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The next level

 January 22, 2016 | Simon Jenkins

With your help, scholarships are giving transformative support to hundreds of our undergraduates. And now by extending it to postgraduate students, we are allowing the brightest young people from less-privileged backgrounds to enrol for a Masters degree, deepening their knowledge during a further year of intensive study.

Students like Emma Bourne (MA History of Art 2015), among the first whose studies were funded through the scheme. Hers was a tough background: “I grew up with my mum in a high-rise block in Birmingham, and witnessed crime around the estate. I knew I wanted to go to university to make a better future for myself.

“I worked hard to achieve a place studying Fine Art and set my ambitions higher to study for a Masters degree.”

A postgraduate qualification can set students apart from other graduates in the job market – but simply for financial reasons, students from lower socio-economic groups are less likely to progress into postgraduate study. When added to the debts they may have incurred as undergraduates – the cost of a further year’s tuition fees, living expenses and course materials can deter less well-off graduates from further study.

This can potentially restrict their career progress and close to them altogether those professions which require a postgraduate qualification.

As Emma puts it: “For the first time in my life it seemed that working hard would not be enough. I needed more than a good degree. I needed £10,000.

“Without the scholarship I wouldn’t be here, studying for an education I believe will lead to a better future.”

The next level