Sixty-six per cent of Asian pupils and 61 per cent of black pupils from English state schools went on to higher education compared with 46 per cent of white students who gained a place at university.
The statistics, released by the Department for Education today, also revealed that 80 per cent of Asian pupils, 79 per cent of “other” ethnic groups, 78 per cent of black students and 72 per cent of mixed ethnic groups progressed to education, employment or training after Key Stage 5, compared with 69 per cent of white students.
The information relates to students who were in Key Stage 5 in 2009-10, and is based on their destinations in the year after taking A levels or equivalent qualifications.
It comes on the same day as Ucas figures showed that white 18 year olds have had the lowest application rate for university courses since 2009.
According to the DfE data, white students were also less likely to go on to a “top-third” university - based on the mean A-level tariff score of entrants in 2010-11 - than other ethnic groups.
Only 14 per cent of white pupils entered such universities compared with 26 per cent of “other” ethnic groups and 21 per cent of Asian students.
The same pattern also emerged for students obtaining a place at Russell Group universities, where just 8 per cent of white children gained a place compared with 15 per cent of “other” ethnic groups and 10 per cent of Asian students.
Black students, however, were the least likely to progress to a Russell Group university from KS5 with only 5 per cent going to such institutions.
The research also highlighted the different trajectories of students who claimed free school meals, which are offered to pupils from families with low household incomes.
It found that a higher proportion (9 per cent) of students who did not receive free school meals went on to a Russell Group university compared with those who did (4 per cent).
Similar proportions of boys and girls progressed to education, employment or training after taking Level 3 qualifications at KS5, with no disparities emerging in the percentages entering Russell Group universities, Oxbridge or the top third of HEIs.