Nine out of ten students at Lancaster are state educated, well above the benchmark for Russell Group universities which on average is 60-75 per cent.
Now a new study of degree results, by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), has found that 65 per cent of state school pupils with A-level grades of BBC achieved a first or 2.1 - compared with 53 per cent of private school peers with the same grades.
Lancaster is distinctive among other universities in being both inclusive and research intensive. The University attracts students of high quality and potential from a diverse background - in contrast to many of its Russell Group peers.
To achieve this, the University has supported students with a generous package of scholarships and bursaries and has delivered a comprehensive programme of outreach activity. Lancaster also provides accommodation and fee waivers for students from the lowest household incomes.
Lancaster is also ahead of the benchmarks for universities for undergraduates who are black or from minority ethnic groups and from those students coming from low participation neighbourhoods.
An important measure of student success is the ultimate progression to work or further study. Lancaster has 93% of graduates going into work or further study within six months - the highest proportion in the North West.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark E. Smith welcomed the report.
“The challenge to widen access, participation, progression and achievement is a central part of Lancaster’s mission. Lancaster has long been the choice of bright students coming from state schools who want to study at one of the UK’s best universities. Lancaster is the highest ranked university in the North West in UK league tables.
“This report confirms what Lancaster has always believed - that everyone with the potential to benefit from higher education should have the opportunity to do so, whatever their background and our degree results and graduate employment record are testament to that.
“Support for students is an important component of removing barriers to effective study, preventing drop-out and maximising attainment. Lancaster has a particularly comprehensive student support network which gives every student two advisors to provide pastoral and academic support on a regular, one-to-one basis. This system of support contributes to a very low dropout rate at Lancaster.”
The new study looks at the achievements of 130,000 students from universities and colleges across England up to August 2011.