A £4 million gift from an educational philanthropist will boost the University of Cambridge's efforts to attract more state-school applicants.
Harvey McGrath, former chair of Man Group and a graduate of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, has pledged the money to enhance the university's existing £3 million-a-year widening participation and educational outreach programmes.
The gift will fund a range of new initiatives to be led by an appointee to the new post of director of undergraduate recruitment.
The initiatives will include a study into the use of social-networking technology and podcasting for recruiting.
The university is also planning to work with more students in the 14-plus age range and to double the number of places made available at its over-subscribed summer schools.
The announcements are the latest in a series of initiatives by Cambridge to encourage a wider range of applicants.
The university announced earlier this month that it would scrap its requirement that its students hold a GCSE in a foreign language, as many state-school students cannot meet this requirement.
Cambridge has also decided to abolish the separate application form that prospective students are currently required to complete in addition to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service form.
Alison Richard, the vice-chancellor, said: "This is an incredibly generous and timely gift from Harvey. We are committed to attracting the brightest and best students, and we need to continue to remove real and perceived barriers that discourage some students - particularly from the maintained education sector - from applying."
Geoff Parks, director of admissions for the Cambridge colleges, said: "This is very welcome news. The extra funds mean that we can expand our widening participation programme to reach more young people to give them an experience of what Cambridge has to offer, and encourage them to apply."
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