The University of Cambridge is launching a new bursary scheme, with £100 million in bursaries over the next ten years, to support students experiencing financial pressures. Girton students, along with those at other Colleges, will benefit from this extra support, which will provide a continuation of the benefits we provided through top-up bursaries over the last year.
The additional funding, to help with living costs, will enable students to enjoy all the benefits a Cambridge education offers, regardless of their personal circumstances, from October 2021. The new scheme follows a pilot bursary programme, in which Girton was able to take part last year thanks to a generous donation, and enhances the long-standing Cambridge Bursary Scheme which has supported several generations of Girton students.
We anticipate that 25-30% of students across the University will be eligible for the enhanced support on a sliding scale.
The bursaries aim to support the ‘squeezed middle’ as well as those with low household incomes. Research conducted by the University suggests many students struggle to meet all their expenses because parents often can’t afford to contribute to the extent that these means-tested loans assume they will. It’s these financial gaps that the new bursary scheme will help to alleviate.
The enhanced bursaries are being made possible through the generosity of philanthropic donations to the Colleges and the University, including the Harding Challenge, which doubles the value of gifts from new givers towards student support. Girton is very grateful to our alumni for their generous giving over many years, which is enabling us to participate in this next important step in our mission of making a Cambridge education available to all who would benefit from it.
Professor Susan J. Smith, Mistress of Girton, said, “Girton was founded on the principle of widening access to a Cambridge education. I am therefore delighted that we, alongside other Colleges, are participating in this scheme, which will make a real difference in alleviating hardship and making a Cambridge and a Girton education more affordable for a greater number of students. I am as ever tremendously grateful for the generosity of our alumni and other donors whose giving has helped to make this possible.”
Dr Sandra Fulton, Senior Tutor of Girton, said, “I am delighted the University and Colleges have been able to develop the expanded pilot scheme for the benefit of many more students. To be able to relieve financial worries helps reduce stress and anxiety and enables students to participate more fully in all the college and university has to offer.”
Vice-Chancellor, Professor 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. The scheme’s launch means far more students will be eligible for support. This is particularly relevant now, at a time when many families’ incomes have been affected adversely by the Covid-19 pandemic.”