Oxford University has begun a fightback against charges of social elitism with a major promotional drive on a new bursary scheme for poorer students.
Chancellor Lord Patten was expected to launch an advertising campaign for the package which will offer students from low income families up to a total of £10,000 over their time at Oxford or £13,000 for those taking four-year courses.
The campaign, to promote the Oxford Opportunity Bursaries, will use tactics such as national newspaper advertisements and billboards posters on sites used by school bus routes from today.
The university hopes the offer will help attract bright students from less well-off backgrounds who might otherwise be put off applying on financial grounds.
Under plans first unveiled in December last year, the bursary will work on a graduated basis with students from the poorest households - those on an income of less than £16,000 a year - eligible for the full £10,000 (or £13,000) offering.
Students from families with incomes between £16,000 and £22,500 will be eligible for sliding scale basis up to a £33,500 a year cut-off point.