The Office for Fair Access (Offa) has the power to fine universities up to pound;50,000 if they do not do enough to attract a wider range of applicants. Private schools had feared the watchdog would give universities extra cause to reject their pupils. But, in new guidelines published this week, Offa did not list state-educated pupils among the under-represented students it wants targeted.
It lists students from poor backgrounds, minority ethnic groups and the disabled.
Sir Martin Harris, head of Offa, said he hoped the move would reassure independent school heads.
Peter Wilby 23