The number of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students applying to top universities rose to record highs last year, PA reports.

According to equalities data from Ucas, applications from BAME students to ‘higher tariff’ universities – i.e. universities that require the highest A-level grades – increased by 7% between 2016 and 2017. In contrast, the number of white students applying to top universities fell by 0.9% over the same period.

“It’s important that those applying to university are confident that their applications will be considered on the basis of their merits,” said Clare Marchant, chief executive of Ucas. “Our data shows overall, admissions are fair. Applicants from all backgrounds receive offers at rates which closely match the average for applicants to similar courses, with similar predicted grades.

“However, these data also show that, while progress continues to be made in widening participation, particularly at universities with a higher entry tariff, large disparities remain between the groups entering higher education generally, and at individual universities and colleges.”