Pembroke College, along with Downing College, will offer discounted May Ball tickets for bursary studentsLouis Ashworth

Pembroke, Downing, and Homerton Colleges will offer discounted May Ball tickets this year for students at each college receiving a bursary.  This follows a similar announcement at Jesus College last week, after the precedent set by Hughes Hall and Wolfson College last year.

Both Pembroke and Downing will offer £30 discounts to students at their respective colleges in receipt of a Cambridge Bursary, although at Downing the tickets will only be available to students on a full Cambridge Bursary. A Downing ticket for Cambridge students costs £145, as does a Pembroke ticket for a student at the College. A subsidised ticket for a Homerton student on the full Cambridge Bursary will cost £100, rather than £120.

“Concerns surrounding the rapid increase of May Ball ticket prices, with costs of many balls often exceeding £150, had prompted an investigation to improve access”, Aran Macfarlane and Mrinank Sharma, Presidents of Pembroke May Ball 2019, explained to Varsity.

Charlie Slater, president of Downing May Ball Committee said that “May Week can be a very expensive time for students,” and so he hopes that “this discount will make the ball more affordable and allow all students, regardless of financial background, to enjoy what we believe will be a truly spectacular night!”

A spokesperson from Homerton May Ball Committee said they were “pleased to be offering a discounted ticket,” as “a step towards greater accessibility,” and that “in future years [they] hope to be able to increase this discount further, and offer it to students on other forms of financial aid.”

The Pembroke committee decision was made following discussions with CUSU President Evie Aspinall and CUSU Access & Funding Officer Shadab Ahmed. Last May, CUSU Council unanimously passed a motion calling for ticket discounts for students receiving full Cambridge bursaries for events such as May Balls, society dinners and June Events.


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“The committee firmly believes that any Pembroke student who wishes to attend […] regardless of financial background, should be able to attend and enjoy one of the largest events within the College community,” said Macfarlane and Sharma.

Differences in ticket type will not be visibly distinguishable at the May Balls. At Pembroke, students will be asked to self-identify upon purchase, with details being confirmed with the College’s tutorial office.

Last week, Jesus announced a discount of 50% on its May Ball tickets, the largest discount so far, which, like the bursary tickets at Downing, Pembroke and Homerton, will only be offered to students from the College itself.

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