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Stormzy launches Cambridge scholarship for black students

The double-BRIT award winner broke the news himself in an appearance at his former school, Harris Academy in Crystal Palace

Grime star Stormzy rocked A-level results day by launching a scholarship for British black students to attend the University of Cambridge. 

The £18,000 funding, dubbed the Stormzy Scholarship, will cover both tuition fees and living costs for up to four years of undergraduate study. 

Two students starting their undergraduate studies this October will receive the financial support, funded by Stormzy himself.

We, as a minority, have so many examples of black students who have excelled at every level of education throughout the years

Another two students from the academic year 2019 will be selected, with the hope that additional investors will become involved to ensure the scholarships continuation.

The 25-year-old Londoner said: “There are so many young black kids all over the country who have the level of academic excellence to study at a university such as Cambridge – however we are still underrepresented at leading universities.  

“We, as a minority, have so many examples of black students who have excelled at every level of education throughout the years.”  

3,497 students were admitted onto undergraduate courses at the university, 58 of which were black – a record high.  

A freedom of information request by the Financial Times revealed that, between 2012 and 2016, six of Cambridge’s 29 undergraduate colleges admitted fewer than ten British black or mixed white and black students. 

In a statement, a spokesman described the university as “determined to ensure black students feel supported at Cambridge”.   

Last year it announced an increase in funding for Target Oxbridge, a programme which helps black students secure places at either Cambridge or Oxford. 

The musician from Thornton Heath, South London said: “I hope this scholarship serves as a small reminder that if young black students wish to study at one of the best universities in the world, then the opportunity is yours for the taking – and if funding is one of the barriers, then we can work towards breaking that barrier down.” 

University of Cambridge vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Toope said: “Stormzy is an inspiration, not just for his music but for his engagement on social issues and encouragement of young people. 

This is my proudest venture thus far and I look forward to seeing some young black geniuses go on to achieve at Cambridge

“He wants to inspire talented young black people who have their sights set on university to follow their dreams.  The studentships are a beacon for black students who might otherwise have felt they could not come to Cambridge.” 

Acknowledging persistent calls for heightened diversity at Cambridge, Toope noted the University’s need to “work harder to ensure that black students not only apply to study… but that they feel at home here and achieve their full potential.”

Stormzy, whose 2017 album Gang Signs & Prayer was the first grime album to debut at number 1, said: “This is my proudest venture thus far and I look forward to seeing some young black geniuses go on to achieve at Cambridge.” 

To be eligible for a 2018 entry, Stormzy Scholarship applicants must be of black ethnicity and be holding an unconditional offer. Applications must be submitted no later than Friday 31st August 2018. The students will be selected from a list of applicants by a panel of University staff. The University encourages all students with high academic potential and enthusiasm for their chosen subject to apply.  

Students wishing to apply for entry in 2019 should apply via UCAS by 15th October. Applications for the 2019 scholarships will be announced in due course. 

www.cam.ac.uk/stormzyscholarship 

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