Student Access and Support Initiative

© Martin Bond

At King's, our mission has always been to attract the students with the most academic potential - regardless of background - and support them to  achieve to the very highest of their ability, and to thrive during their time at King’s. However, for too many of these students, there exist significant barriers – both real and perceived – when it comes to securing a place to study here.

The College's Student Access and Support Initiative aims to improve equality of access and opportunity, and help combat entrenched social and economic disadvantage. The Initiative is the catalyst for key areas of permanent change that are transforming our ability to ensure that students with talent and tenacity will be encouraged, welcomed, valued and helped to flourish in all aspects of their lives at King’s.


Student Access and Support Initiative

In December 2018 the King’s Campaign was launched with the announcement of a £33.6 million gift from an alumnus, to kick-start the College’s transformational initiative to improve access for disadvantaged students. Inspired by the College’s commitment to overturning barriers for students from disadvantaged social or economic backgrounds, and to the principle that no suitably qualified student should be deterred from applying to, or remaining at, Cambridge by their financial circumstances, the gift has financed the building of two new halls of residence, with the rental income recycled to feed into a student access and support fund.

With this remarkable investment as seed funding, the Student Access and Support Initiative (SASI) is enabling King’s to:

  1. increase the undergraduate intake by  ten places

  2. provide an intensive two-week Bridging Programme to these students after summer exam results are announced, to improve attainment for offer-holders who just make or just miss their offer grades, and to introduce them to the teaching methods and environment of a Cambridge College

  3. to provide ongoing tutoring to students who attend the Bridging Programme throughout their first academic year, so as to help them to bridge the gap between secondary level education and university

  4. offer a ‘post-offer, pre-A-level’ tuition scheme to correct the academic support deficit for some state-school applicants. This is needed to reduce the much higher incidence of state school offer-holders failing to attain their required A-level grades when compared with those in private education, and to provide these students with the confidence and skills they need to succeed in their exams

  5. intensify our access and outreach work to widen participation and work with other leaders in the field to increase applications from high-achieving pupils who might otherwise not apply to Cambridge, particularly from schools with little or no record of Oxbridge applications or contact with universities in general

  6. provide annual bursaries to undergraduates from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to ensure these students can fully partake in College life and accept summer internships that help them further their career goals

The gift that enabled the College to launch the Student Access and Support Initiative was transformational. Now we need to build on the work that has been started, and ensure, with your help, that funding for student support at King’s is secured for the long term.



Outreach Work

The College’s outreach work is expanding, with new initiatives aimed at Year 10 and Year 12 widening participation students in our school link regions and the College’s Access Bus taking King’s student volunteers out to talk to Year 10 students about studying at University and their options after school. These initiatives are highly successful in engaging school students with what studying at Cambridge is really like, and addressing some of the myths and misconceptions.

We want to continue to expand our outreach programme further, giving us greater flexibility and opportunity to develop relationships with schools, to run workshops and open days for students from under-represented backgrounds, and to develop more new tools and resources to help us better target our outreach activities.



Undergraduate Bursaries

As part of the Student Access and Support Initiative, students meeting the criteria for the Bridging Programme are eligible for up to £3,000 year to fund professional and personal development – helping to level the playing field and allow all our students to fully benefit from everything that Cambridge offers.  

A gift would help us expand this and offer these grants to more students every year.




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