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Stormzy scholarships to pay for 30 more black students at the University of Cambridge



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A scheme set up by the rapper Stormzy will be expanded to cover the costs for a further 30 black students at the University of Cambridge over the next three years.

Rapper Stormzy has hailed the expansion of the scholarship scheme for 30 more black students at the University of Cambridge as a milestone. Picture: Ian West/PA (49841274)
Rapper Stormzy has hailed the expansion of the scholarship scheme for 30 more black students at the University of Cambridge as a milestone. Picture: Ian West/PA (49841274)

The £20,000-a-year scholarships will fund the tuition fees and maintenance costs for 10 new students each year on degree courses. The award-winning grime artist began providing scholarships for black students at Cambridge in 2018 to help address the relatively low number who attend Oxbridge institutions.

Stormzy called the expansion of his scholarship programme at Cambridge “an incredible milestone”. A new philanthropic partnership between HSBC UK and the #Merky Foundation – a charity founded by the artist – will ensure 30 more ‘Stormzy Scholars’ receive funding.

In 2017, Cambridge admitted 58 black British students to undergraduate degree courses and tis increased to 137 by 2020 - a 50 per cent increase on the previous year attributed to the ‘Stormzy effect’.

Stormzy said: “For 30 more black students to have the opportunity to study at Cambridge University – the same year our initial 2018 scholars graduate – feels like an incredible milestone. Thank you to HSBC UK for their significant donation and, of course, Cambridge University for always backing our mission.

“I hope this scholarship continues to serve as a small reminder to young black students that the opportunity to study at one of the best universities in the world is theirs for the taking.”

The first two Stormzy Scholars graduated this summer with a high 2:1 and 2:1.

Professor Graham Virgo, senior pro-vice-chancellor for education at the University of Cambridge. Picture: Richard Marsham (49841300)
Professor Graham Virgo, senior pro-vice-chancellor for education at the University of Cambridge. Picture: Richard Marsham (49841300)

Professor Graham Virgo, senior pro-vice-chancellor, said: “Since the Stormzy Scholarships were announced in 2018 we have seen a significant increase in the number of black students applying to study here and being admitted. We are very proud to see the first two students supported by the scheme graduate this year.

“We’re confident that they are starting out on an exciting journey which may not have been possible without the generous support of philanthropists like Stormzy.”

To be eligible for the Stormzy scholarship, applicants must have a confirmed place to start at Cambridge in October, and be a UK student of black or mixed race heritage. Applications close on Friday, August 27. Applicants will also have the option to explore work experience, skills development and mentoring with HSBC.

Ian Stuart, chief executive of HSBC UK, which has pledged £2 million to support scholars, said: “Education is a great equaliser and a powerful force for change. We are incredibly proud to support the growth of the Stormzy Scholarships at the University of Cambridge, helping remove barriers to higher education as part of our wider commitment to support racial equality in the UK.”

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