Oxford University launches scholarship scheme for black Britons

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Oxford University said it had accepted a record number of people from ethnic minorities earlier this year.

Oxford University has announced its first scholarship for disadvantaged black British students.

It will be funded by US entrepreneur Arlan Hamilton, who created the Backstage Capital fund for start-ups run by under-represented founders.

The Oxford-Arlan Hamilton and Earline Butler Sims Scholarship will start in 2020 and run for three years.

Each successful applicant will have their fees and living costs paid for a three-year undergraduate degree.

Oxford University said it had handed the highest proportion of its places to ethnic minority students in its history in June.

It said 18% of undergraduates were from ethnic minorities, while 61% of students attended state schools.

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Amanda Edwards

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California-based venture capitalist Arlan Hamilton launched Backstage Capital in 2015

Oxford has previously been criticised for being socially exclusive by former education minister David Lammy.

Ms Hamilton said the scheme forms part of a programme she will fund in the United States to get more black students into university.

She said: “‘I just really want someone who didn’t or wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to this university to do so.

“I want them to be truly nurtured and able to focus on themselves, instead of worrying about the things, that perhaps, I have had to worry about in the past – like how you are going to pay your rent, while trying to get an education.

“I want them to be able to focus on the things that fuel and give them life.”

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Earline Butler Sims, who the scheme is partly named after, is Arlan Hamilton’s mother

Each beneficiary will also be given a £3,000 internship grant to boost their employment prospects.

They will need to be of black African, Caribbean or mixed race heritage to qualify.

The university will use programs to determine applicants’ socio-economic status and whether people from their area would normally attend higher education before the scholarships are awarded.

Prof Martin Williams, Oxford University’s pro-vice-chancellor for education, said: “In 2019 Oxford University’s commitment to ensuring every academically talented student in the country knows that they have a fair chance at a place at Oxford has been clear to see.”

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