A top university has announced plans to lower entry grades for disadvantaged students, as new figures showed the gulf between rich and poor children winning degree places has reached record levels.
Bristol University said the initiative, designed to boost diversity among its students, will see local young people offered places based on lower entry requirements.
Vice-chancellor and president Hugh Brady said the university wanted to make a "step change" in opening the institution up to students from all backgrounds.
The announcement comes as new Ucas statistics showed that children who received free school meals - a key measure of poverty - are less than half as likely to enter higher education than those who do not, the biggest gap in recent years.
While there has been a steady increase in the entry levels among less wealthy students over the last 10 years, an increase of 78% proportionally, this has slowed sharply since 2015, according to the organisation's annual report.
The figures will come as a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, who put slashing inequality at the heart of her Government's ambitions when she took office in July.
Overall, the UK university acceptance rate for more advantaged students is increasing around five times faster (up 1.4 percentage points to 32.8%) than for their poorer peers who are on free dinners (up 0.3 percentage points to 16.1%), the Ucas figures show.
This 16.7 percentage point difference is the "largest recorded value" between the two groups, the university admissions service said.
Under Bristol University's plans, lower offers will be made to five "high potential" students from every school in the local area, with eligibility based on headteachers' assessment of potential and progress, rather than just exam results.
The university said it will also make more use of "contextual data" which takes into account an applicant's background or school when making offers.
Students attending state schools and colleges that are in the bottom 40% in terms of A-level results and sending students on to higher education, will receive offers two grades lower than the standard offer for the course.
Professor Brady said: "These are bold measures designed to address a problem that is seen across the education sector.
"At Bristol, we have spent £18 million on recruiting and supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the last 10 years, and much as we are making good progress, we want to make a step-change in opening up our university to students from all backgrounds.
"We're confident that, in time, we will achieve a more diverse student community at the University of Bristol; this will be a change which will benefit everyone, and something we hope other universities will consider replicating."
Ucas's latest analysis on entry to UK universities in 2015/16 also showed:
:: A pre-Brexit spike in students from the EU taking places at UK institutions, while overseas students entering higher education in this country dropped for the first time since 2011.
:: A persisting gender gap between those accepting university places - with women now a record 35% more likely to take places than men.
:: The highest-ever number of 18-year-olds accepted to university this year.
:: White people still ranking as the lowest ethnic group for entry rates.
Ucas chief Mary Curnock Cook said: "When she entered Downing Street in July, the Prime Minister pointed out that white working-class boys are the least likely to go to university.
"Our report underlines this point, showing that nearly three-quarters of the group least likely to enter university are men, most are from lower income families, and nine out of 10 are in the white ethnic group.
"Although the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering higher education has reached record levels again this year, there are early signals that the good progress made in recent years may be slowing down.
"The best way to get on track to better progress is to focus efforts on improving GCSE outcomes for all children, which we know is the primary driver of increased entry rates to higher education."
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: "It is welcome news that record numbers of students secured places at university this year and that people from disadvantaged backgrounds are now more than a third more likely to enter higher education than in 2010.
"However, we know there is more to be done if we are to truly make this a country that works for everyone."