Widening access to university for more Derry students

Local first-generation students from Derry are being encouraged to apply for the Ulster University Community Scholarship - a fund set up by the University to widen access to higher education by removing the financial barriers for those with potential.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 11:51 am

These life-changing scholarships are open to students who are the first in their family to attend university.

They are supported by a £100,000 donation from the Garfield Weston Foundation and will help students who faced barriers to education to realise their ambitions and reach their full potential.

One first year student at UU Magee (pictured) commented: “This time last year, I little thought that I would be able to attend any university course, let alone one that I had my heart set on.

Ulster University's Magee campus dominates the night-time skyline of Derry.

“ My mum is a single mother who was made redundant and, since then, our household income made it difficult through school (and outside school) to buy or keep up with tech and extras, like school trips.

“This scholarship has made a huge impact on my life, enabling me to achieve my goal of attending university. I have been able to concentrate on my studies and classes but, importantly, I have also been able to enjoy my life as a student. The scholarship is helping me to fulfil my potential to the best I can.”

Last year, support from its donors helped Ulster University provide life-changing scholarships to 250 students. But the impact of the pandemic and, now, the increase in living costs means such support is more important than ever.

Caroline Armstrong, Deputy Director of Fundraising at Ulster University, says UU plans to double the number of scholarships available over the next five years.

She says: “We hear directly from students every day about the impact scholarships have on creating access to education. Fundraising for scholarships is a priority and we will continue to work closely with our donors who want to ensure those students from our most disadvantaged communities can access a higher education and have the best academic experience which, in turn, impacts on graduate outcomes and, in the long-term, on social mobility.”

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, added: “Education plays a critical role in breaking cycles of disadvantage. We are delighted to partner with Ulster University for the first time to support more young people with potential, but who have faced educational and other barriers to access a higher education. These scholarships remove the financial barriers which may otherwise prevent talented students from progressing to university, helping to level the field for them and create equity of opportunity.”

Further details on the UU Community Scholarships can be found on its website with applications closing on June 24, 2022.