University of Bristol Launches Pilot Scholarship Program for Disadvantaged Students


In an aim to diversify its population while providing equal educational opportunities to many, the University of Bristol is has launched a new initiative that will make it easier for high potential but low-income students to enroll and receive a college education.

This new initiative, called "Bristol Scholars," is opening up the university to students from all backgrounds, and will hopefully address the wide gap between the number of rich and poor students receiving a bachelor's degree, The Guardian reports.

"We want to recruit the most able students, regardless of their background," Professor Hugh Brady, University of Bristol Vice-Chancellor and President, said in a news release. "We're confident that, in time, we will achieve a more diverse student community at the University of Bristol; this will be a change which will benefit everyone, and something we hope other universities will consider replicating."

The initiative allows all schools which offers post-16 qualifications to nominate five high-potential students into the program. Students' eligibility will be based on head teacher's assessments, and not on exam results alone.

Other factors that will be prioritized in screening scholars include a student's ability to overcome educational or domestic disadvantage, certain criteria such as being a first-generation college student, being a part of the Free School Meals cohort, being a young carer, or living in care.

In addition, the University will lower the grades required for students attending 'aspiring' state schools or colleges. They will be required to grades lower than the standard offers.

Students who successfully become a Bristol Scholar will receive a reduced, guaranteed offer for the course they prefer. In addition, Bristol Scholars will be offered academic and pastoral support, as well as financial support if their household income is lower than £25,000 (about USD $30992.50).

Eighteen-year-old Marbel Chawatama, an A-level student from St. Bede's Catholic College, is a nominee for the scholarship and will start a Law degree after meeting grade requirements.

"I was honoured to find out I'd been nominated to be a Bristol Scholar," Chawatama said. "I know a lot of people want to go to the University of Bristol but don't get the opportunity."

"I felt really blessed."

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