UK news Cambridge University announces big change on students it will be accepting last minute news
MetiNews.Com - A philanthropist behind the scheme says the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities and disadvantages
Breaking News ! Cambridge University will start offering foundation courses to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who fail to meet its high entry requirements, it announced today, January 13. From next year, talented students from lower-income households whose education has been “disadvantaged or disrupted” will have the chance to study on a one-year course before beginning their degree. Students usually need to achieve A*AA to secure a place at Cambridge University but, starting in October 2022, the new courses will be open to students with BBB grades. Philanthropists Christina and Peter Dawson made a £5m donation to enable the scheme. Mrs Dawson said: “the need for this Foundation Year has become ever clearer as the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities and disadvantages.” While educational charity The Sutton Trust welcomed the “innovative steps” to increase access at the prestigious institution. Read More Related Articles To respect or tolerate? Cambridge Uni votes on limits of free speech Read More Related Articles Cambridge University's plan for welcoming back students next year - even those from Tier 4 areas The foundation year will include courses in arts, humanities and social sciences at one of 13 colleges initially, allowing successful students to choose from 18 degree courses without the need to reapply. Young people who have been in care, who are estranged from their families and those who have missed significant periods of learning because of health issues are all eligible for the foundation year. Other candidates include students who have been unable to access suitable qualifications, those from low-income backgrounds, and those from schools which send few students to university. Although the launch comes amid concerns that disadvantaged students are likely to have felt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic disproportionately, school closures themselves will not be taken into consideration. Professor Stephen Toope, the vice-chancellor of the university, said: “Students will be drawn from a range of backgrounds, the common link being that their circumstances have prevented them from realising their academic potential.
.” Cambridge has been widely criticised for its privileged intake of pupils, and the Foundation Year is a new way of helping to “close the attainment gap caused by inequality,” the university’s senior-pro-vice chancellor for education, Professor Graham Virgo said. Admission figures from 2020 show that this year’s cohort of undergraduates are the most diverse yet. 137 Black students were admitted this September, a rise of 46 students since 2019’s admissions. Around 70 per cent of the university's new UK students came from state schools.
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The university has said that it wants the number of university students from “under-represented and disadvantaged” backgrounds to rise to one in three, from its current one in four proportion. Chief executive of the Sutton Trust James Turner, said: "Cambridge has made considerable progress in widening access over the last 20 years. But substantial gaps remain, so further, more innovative steps are very welcome." He said it was "important foundation year students do not feel in any way second best or isolated from the rest of the university". A statement from Girton College, one of the 13 colleges participating in the pilot scheme, said that more subjects, including STEM ones, could be added as the Foundation Year programme develops. It added that: "Students will also be supported during the programme in finding alternative university places if they do not wish to continue to undergraduate study at Cambridge, or do not meet the required level of attainment."