A drive by universities to recruit more white males is about "fairness" and "reflecting society", the director of the Higher Education Policy Institute has said.
Nick Hillman appeared on the Matthew Wright show to discuss the news that Essex University and Aston University have become the first non-elite institutions to try and increase the number of white male students they have.
"It's surprising, but what the universities are doing is looking at their data and saying we think we should reflect society as a whole, here is a group of people who are underrepresented on campus - let's reach out and try and recruit them," Mr Hillman said.
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He added: "I don't think it's just about fairness, it's also about a worry that there are some brilliant people out there that universities are missing.
"Among those white males, including the white working class males from families where maybe nobody has ever gone to university before, there could be a future Nobel prize winner, there could be the doctor who's going to cure a terrible disease."
'Things have changed'
The move comes as figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that white British students are a minority at around one in 10 universities.
"Most students were white men but two things have changed, one is women have gone to university in much greater numbers than ever before and female sixth-form students are much more likely now to go to uni than sixth-form boys.
"The second change is BAME students, sixth-formers with those backgrounds are more likely to enter Higher Education than white students, so if you're a white man you've fallen behind both on your gender and your ethnicity."