Jesus College has announced a new bursary scheme that will provide financial support for Welsh students. The bursary has been developed with actor and activist Michael Sheen, who is also financially supporting the bursary. The college has said that the bursary will be “based primarily on household income criteria”. It is described as an attempt to overcome the barrier of economic inequality faced by many Welsh students.
The college is already engaged in access activities for Welsh students. Together with St Catherine’s College and New College, Jesus College takes part in Oxford Cymru, a consortium that seeks to improve university accessibility for Welsh students and works with the Welsh Government. Jesus College also offers the Seren Summer School which is open to Welsh school pupils. As a result of these outreach efforts, the college has found “a 55% increase in admissions from 2016-2020” of Welsh students.
Jesus College Principal, Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, believes “the Michael Sheen Bursary will drive this work forward and demonstrates a continued commitment to providing access and equity for all. We are hugely grateful to Michael for this generous support, which will positively impact the lives and futures of some of our more disadvantaged Welsh students.”
Michael Sheen said: “it gives me great pleasure to use what resources I have to help young Welsh students of real potential get the opportunities for learning there that they deserve as much as anyone else.”
“I hope that these bursaries not only make it possible for Welsh students to take advantage of the educational possibilities at Jesus but also help to encourage a sense of what is possible for young Welsh people generally.”
Will Rumble, Jesus College JCR’s Access Representative, told Cherwell: “The Michael Sheen Bursary will provide much-needed support to Welsh students at Jesus. It will decrease the financial burden faced by far too many Welsh students at Oxford and will complement the wide range of access work organised by Jesus for Welsh secondary school students. The bursary will allow Welsh students to enjoy their student experience with fewer financial concerns than currently possible.”
Applications for the first Michael Sheen bursaries will open in Michaelmas term 2021.
20/4/21, 18:34 – Updated to include JCR comment.