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Just imagine a world where background is no barrier to success, where a bright student could achieve their full potential whatever their family circumstances, where a young person from a deprived area would have an equal chance of achieving a place at a good University as their counterpart from a well-off home or private school.

Difficult isn’t it?

Students can face major obstacles:

  • Schools: The brightest young people may struggle to achieve the top A-level grades if their school is in a deprived area or has little track record of university entry;
  • Money: The financial commitment can be daunting: tuition fees are £9,250 a year, while the cost of travel, daily living and books have risen above inflation;
  • Awareness: If no members of their family have been to university, even the ablest student may question its value.
  • Background: They may be from a single-parent family or a home with a low household income; they might live in a deprived area or have spent time in care or had their schooling interrupted; they could have responsibility for siblings or other relatives.

But these are the very people who stand to gain the most from higher education – and with your valuable support we are determined to help as many as possible to succeed. Your gift could be key to levelling the playing field so that scholars can achieve as much as they can academically and make the most of their time here.

Since the Making a World of Difference campaign began in 2010, your support has provided scholarships for more than 2,000 students from less-privileged backgrounds. It also allows them to take advantage of the Plus Programme – a series of special activities to support such students.

We know there are many other young people who would benefit from this support – and we know that it works! Students supported through scholarships consistently out-perform their peers when it comes to graduation – clear evidence of the way this targeted help is allowing the brightest young minds to overcome their disadvantages and thrive at University:

Of scholars who graduated in 2019, 88% did so with either a First or 2:1 – compared to 86% of students as a whole

And by extending these scholarships to postgraduate students, we are allowing the brightest young people from these backgrounds to enrol for a Masters degree, deepening their knowledge during a further year of intensive study.

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 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.

With your help we can bring the benefit of a university education to still more able and deserving young people, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

In this video, chemistry student Rebecca Lane talks about the difference which a scholarship has made to her studies at Leeds:

If you are a student enrolling at Leeds and think you might be eligible for a Scholarship, click here.


George Hobley

Law student George Hobley talks about the challenges he faced as a child - and how a teacher helped him to overcome them. He expresses his thanks to donors who support scholarships to enable young people from less-privileged backgrounds to study at Leeds.

Scholarships Reception 2019

Held in the Great Hall in December, and hosted by University Chancellor Jane Francis, our Scholarships Reception was a seasonal celebration of everything that is made possible by our community of donors around the world.

Widening Participation at Leeds

Louise Banahene, Head of Educational Engagement at the University of Leeds, explains how the University works to support students from less privileged backgrounds to succeed in their studies.

Ben Kew

Describing himself as a formerly obese teenager, Ben Kew (Food Science 2019) tells how a scholarship at the University of Leeds enabled him to change his life.

Megan Barnes

Megan Barnes (Geography 2020) talks about the difference which a scholarship has made to her studies at the University of Leeds.

Hannah Myers

Filmed in the beautiful surroundings of the Hyde Park Picture House, Hannah Myers (English and Film Studies 2020) talks about her family circumstances and the support she has received as a scholar at the University of Leeds.

Rebecca Porter

Rebecca Porter talks about her disability, and how a scholarship has enabled her to study for an MA at the University of Leeds.

Sheila Freeman

Sheila Freeman (MA Communication and Media 2018) talks about how the scholarship helped her to study at the University of Leeds - and about the opportunities which it opened up to her.

Isabel Calvert

Speaking at the 2017 Scholarships Reception in the Great Hall, Isabel Calvert (English Literature 2019) talks about what inspired her to come to the University of Leeds and the difference which a scholarship has made to her studies.

Rachel Newborough

Sports scholar

Rachel Newborough balances studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics with playing football for Doncaster Belles and Northern Ireland. Here she talks about her course, her ambitions for the future, and the help which she receives as a Sports Scholar, funded by Parminder Basran (Management Studies 2001).

Graduating scholars

And as a number of scholars celebrate their graduation day, they explain the difference which the scholarship made to their time of Leeds and talk about their plans for the future.

Liam Knights

University of Leeds student Liam Knights talks about his troubled background and how he was inspired to turn his life around, before a scholarship supported his studies at the University of Leeds

Music: Tenderness -

Our scholars

Five University of Leeds scholars discuss the value of scholarships and how these have made a difference to their time at Leeds.

Changing lives


"The scholarship changed my life"

"It gives you such motivation."

"Without it I wouldn't be here."

"It has inspired me to work hard."

Rebecca Lane

Chemistry student Rebecca Lane talks about her troubled background and how a scholarship has helped support her studies at the University of Leeds.

Katie Mahon

University of Leeds student Katie Mahon talks about her background, her studies, and how a scholarship has helped her to make the most of her time at Leeds.
Music: Memories -

Melissa Ulrich

Theatre and Performance student Melissa Ulrich talks about her background and how her passion for singing was sparked, before a scholarship funded by a donor supported her studies at the University of Leeds

Music: Acoustic Breeze -

Robert Jones

Physics student Robert Jones talks about his background and how a passion for maths changed his attitude to schoolwork, before a scholarship funded by a donor supported his studies at the University of Leeds

Music: Going Higher -

Melisa Tehrani

Melisa Tehrani (English and Spanish 2017) talks about the HSBC Scholarship which she has received, and how this has helped her during her studies at the University of Leeds.

Bhavisha Kukadia

Former scholar Bhavisha Kukadia (Cultural Studies 2014) talks about the support which she received - both financial and practical - and how this has helped to shape her life beyond university.

Janet Cooper and Samantha Clarke

Janet Cooper (Law 1981) talks about her time at the University of Leeds, her subsequent career and why she decided to support a scholar at the University. Samantha Clarke (Law 2015) explains the difference which the scholarship made to her own time at Leeds.

Roger Marsh

Filmed at our annual scholarships reception, for donors and scholars, alumnus Roger Marsh (Metallurgy 1976) explains why he chooses to support scholarships at Leeds.

Neil Warner

Neil Warner (Economics 1974) reflects on his time as a student at Leeds, on his subsequent career in business and accounting and on why he chooses to now support current students with scholarships

James Martin

James Martin (English 1986) talks about the impact that studying at Leeds had on his life - and why he now chooses to support student scholarships at the University.

How you can help

Your gift could make a transformative difference to a young person – opening up to them the world of opportunity which studying at the University of Leeds can provide.

And because the University is a charity, UK taxpayers can make their gifts go further. Gift Aid enables the University to reclaim the basic rate of tax on the value of the donation, while higher rate (40%) and additional rate (45%) taxpayers can reclaim the difference between their rate of tax and the basic rate. For further information on tax-effective giving, click here.

You may also choose to make your gift in instalments.

Gift will supportMasters ScholarshipUndergraduate ScholarshipPlus Programme leader
You give£4,000£8,000£32,000
The University claims Gift Aid (1)£1,000£2,000£8,000
Full value of gift£5,000£10,000£40,000

If you are a Higher Rate (40%) taxpayer:

You claim tax relief (2)£1,000£2,000£8,000
Net cost to you£3,000£6,000£24,000

If you are an Additional Rate (45%) taxpayer:

You claim tax relief (3)£1,250£2,500£10,000
Net cost to you£2,750£5,500£22,000
  1. Added at the basic rate of tax.
  2. Higher rate relief is the difference between basic rate and higher rate tax.
  3. Additional rate relief is the difference between basic rate and additional rate tax.

Further information on tax-effective giving and eligibility click here

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