Since the Browne Report was published in 2010, the landscape of higher education has changed completely. Now, undergraduates coming to Selwyn face tuition fees of £9,000 per year, on top of living expenses calculated at a minimum of £7,000 per year. On graduation, therefore, the majority of our students will have incurred somewhere in the region of £50,000 of debt. This is quite a different prospect from that enjoyed by many who studied at Selwyn in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s, when Cambridge was able to provide grant maintained education, free from the burden of tuition fees.
In 2010/2011, 28% of Selwyn undergraduates received support worth £208,000 from a combination of the University and the College. In addition, Selwyn also disbursed £20,000 in ad hoc hardship grants for students who found themselves in financial difficulty during the year. This amounts to an average bursary of £1,890 per student: 60% of the current tuition fee but only 20% of the new tuition fee. It is clear that current levels of support will soon be entirely inadequate.
Admission on merit, not means
Selwyn has led the way amongst the Colleges with our commitment to access to Cambridge for the most able and brightest students regardless of their background or circumstances. Currently, 67% of our students come from state-maintained schools, against 59.3% at Cambridge as a whole. With the prospect of significant debt adding to the existing historical barriers to access, there is a deep concern that students from lower and middle-income families will be dissuaded from studying at Cambridge.
Increasing our bursary provision to ensure that we are able to provide adequate financial support for our students must be one of Selwyn’s core priorities. With your help, the College aims to do just that, giving all students of talent and ability the chance to fulfil their potential.
The 2011 Annual Fund focussed on raising money for student support, and we are delighted to say that over £200,000 was raised. This success was continued in 2012 and 2013, the latter of which was very generously matched by an anonymous alumnus giving a fantastic total of £454,000. This generosity will be invaluable to current and future Selwyn students.
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