Ethnic minorities are now "substantially" more likely to go to university than their white British peers, according to a landmark new report.
The findings from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which described their conclusions as a "relatively recent change", contradict September data from the universities application processing body, Ucas, that showed ethnic minority students were actually less likely to win university offers.
The research does, however, hark back to figures from 2013, which revealed white teenagers are less likely to apply to university than youngsters from any other ethnic group.
The findings, published on Tuesday, showed girls are slightly more likely to go to university than boys.
The IFS also revealed Chinese pupils in the lowest socio-economic quintile group are, on average, more than 10 percentage points more likely to go to university than white British pupils in the highest socio-economic group.
White British pupils in the lowest socio-economic group, meanwhile, have participation rates that are more than 10 percentage points lower than those observed for any other ethnic group.
"Amongst the cohort who sat their GCSEs in 2008, all ethnic minority groups are significantly more likely to go to university than their White British peers," the report says. "These differences are larger for ethnic minorities who speak English as an additional language and for those who live in London. They have also been increasing over time."
In an observation written by IFS researchers Claire Crawford and Ellen Greaves, they said: "All ethnic minority groups in England are now, on average, more likely to go to university than their White British peers.
"This is the case even amongst groups who were previously under-represented in higher education, such as those of Black Caribbean ethnic origin, a relatively recent change."
The research, funded by the Department for Education, used census data linking all pupils going to school in England to all students going to university in the UK.
It focused on those taking their GCSEs in 2007-08, who could have gone to university at age 18 in 2010-11 or age 19 in 2011-12.
The report adds: "Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to explore what might be driving these remaining differences in HE participation by ethnic background using the administrative data at our disposal; but it seems plausible that aspirations and expectations might play a role."Suggest a correction