The University of Oxford is launching a scholarship for disadvantaged black British students - and it will be funded by a US entrepreneur.
The first of its kind, the Oxford-Arlan Hamilton and Earline Butler Sims Scholarship will start in 2020 and run for three years.
Named and funded by US entrepreneur Arlan Hamilton – creator of the Backstage Capital fund for start-ups run by under-represented founders – and her mother Earline Butler Sims.
Each successful applicant will have their fees and living costs paid for, for a three year undergraduate degree.
Ms Hamilton said the scheme here in the UK will form part of a programme she also runs in the US to get more black students into university.
She said: “I just really want someone who didn’t or wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to this university to do so.
“I want them to be truly nurtured and able to focus on themselves, instead of worrying about the things, that perhaps, I have had to worry about in the past – like how you are going to pay your rent, while trying to get an education.
“I want them to be able to focus on the things that fuel and give them life.”
The students will also receive a £3,000 internship grant to help boost their employment prospects. To qualify for the scholarship you must be of black African, Caribbean or mixed race heritage.
Prof Martin Williams, Oxford University’s pro-vice-chancellor for education, said: “In 2019 Oxford University’s commitment to ensuring every academically talented student in the country knows that they have a fair chance at a place at Oxford has been clear to see.”
Oxford has been critisied over the years – most notably by former education minister David Lammy – for being socially exclusive.
This year the university said it handed out the highest proportion of places to ethnic minority students in its history, with a reported 18% of undergraduates coming from BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds and 61% having attended state schools.