Plan for Derry students to study at ‘elite’ US uni

Yale Uni.
Yale Uni.

Exciting plans for Derry school-leavers to study at elite universities in the United States move up a gear next week when a representative from the prestigious Yale University visits the city.

Keith Light, Associate Director of Admissions at Yale, will host an “informal reception” at Derry’s Guildhall on Tuesday evening (7pm).

He will provide information on how to apply to and study at Yale and other US universities.

Earlier that day, the Yale delegation will visit a number of post-primary schools in the city including Thornhill College, St Cecilia’s, St Joseph’s, St Brigid’s, Lisneal, Lumen Christi and Foyle.

This will be followed on Wednesday with further visits to St Mary’s, St Columb’s and North West Regional College.

It’s understood plans are currently being formulated to enable students from Northern Ireland to seek and be awarded financial support to study at elite universities in the US.

More specifically, students from financially disadvantaged families could apply for a “merit-based scholarship” through a cross-community scheme.

It’s understood this initiative would begin with a pilot scheme in Derry with scholarships to Yale awarded to four to six students.

A simultaneous effort will be made to bring undergraduate students from Yale to study in Derry, likely as part of one or more summer study programmes.

The scheme then hopes to broaden its cross-community remit to include financially under-privileged students across NI with merit-based scholarships available to multiple, elite universities in the US.

It’s believed both the pilot and broader scheme will be managed through the Co-Operation Ireland organisation.

A draft proposal for the scheme reveals that Derry was chosen for the pilot scheme “given the relative economic and institutional deprivation that students in Derry struggle to manage and clearly do overcome in, perhaps, surprising numbers”.

According to the Undergraduate Admissions Office at Yale - which is located in New Haven, Connecticut - during the 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years, only three students from Derry applied for admission to Yale.

Yale - which is included among the elite ‘Ivy League’ colleges in the US - was founded in 1701 and is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States.

Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents. In the arts, Yale alumni include Meryl Streep, Paul Newman and Cole Porter.