Students who attended comprehensive schools are likely to be awarded higher degree classifications than those educated at independent or grammar schools.
This is according to a study carried out by the Sutton Trust, which revealed that a state school pupil with A-level grades BBB is likely to perform as well at university as a private school-leaver with grades ABB or AAB.
The organisation tracked more than 8,000 students over a five-year period as part of a study to see whether US-style SAT testing could be used in UK university admissions.
"These findings provide further evidence that universities are right to take into account the educational context of students when deciding whom to admit – alongside other information on their achievements and potential," said Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust.
According to Mike Nicholson, director of undergraduate admissions at Oxford University, institutions should not hesitate to take students' backgrounds into consideration when awarding them places.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he suggested that students leaving some state schools may have untapped potential.