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HSBC UK & Stormzy charity to fund Cambridge University scholarships for 30 more Black students

Melanie May | 3 August 2021 | News

Kings College, Cambridge University under a blue sky with big white clouds

A further 30 Black students are to receive a £20,000 per year scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge following a new philanthropic partnership between HSBC UK and the #Merky Foundation, the UK charity founded by British musician, Stormzy.

The scholarships will fund the tuition fees and maintenance costs (the equivalent of £20,000 per student each year) for 10 new students each year over the next three years, for a degree course of either three or four years’ duration.

The combined support of HSBC UK, the #Merky Foundation as well as an anonymous donor means the University plans to welcome 13 Stormzy Scholars in the autumn.


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The move expands The Stormzy Scholarship programme, which launched in 2018, and has to date supported six Black students through their Cambridge education.

SEE ALSO: BBC Children in Need to match Stormzy’s £10m pledge to benefit young black lives (13 July 2020)

In June 2020, Stormzy’s #Merky Foundation announced it would be donating £10 million over ten years to charities and other organisations committed to tackling racial inequality in the UK. HSBC UK’s donation is in addition to #Merky Foundation’s initial commitment, with the Foundation encouraging other companies to follow suit and join them in pledging.

Numbers of Black students at Cambridge University have risen since the launch of the scholarships. In 2017 the University admitted 58 Black British students to undergraduate degree courses. In 2020, this reached 137.

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.

The University of Cambridge’s Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham 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 and 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. With the launch of our Foundation Year, for admission next year, we will be in a position to support a lot more students who have experienced educational disadvantage on their path through higher education.”

All Stormzy Scholarship applicants will also have the option to explore work experience, skills development and mentoring opportunities with the bank.

To be eligible for a 2021 award applicants must have a confirmed place to start at Cambridge in October, and be a home student (UK) of Black or mixed race heritage. Applications must be submitted to the University no later than Friday 27 August and students will be selected from a list of applicants by a panel of University staff and experts from higher education. The President of the University’s student African-Caribbean Society also sits on this selection panel.

Students from low-income families can apply for awards of up to £3,500 a year from the Cambridge Bursary Scheme. In the 2019/20 academic year, almost £8.5m was distributed to a total of 2,711 students.