, from 13% to 14.1%.
  • 29.3% of last year’s new arrivals identify as BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), up from 27.8%.
  • The male/female ratio is 48:52.
  • There was a 13.3% increase in admissions due to the revision in A-level grades in the summer (3,997 were admitted compared to 3,528 the previous year).
  • There were notably high success rates for applications from the north-east and Wales.

Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Virgo, 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.”

The Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges, Dr Sam Lucy, said: “Cambridge is 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. This is testament to their resilience and determination and to the hard work of colleagues in Colleges and the University, liaising with schools and their students up and down the country. Our outreach activities have gone online and we have continued to offer mentoring and tutoring support to applicants and offer-holders from less advantaged backgrounds, and provide freely available learning resources for all through our HE+ website ( We will do our best to ensure that our admissions processes take account of the individual challenges that many of our applicants will continue to face.”

The annual statistics can be viewed here: