Some of the smartest children from poor households could be given £400 by the government to prepare them for university, it has been announced.
The money, which will go to 1,500 pupils, will be spent on after-school clubs and activities in order to improve their chances of getting into one of the elite Russell group universities.
"For many disadvantaged pupils, poverty of aspiration can be the biggest obstacle and there may be financial pressures pushing them towards early employment," said education minister Andrew Adonis.
"The extra funding will help unlock the potential of all our young people, ensuring that a university education is an option for everyone."
The university guidance and mentoring will be given to 14 and 15 year-olds from London and Manchester.