London, Dec.1 : Eton college aims to throw open its doors to pupils from all backgrounds within ten years, regardless of their parents' ability to pay, the head of its governing body has said.
The Telegraph quoted Sir Eric Anderson, the college's provost, as saying that he hopes to raise enough money to "ensure that any boy... will not be debarred for lack of money."
St Paul's School for Boys in London has already voted to endorse a plan for the school to go "needs-blind", offering places purely on merit.
For Eton to reach such a goal would require hundreds of millions of pounds.
The 10-year timeframe is even more ambitious than that of St Paul's, which aims to reach needs-blind status by raising at least 200 million pounds in 30 years. Both schools have so far raised more than 25 million pounds.
Independent schools are under pressure from the Charity Commission to provide more bursaries because of laws passed by Labour that oblige them to demonstrate they provide "public benefit" to justify charitable status.
Eton, where fees are more than 28,000 pounds a year, has previously said it will use donations to increase bursaries so at least 35-40 per cent of pupils receive financial help.