Purpose: to ensure that no talented individual is excluded because of financial circumstances and that no student experiences financial hardship whilst in residence.
- funding for graduate studentships
- increasing our student support funds so we can offer “top up” bursaries
- establishing the John Collier Fund for undergraduate student support
Why support students?
It is important for us to ensure we have sufficient funds for student support so that no talented individual is prevented from attending because of financial background and no student suffers financial hardship whilst in residence. We believe financial worries should not impact on a Trinity Hall student’s Cambridge experience.
Until 1998 many students received a Cambridge education for free: local education authorities provided grants for living costs and the central government covered tuition costs. Today, students have to pay tuition fees of £9,000 per year and many take out loans to cover their living costs. It is not unusual for undergraduates to leave University with debts of £50,000.
Typically, at Trinity Hall, every year around one third of resident members will benefit from some form of financial support from the College, on top of the investment the College makes in subsidising every student’s teaching costs. Over £500,000 was spent last year on graduate and undergraduate student support. It is vital that we continue to ensure we have sufficient funds available.
Types of student support
There are four types of student support:
- Studentships – to cover the costs of all fees or part fees and/or maintenance for new students
- Hardship Grants – to provide hardship funding for current students, as a result of unexpected financial difficulties
- Awards – to support extra-curricular activities ie travel and sport and research-related activities
- Prizes – to reward academic excellence
Donations can be made to the Trinity Hall Fund for student support which will help students in the next academic year, or used to endow student support funds which can offer grants in perpetuity.
With undergraduates now paying higher fees, and typically ending their courses heavily in debt, there are concerns that those with the potential to benefit from graduate study will rule it out. We risk losing the ability to train new researchers and make important discoveries. In recent years 40-50% of University offer holders at a graduate level have not taken up their place because of lack of funding.
We currently fund 8 graduates each year, but we have to draw a line above applicants who are of the highest quality as we don’t have sufficient funding available. We aspire to secure additional finances to ensure that talented students are able to undertake graduate research by providing fully-funded and part-funded studentships.
Trinity Hall is participating in the Newton-CHESS Mphil matched funding scheme: if we can raise £6,000 it will be matched by the University and will provide funding for a Masters student towards their College fees, University fees and a grant towards maintenance.
“Without a studentship I would not be able to undertake my studies at Cambridge. I use it to pay my University and College fees, rent and general living costs. With research councils cutting down on graduate awards, I am fully dependent on donations to allow me to carry out my research.”
A full graduate studentship requires an annual income of between £20,000 to £35,000, depending on the course and fee status, and is required annually for a three-four year period for a PhD. Donations can be made for Masters students each year, but it costs £1,000,000 to endow a named graduate studentship fund. Any money given towards graduate studentships will be counted towards the University’s £300 million target for graduate student support as part of “Dear World … Yours Cambridge”
We aim to raise £40,000 for graduate student support through our telephone campaign and mailings during the year. This is used during the following academic year to enable graduates to attend conferences and present their findings to a wider academic community, to further their research.
Prizes are typically awarded annually to an individual based on their performance in Tripos exams in the summer, and thereby reward students for their hard work throughout the year. Endowing a College prize is an excellent way to ensure hardworking students benefit directly and is an ideal way to preserve a name, whether yours or a family members, in perpetuity.
Typically £100 is awarded annually or £4,000 can endow a named prize fund.
However, we want to ensure there is no discrepancy between subjects; some undergraduate subjects are missing prizes and our aim in 2016 was to ensure all subjects have an endowed prize within the next four years. We have almost achieved our target. We are currently missing a prize in chemical engineering.
Thanks to the support of alumni we have been able to establish a John Collier Fellowship in Law and a College Teaching Officer; a position which was appointed in 2018.
Following on from this success, we launched the John Collier Student Support fund in 2016. This is a permanent fund to support undergraduates in need of financial assistance. The Fund was established with thanks to Jonathan Klein (1979) who volunteered a generous donation of £50,000 as a matched gift in order to motivate others to contribute £100,000 to the Fund.
A permanent fund of £200,000 has now been endowed, in John Collier’s name, to provide:
- grants for those suffering unexpected financial hardship; and
- the College’s contribution to the Cambridge Bursary scheme which supports Trinity Hall undergraduates from the lowest income families with their termly maintenance costs.
Such funds help ensure that no student has to leave College for financial reasons and that no talented student is prevented from attending because of financial hardship. Research by the University has also shown the provision of Bursaries helps students to focus on their studies and makes them less anxious.
We are very grateful to everyone who has supported the funds in honour of JC.
Jonathan Klein (1976):
“John Collier is more responsible than most for the fortunate position in which I find myself today. This is not due to his undoubled excellence in teaching me (he rated me as one of his least good students). John Collier has been a role model to me in terms of care, thoughtfulness, consideration and “being there” when it was most needed as a source of advice, wisdom and support. I know that this was not due to any special attributes of mine – perish the thought – as he behaved in this way with thousands of others, both when at Cambridge and since. I am confident that those who also benefitted from knowing him will join me in making sure we reach our target.”