The recent Head Master, Tony Little, said that Eton is developing plans to allow any boy to attend the school whatever his parents' income and, in 2011, said that around 250 boys received "significant" financial help from the school.
In early 2014, this figure had risen to 263 pupils receiving the equivalent of around 60% of school fee assistance, whilst a further 63 received their education free of charge.
Eton has educated 19 British prime ministers and generations of the aristocracy and has been referred to as the chief nurse of England's statesmen.
In September 2014, Eton opened, and became the sole educational sponsor for, a new purpose-built co-educational state boarding and day school for around 500 pupils, Holyport College, in Maidenhead in Berkshire, with construction costing around £15 million, in which a fifth of places for day pupils will be set aside for children from poor homes, 21 boarding places will go to youngsters on the verge of being taken into care, and a further 28 boarders will be funded or part-funded through bursaries.
Eton is one of ten English HMC schools, commonly referred to as "public schools", regulated by the Public Schools Act of 1868.