Access and Opportunity are fundamental to the culture and character of King's. We already have the greatest number of undergraduate applicants in the University, and also admit the greatest proportion of candidates from state schools of any of the colleges. However, whilst this is highly laudable, we cannot shy away from the fact that many of the state school students currently admitted to Cambridge have effectively come from selective state schools, either via the grammar system or through the socio-economic realities of a school's catchment area. The knock-on effect of this is that genuinely economically and educationally disadvantaged pupils, such as pupils from families with no experience of higher education or those on free school meals, remain significantly under-represented.
There are no choices without chances.
- George the Poet (KC 2010)
In 2017, with the encouragement of alumni, the College established the Access and Outreach Fund to provide additional resources in support of the existing efforts that the College undertakes to encourage candidates to apply to King’s and the University. The purpose of the Fund is to enhance and add to our existing work of informing potential candidates – particularly those in under-represented demographics or in our designated outreach areas – of the possibilities offered by King’s, and of encouraging their applications for undergraduate courses.
Donations to the Fund can, for example, assist candidates with travel costs for interview where it may prevent them from attending, and can help reimburse volunteers (including students) for expenses while participating in the Access Bus trips to our partnered schools in the North East of England. Gifts to the Access and Outreach Fund also support our Schools Liaison Programme, which is helping to build stronger links with schools in our target communities and developing long-term relationships with teaching staff and school leaders.
The Access Fund is very important because it underpins the College’s work with less advantaged students in the North East. Given my roots, I believe that’s a very good cause. I give because I want to ensure that the fantastic education Cambridge offers can be available to students in this area, especially to people who, like me, may not have even considered it.
- Sarah Legg (KC 1986)
Various student-led initiatives such as the Black History Month Exhibition and annual BME Dinner showcase the achievements, successes and impressive contributions of BME students to King’s and the University more widely. The King's Open Day for prospective students from BME backgrounds is also designed to address the challenge of under-representation of BME students at Cambridge, and to play a role in ensuring that the University remains accessible to all, regardless of culture and creed.
With additional funding, we would like not only to expand our own roster of projects, but also to solidify our involvement with established initiatives such as Target Oxbridge, which helps Black African and Caribbean students increase their chances of acceptance into the UK's elite universities.
King’s has a well-founded reputation as a welcoming, academically charged and politically active college. Its high acceptance of state school students, its engaged student union and central location all contribute to the long list of features that makes King’s attractive to prospective students. Despite this, the ethnic diversity of students who apply remains a point of concern, with students from Black British and Bangladeshi ethnic backgrounds particularly under-represented.
- Nina Grossfurthner (KC 2015)
To fully support our planned outreach work, we would like to transform the Access and Outreach Fund into an endowed fund, giving us an annual income with which to expand and improve our programme of activity.
Additional rental income not already apportioned to specific access projects will be used to continue and expand our outreach programme, giving us greater flexibility and opportunity to develop relationships with schools, to run workshops and open days for students from under-represented backgrounds, to create promotional materials and to evaluate our impact in order to improve our methods in future.
Donations to this fund have the potential to radically transform our ability to offer a genuinely accessible education to all, regardless of background and financial situation.