Published September 8, 2018
“Cambridge University is going to start offering free education for students from low-income households. Earn a graduate degree for free.”
Cambridge University is going to start offering free education for students from low-income households. Young people from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds face many barriers in accessing an education. But, finances should never be a barrier to a student’s education. The University of Cambridge is thinking about covering all tuition fees and living costs for the students that need it the most.
Support disadvantaged students
Diversity in education is a hot topic. According to the rankings, Cambridge is the most unequal university in the UK for admitting students from different economic backgrounds. However, after being in the spotlight, Cambridge is starting to make some changes.
The University of Cambridge is planning to roll out fully-funded ‘debt-free’ Ph.D. scholarships for the students from ethnic minorities and low-income households, after being criticized for lack of diversity. According to the Varsity, the University is thinking about increasing a number of bursaries and loans in order to support disadvantaged students. Moreover, a total relief of tuition fees and living expenses may become possible. Some students with the greatest financial need might get everything covered by the university.
It all comes as the director of the Office for Fair Access, Les Ebdon, has recently criticized the University of Cambridge and some other top universities in the UK for not admitting students from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged background. He says that those institutions should start doing something with a fact that they have just a few students from ethnic minorities. Cambridge colleges did not take in any black students from 2012 to 2016. Truth is, only 3 % of students admitted to the top universities the previous year were black. What is more, just about 7 % of students came from the poorest regions in the UK. So, if you are looking for the perfect capstone project topic, then why not to write about the diversity problem in education?
However, Cambridge rejected this criticism saying that the biggest barrier for students from disadvantaged backgrounds is their low attainment at school. The University of Cambridge spokesperson said that the institution provides financial support for low-income students and works hard to reach out to underrepresented groups.
Immediately after Cambridge University was criticized for lack of diversity, a popular rapper Stormzy has launched the Stormzy Scholarship. The rapper says that once it was his dream to come to Oxford and study political science, but it just never happened. The Stormzy Scholarship is going to pay the tuition fees of two black British students a year. Stormzy says that all potential students should be given the same opportunity and everyone should get an equal chance to get a Cambridge education. The rapper will fund two students this year and two in 2019.
After his announcement, Cambridge has started to develop a new financial scheme. A new support scheme will be aimed at those who are not eligible for current grants and students who receive little support from their families. For instance, the Cambridge Bursary Scheme is for the student with a household income below £42,620. This funding will help disadvantaged students cover their rent, food, transportation costs, or any other needs. The amount of this financial help is around £3,500 per year. This financial scheme was inspired by St John’s College’s studentships which offer their students a lot better version of the Cambridge Bursary Scheme.
A former higher education minister David Lammy says that Cambridge should also think about those ethnic communities that are simply not present at the university at all, especially those on the north of England. Mr. Lammy also criticized Cambridge for not doing something in the past. Truth is, they have started to think about some new ways of financial support only after the Stormzy Scholarship was announced. But, if you want to be better at something, you have to start doing something. The same thing is with writing. When you need to write a perfect research paper – work on it. If you want to improve your writing skill and develop your own unique writing style, you have to write on the regular basis. You can either write research paper by yourself or you can use PapersOwl for help. It is up to you. Just do not postpone it until it is too late.
Sir Michel Barber, chair of the Office for Students, says that universities in the United States are more active in their efforts to rich students from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds than educational institutions in the UK. For instance, California State University sends stuff to churches in order to recruit local black youth. Otherwise, those young people will not even consider studying at the university. Hence, Sir Michel Barber suggests educational institutions in the UK to start visiting mosques and churches in order to recruit more young people from ethnic minorities. He believes that the Californian model could work in the UK as well.
The University of Cambridge claims that they will find some new ways to reach out to some of the most disadvantaged groups. Plans are still in development, but they will also find a way to inspire and support their students at all the stages of their educational journey. For now, the University has increased grants by over 3 percent. A Department for Education spokesperson said that poor students that are starting their Cambridge undergraduate courses this year will have an access to the biggest amount of financial support for their living expenses.
Progress has been made in recent years, but of course, The University of Cambridge and other UK institutions still have a lot of progress to make. More must be done to engage with community groups, churches, mosques, and young centers. Engaging with them directly must be the most effective way to reach these young people. Moreover, actions will always speak louder than words.
It is clear that educational institutions face intense political pressure to improve diversity in education. Universities are committed to improving education access for everyone, no matter their background. Hence, Cambridge is beginning to improve educational diversity and maybe those actions will finally close the diversity gap.