Top-Up Bursary Scheme

Student support is a key priority for the College: gifts enable young people to study here who could not otherwise do so.

“The side effects of the Great Recession and now the Great Pandemic have driven a step rise in inequality around the world. But education can serve as a great leveller. Having similarly been given an opportunity to spend some of the most enjoyable and exhilarating years of my life at the Hall thanks to a fully-funded scholarship, this is my way of paying it forward.”

– Trinity Hall alumnus and donor to student support

Human, Social & Political Sciences undergraduate student Zak Ali (2019) explains what the support has meant for him:

The funds I received were very important in enabling me to meet the financial demands that accompany university; allowing me to meet the living expenses at Cambridge, both in terms of rent and travel. As I come from a single-parent household, the worries my mother and I had in terms of moving on to university meant many sacrifices had to be made, but receiving a bursary has undoubtedly alleviated many of our concerns, and for that I am hugely grateful. The bursary is by far one of the best ways in which students from working class backgrounds can get a footing in terms of life at Cambridge. Having both academic and financial support has allowed me to flourish in my first year, putting aside a set of financial worries in order to focus on my studies. I thank my donor for granting me that reassurance, which can only help me to go a long way in terms of my degree.

The Top-Up Bursary Scheme was piloted by a group of Colleges in 2018-19. It is designed to supplement the Cambridge Bursary scheme, which offers grants to students from households with lower incomes. Thanks to a donation from an alumnus, we were able to offer Top-Up Bursaries for the first time in 2019-20. This meant 26 students who started in October 2019, received a Top-Up Bursary to help with their living costs. This was in addition to the 70 students we helped support with a Cambridge Bursary last year.

This academic year 36 Top-Up Bursaries will be offered to Freshers, making 62 awards in total. Again these Bursaries have been made possible through philanthropy. Offering Top-Up Bursaries relieves the financial pressure felt by undergraduates, enabling them to focus on their studies and ensuring they can make the most of their College experience.