The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, established in 2016, provides young people who have demonstrated academic talent with access to quality education.
MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program
The University will provide 80 undergraduate and 120 postgraduate African students with full scholarships over the next seven years. Students will receive comprehensive support to remove barriers to study in Edinburgh and they will benefit from extracurricular course elements including summer schools and internships to build their abilities and make a difference to their home countries and communities on their return.
Activities and sports participation grant
The Activities and Sports Participation Grant was a new initiative for 2016, supporting students from more disadvantaged backgrounds to overcome financial barriers to participate in extra-curricular activities. The Students’ Association promoted and administered the grant and focused the grant on existing scholarship students. Over 120 students were provided with grants, enabling them to participate in a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities, especially sports participation.
The participation grant was a new initiative for 2016 – originating from on survey results that showed us that students from more disadvantaged backgrounds at the University of Edinburgh were less likely to engage with extra-curricular activities such as sports or societies. Finances were one of the barriers identified and so the grant was established to allow up to £100 per student (supporting around 100 students in year 1) towards joining a society or costs contributing towards sports participation. The Students Association promoted and administered the grant and focused the grant on existing scholarship students. Of the 130 students whose applications were successful 57 (43%) were in receipt of a Scotland Accommodation Bursary and 73 (56%) in receipt of a RUK Bursary. Of the 130 students, 126 students were finally able to benefit from the grant and it was over-subscribed in this pilot year.
This has meant that the association were awarded University funds for an additional year which now gives them the opportunity to review and refine the grant criteria and to analyse the impact of the financial support. They were able to identify in year one that the grants were predominantly supporting students involved with sports (75% of those awarded a grant) and so they have worked closely with EUSU to ensure that the majority of funds in year 2 are focused on sports participation as this appears to have greater financial barriers (EUSU have also identified additional funds to add to the overall grant in year 2). EUSU are now working with the sports centre to establish ways to simplify processes and where possible cut down on gym memberships which are a requirement for most sport clubs.
In 2017 there was a 20 percent overall increase in acceptances from SIMD20 students who had been made an offer by the University. We were pleased to see an increased acceptance rate in this year’s admissions cycle and we wish to maintain and increase this in the future. Further efforts will be undertaken in 2017-18 across the University to engage with more students from SIMD 20 backgrounds.
Over the past ten years, there has been excellent progress in widening participation at the University, particularly in regards to the impact of contextual admissions and the scholarship provision for disadvantaged groups. In order to continue and build upon that progress the University is now developing a new widening participation strategy. This will lead to a new University strategy on widening participation by early 2018.