“This is social apartheid and it is utterly unrepresentative of life in modern Britain.”
That’s how MP David Lammy described the failure of Oxford and Cambridge to properly represent black students in their admissions processes.
In fact, a report from earlier this year found that six of Cambridge’s 31 colleges admitted fewer than 10 British black or mixed white and black students over a five-year period, which is a shocking statistic. The university says that it admitted 58 black students on to undergraduate courses in 2017.
But now rapper Stormzy is trying to make things a little easier for prospective black students, many of whom don’t have the same educational and socio-economic advantages as your average Oxbridge student, by announcing a new scholarship programme.
Announced by Stormzy himself during A-Level results day at his old school, Harris Academy in Crystal Palace this morning, the Stormzy Scholarship will pay for tuition fees and provide a maintenance grant for up to four years of an undergraduate course at the University of Cambridge, according to the BBC.
The rapper, 25, said: “It’s so important for black students, especially, to be aware that it can 100% be an option to attend a university of this calibre.
“We’re a minority, the playing ground isn’t level for us and it’s vital that all potential students are given the same opportunity.”
Stormzy chatted to some Cambridge students and discussed his own educational background in this fascinating behind-the-scenes clip, posted on the University’s YouTube channel:
The University of Cambridge’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, says:
“Stormzy is an inspiration, not just for his music but for his engagement on social issues and encouragement of young people. He has achieved great success in his career, but recognises that this was at the expense of his studies and the option of a place at a top university. He wants to inspire talented young black people who have their sights set on university to follow their dreams. The studentships are a beacon for black students who might otherwise have felt they could not come to Cambridge.
“Last year, 58 new black students arrived to take up their courses at Cambridge, the largest number ever but not nearly as many as we would like. We know we need to work harder to ensure that black students not only apply to study at the university, but that they feel at home here and achieve their full potential.”
The Gang Signs & Prayer star, along with YouTube Music, who heard of his plan and offered to match it, will fund two students this year and two in 2019.
To be eligible for this year’s Stormzy Scholarship, applicants must be of black ethnicity and have an offer to study at Cambridge.
The application deadline for the scholarship is 30 August and the lucky students will be selected by a panel of university staff.
For more details on eligibility criteria, follow this link: www.cam.ac.uk/stormzyscholarship
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