The threshold for funding eligibility will rise from the current maximum household income of £42,620 to £62,215okmarian/PIXABAY

The University of Cambridge has announced that over £100 million in bursaries will be made available over the next ten years to support financially disadvantaged students.

The new enhanced bursary scheme will begin in October 2021, and will help students to fund living costs and other educational expenses.

The University has accumulated funds for this new bursary through the Harding Challenge, a centralised inter-collegiate fundraising effort that encourages donations from alumni and friends of the University.

This scheme will mean that between 25 and 30% of students will be eligible for additional financial support, an increase on the current figure of 20%. Furthermore, roughly 700 students who qualify for free school meals will be able to apply for a £1,000 bursary under the new scheme.

The threshold for eligibility to claim extra funding will rise from the current maximum household income of £42,620 to £62,215, allowing students to claim bursaries of up to £3,500 per year.

In a press release, the University highlighted that students often receive less financial support from their parents than the current government means-tested loans assume. The new scheme hopes to alleviate some of this financial pressure.

Commenting on the new scheme, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope said: “This new enhanced bursary scheme, which wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of donors, will help to ease some of our students’ financial worries.”

Toope continued: “This is particularly relevant now, at a time when many families’ incomes have been affected adversely by the Covid-19 pandemic.”


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Professor Catherine Barnard, Senior Tutor at Trinity College, stated: “The enhanced bursary scheme is about removing barriers, and helping students fully participate in University life.

“Our evidence suggests supporting students in this way not only improves their wellbeing but ensures they can thrive while studying at Cambridge.”

This scheme’s launch comes following a pilot study with 20 colleges, which found that students who received this additional funding were “able to participate more fully in the academic and wider student activities Cambridge has to offer.”

Financially disadvantaged students are currently supported by the Cambridge Bursary Scheme, which awarded almost £8.5 million to over 2,700 students during the 2019-20 academic year.