State pupils are in the majority at leading universities
More than three in four students starting at leading universities are State-educated, new figures have shown.
The proportion of youngsters from State schools at Russell Group institutions, including Queen's in Belfast, has risen in the past decade, according to analysis of official data.
But private school pupils are still two-and-half times more likely to join one of the leading universities than their State-educated peers.
The figures, based on data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency for the past 10 years, show that in 2014/15, 77.2% of entrants to Russell Group universities - considered the best in the country - were from State schools. This is up from 74% in 2004/05.
Of all State school pupils going to university last year, nearly one in four (23%) joined a Russell Group institution, compared with nearly six in 10 (59.8%) of those educated at private schools.