Oxford University awarded 51.7 per cent of places to applicants from state schools this year, compared with 54.3 per cent last year. Jane Minto, director of the Oxford Colleges Admissions Office, said: "For entry in 2003, we had the highest total number of applicants ever recorded. This was made up of a 9 per cent rise in the number of applications from the independent sector, compared with a 3 per cent rise from the maintained sector. We are continuing with our efforts across the university to encourage bright applicants from all backgrounds." Cambridge University will not finalise its figures until later this month, but it is understood that the data will show an increase in offers to state school-students of about 1 per cent.