The Thousand Futures Bursaries, from the university’s Institute of Continuing Education (ICE), will be awarded to 1,000 adults in the UK.
Each bursary will be worth £1,000, and can be put towards 30 undergraduate certificates, diplomas or advanced diplomas.
The subjects on offer include business management, psychology, coaching, archaeology, English literature, art history and creative writing.
Any UK resident who has been furloughed as a result of the pandemic, or has been made redundant from 1 April 2020 onwards, will be eligible for the award.
According to Cambridge, this amounts to more than 20 million people, as it is also open to any of the 1.5 million people designated “most at risk of the virus” by the NHS, as well as individuals aged 70 and over and all key workers.
The full economic impact of the current pandemic has yet to be fully understood, but there is a risk that the crisis creates a ‘missed generation’ of adults left without jobs and unable to afford the time and cost of full-time retraining
– Dr James Gazzard
The closing date for applications is 31 July, and applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.
ICE director Dr James Gazzard said: “Our new £1 million bursary programme will aim to support those adults who have been most affected by Covid-19 by providing more affordable access to higher education.
“The full economic impact of the current pandemic has yet to be fully understood, but there is a risk that the crisis creates a ‘missed generation’ of adults left without jobs and unable to afford the time and cost of full-time retraining.
“Our hope is that they will use these open-access Cambridge undergraduate qualifications to improve their employability and incorporate lifelong learning into their broader approach to wellbeing.”
To maintain accessibility during the global pandemic, the ICE’s undergraduate programme will take place by remote delivery for the 2020-21 academic year.
Professor Stephen Toope, vice-chancellor of Cambridge, said: “The Institute of Continuing Education has long been at the forefront of our university’s efforts to widen access to higher education.
“I am hugely proud of its determination to make sure that the current crisis does not hamper the educational opportunities of those adults who have been most directly affected.
“By offering bursaries to make its undergraduate programmes more affordable, the Institute of Continuing Education is making a very meaningful contribution to the communities we serve.”