More than half of England's universities have fewer than 5% of poor white students on their books, says an analysis of university entry figures.
The report, from the National Education Opportunities Network (Neon), shows white students from deprived areas in low numbers in many top universities.
There are 3% at the University of Oxford, compared with 28% at Teesside. Among those going to university, 70% go to new universities, with low numbers going to some high-ranking institutions. Cambridge has 2%, Warwick and Bristol 3%, Durham 4%. At University of Sunderland, 27% of acceptances are from white students from deprived areas and the figure is 22% in Staffordshire University. The numbers are particularly low in London universities - many of them 1% or 2%.
The study says too few universities have clear targets to recruit white working-class students. Fewer than a fifth of universities have targets for admitting more poor white students - and that there are only "variable" efforts to improve participation.
Even if a target of 5% of poor white students were to be set across universities, it would mean another 10,000 students going to university, says the research. In terms of a proportion of the population, white youngsters are less likely to go to university than Asian or black teenagers. The latest application figures, for courses in the autumn, show that applications from white students are declining, while they are increasing for Asian and black youngsters. Cutting across this is a widening gender divide - with women much more likely than men to apply to university. When these factors combine, it means that white, working-class men become among the most under-represented groups in university.