St John’s College, Cambridge is set to offer free places to students whose household income is below £16,200. The program will begin in October 2023, and will involve a recruitment campaign to attract new students.
The college advertises its free places as a support package intended to cover the tuition fees, accommodation costs and living expenses for up to 40 low-income undergraduate students at a time. So far, the program is the UK’s most generous university bursary scheme.
Students who are eligible will be able to access more than £17,000 of financial support for every academic year at Cambridge – around £51,000 over a three year undergraduate degree.
Heather Hancock, Master of St John’s College Cambridge, recently stated: “For more than 500 years, St John’s College has had an unwavering commitment to provide financial support for students in need”.
Hancock added: “We are determined to sustain this legacy.”
“Removing serious financial barriers for prospective students is a powerful signal that Cambridge really is for everyone”.
This comes as a report from the National Education Opportunity Network (NEON) found that those who have received free school meals were the least likely group to study at university.
More than 50% of universities accepted fewer than 20% of the applications received from these students. The greatest number of poor white students were found to be accepted by Liverpool John Moores and Teesside.
Removing serious financial barriers for prospective students is a powerful signal that Cambridge really is for everyone
– Heather Hancock, Master of St. John’s College Cambridge
Dr. Graeme Atherton, Director of NEON and co-author of the NEON report stated: “This report shows that while there is some innovative work being undertaken in the HE sector to address the low levels of participation of this group of students, big variability exists in their chances of participating in HE across providers. We need to know more about why this variability exists, and do more to eliminate it.”
Heather Hancock expressed: “Removing serious financial barriers for prospective students is a powerful signal that Cambridge really is for everyone.
“It is still true that high-potential pupils from low-income families, and young people leaving care, are deciding against university because of the prospect of significant debt.”
Hancock added: “We want to take away that anxiety, and to give those talented young people the confidence to take a life-changing step towards St John’s and the University of Cambridge, knowing that they will truly be welcome and supported here.”