AC Grayling's new university has mainly private students, figures reveal
The majority of the first students accepted at a new university set up by a group of leading academics are from private schools, it was revealed today.
Around a fifth of those due to attend the New College of the Humanities (NCH) when it opens its doors this autumn are from the state sector.
NCH is a new private university headed by philosopher AC Grayling.
Its founders have said the £18,000-a-year institution will offer the "highest-quality" education to "gifted" undergraduates, and hope it will rival Oxford and Cambridge.
Prof Grayling today announced that NCH has received 355 applications so far from students aiming to start this September, and 91 offers have been made.
Of these offers, 22% have been made to youngsters attending state schools (around 20 students).
Two-thirds (66%) of offers are to private school pupils, 8% are not coming directly from school, and 4% are classed as mature students.
Prof Grayling rejected concerns that NCH will be mainly for rich students from private schools.
"Anything that's high quality, very demanding, can be described as elite," he said.
"I personally don't have any difficulty with the word elite.
"You would like your surgeon or airline pilot taught at an elite institution. Elite doesn't mean exclusive."
Prof Grayling said the university has been been making efforts to look for "very bright people across the board".
Jane Phelps, NCH's director of external relations, said the institution had faced problems making contact with state school students.
"We're very, very keen to talk to state schools, it's been extraordinarily difficult to get in, to find the right people to talk to and get an invitation to go."
NCH professors and staff have been holding talks at private and state schools throughout England, she said, and there has been interest from students in some academies and grammar schools.
"Generally speaking it's easier to get to the right person to talk to in academies," Ms Phelps said.
Prof Grayling said that of the offers made, seven students have been awarded scholarships, which means they will not pay fees, while 37 have been granted "exhibitions" and will pay reduced fees of £7,200 a year.
It is understood that NCH students are not eligible for Government loans to help with fee costs.
Prof Grayling insisted that NCH's £18,000-a-year price tag was appropriate.
Top US universities charge around 50,000 dollars (£31,000) per year for four years, he said, and some UK independent schools charge around £30,000 a year for five years. The cost of teaching a humanities student also needs to be taken into account.
Taking these factors into consideration, NCH's fees are "a fair reflection of what it costs to provide a very high quality, intensive education to students", Prof Grayling said. "That's the fact of the matter."
He added that as the college grows in the future, it hopes to attract more funding and alumni support which they can use to support students.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
Men arrested after RAF jet is scrambled to escort Pakistan Airlines passenger plane to Stansted
- 1 Liam Gallagher slams Daft Punk: 'I could have written Get Lucky in an hour'
- 2 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 3 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.