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The Black Students’ Support Fund

A young black man walks along the covered walkway in Cowan Court. There are birch trees in the centre of the court behind him.

There currently exists an historic under-representation of Black British students at the University of Cambridge and Churchill College. Widening participation work in this area is being carried out at both a University and College level but more needs to be done.

Data on ethnicity is now collected as part of the admissions process and at present at Churchill only 2% of the current student population identify themselves as being Black British (7 out of 344 home undergraduate students and two out of 102 home postgraduate students). Even taking into consideration the small number of students who chose not to supply information on their ethnicity, this falls below the UK Sixth-form population and Cambridge UK undergraduate admissions figure as a whole:


  • 3.6% Cambridge UK undergraduate admissions 2019
  • 1.8% Cambridge UK postgraduate admissions 2019
  • 4.8% UK Sixth-form population 2019

Working harder to address this historic under-representation is an urgent priority. Our black students have formed an integral part of our student community, and have been great successes at Cambridge and beyond. Increasing the diversity of student intake will help ensure the contribution of insights from the widest range of backgrounds, heritages and standpoints.

In order to optimise applications to Churchill from this under-represented group of students, the College needs to raise enough funds to set up an endowed fund of at least £100,000. This endowed fund will support UK students of Black African and African-Caribbean heritage by providing means-tested bursaries for undergraduates, as part of the Cambridge Bursary scheme, or an MPhil Studentship. Support may be awarded to both categories ie undergraduate bursaries and an MPhil Studentship, dependent on the level of income generated by the fund.

The College’s Widening Participation team is also working to address the issue of under-representation. Read more about their work by clicking on the link below:


Widening Participation Report

Support for the Fund

Imani Jeffers

U15 - MML

It is so wonderful to hear about the launch of Churchill’s new means-tested Black Students’ Support Fund. I have always been proud and grateful to have been a Churchillian, as the College doesn’t just show its heart for inclusion in its words, but also does so in its actions, and this bursary is a perfect example of this. For me, the fund speaks to the College’s dedication to encouraging black and ethnic minority students to apply to study at a university where they may currently be under-represented but where the diversity of thought their diversity of background brings is so needed, and to spend their Cambridge years at a College where they will be most warmly welcomed.

Osarenkhoe Ogbeide

(G18 – PhD student)

I am delighted to hear about Churchill College’s decision to start a Black British Student Support Fund. The bursaries that will stem from this fund serve two significant purposes. The first being financial support for Black British students who may find academic life difficult without it; the second and arguably more important purpose, is advertising and promotion of opportunities available at Cambridge for Black British students. Knowledge that a bursary for Black British students exists alone will inspire prospective students and encourage them to apply to Cambridge as it reflects that the university welcomes them. As one of the newer colleges and in line with the College’s commitment to tackling racism, I believe Churchill College is the perfect place to setup this kind of fund.

“Ensuring we can support those black students who have the talent, but fear the financial burden, can come to Churchill College and thrive is close to the heart of the College. We hope that having dedicated bursaries will, not only facilitate the entry of a greater number of black students to the College, but also demonstrate to the entire community our commitment to disadvantaged students, particularly those from under-represented groups.”

Professor Dame Athene Donald DBE, FRS, Master of Churchill College


Further information

  • The Bursary or studentship will be open to all UK students of black African and African-Caribbean heritage at Churchill College
  • Undergraduate bursaries will be funded for up to four years, depending on the length of the course
  • The MPhil studentship will be awarded on the basis of academic merit to students who otherwise would struggle to fund a Master’s degree and will normally be provided for one year
  • Award-holders will be invited to meet major supporters of this fund in the College at a social event, normally in the Lent term, on an annual or two-yearly basis.


How you can help

We invite you to lend your support and help fight this historic under-representation by helping to build a fund that will optimise applications and build diversity.


Donate Online