Pilot Top-Up Bursary Scheme Launched

In a pilot initiative to enhance the Cambridge Bursary Scheme (CBS), students from low and middle-income households starting undergraduate courses in October 2018 will receive additional financial support. Thirteen Colleges are participating in the one-year pilot scheme, which is part of the wider package of student support measures being developed by the University of Cambridge, and is designed to test whether modest extra support makes a genuine difference to the student experience. Under the pilot scheme, students from households with incomes up to £62,000 will receive additional support during term time, in addition to the Cambridge Bursary. Currently, all Cambridge students from households with an income under £25,000 receive the full Cambridge Bursary of £3,500 per year, in addition to a student maintenance loan tapering to £0 for those in households with an income of up to £42,000.

The aim of the Top-Up Bursary Scheme is to update the CBS and to extend its reach.

Commenting on the pilot scheme, Trinity College's Senior Tutor, Professor Catherine Barnard, said:  

The pilot scheme is an opportunity to assess what difference some extra money makes to students’ experience at Cambridge, to help them make the most of their time here, whether that is buying a laptop or books. The scheme helps not just the poorest students but also those from families with parents on average incomes. The Colleges recognise that these families can experience financial pressures, especially if they are supporting other school age or university students.  

Dr Tim Flack, Senior Tutor at King’s said:  

At King's almost all of the calls on our hardship funds are from students who come from low-middle income households, and who either get very small Cambridge Bursary Scheme bursaries or fall just outside of that scheme. This new scheme pre-empts the issue of such students living with months of financial anxiety, scrimping and saving and thereby failing to make the most of the incredible opportunities available here, because they are too proud to ask for help, or they feel guilty about potentially financially disadvantaging other students. In most cases the new bursary represents money that would have been spent on the recipients anyway.

The pilot scheme will be evaluated by the Faculty of Education at Cambridge with a post-doctoral researcher funded by several participating colleges for this purpose. Christ’s, Churchill, Fitzwilliam, Homerton, King’s, Magdalene, Murray Edwards, Newnham, Pembroke, Peterhouse, Selwyn, Trinity and Wolfson Colleges are all participating in the pilot scheme. If successful, participating Colleges will seek philanthropic support to continue and expand the scheme. 

1 November 2018