The University of Bristol is launching a new £1 million programme of scholarships, which will support around 130 Black and mixed Black heritage students to take up places at the University over the next four years.
The Black Bristol Scholarship Programme seeks to address the underrepresentation of Black students at every level of study in higher education across the UK, from undergraduate students to those completing PhDs. It will annually fund Black and mixed Black heritage students across five areas:
- 20 Black Futures Scholarships will provide undergraduate students with both a bursary and targeted support from the Careers Service, alongside funding to support employability opportunities.
- Three postgraduate scholarships for students within the University’s Widening Participation programmes, encouraging students to progress to taught master’s programmes.
- £125,000 to grow the Opportunity Bristol studentships, which will support four to five students within the research community to pursue postgraduate research master’s, preparing them to pursue funded PhD opportunities.
- Four PGCE scholarships to increase participation in teaching from the Black and mixed Black heritage community.
- Two Black Humanities Master’s scholarships per year which will fully fund two teachers to complete the unique interdisciplinary course either full-time or part-time.
Speaking about the Black Bristol Scholarship Programme, former SU Undergraduate Education Officer and current Vice President (Higher Education), National Union of Students, Hillary Gyebi-Ababio (BSc 2019), said: “Financial concerns are one of the primary barriers to Black people progressing into Higher Education. The Black Bristol Scholarship Programme empowers students to continue their education and gives them the freedom to access resources and support they might not otherwise have.
“The Black Bristol Scholarship Programme goes a long way to showing the University of Bristol’s commitment to doing better by Black students. The moment you empower and enable students, you give them the agency and the ability to push for better, to bring change, to feel included and to feel valued in their communities.”
In recent years enrolment of Black, Asian and minority ethnic students at the University has increased by 44 per cent and these scholarships are a way to continue and build on that progress. As a member of the Race Equality Charter, the University is committed to delivering on its promise to not only increase the proportion of Black heritage students at Bristol, but also to ensure they are supported to succeed in their studies and beyond.
The new Black Bristol Scholarship Programme will be funded by donations from the University’s alumni and friends and is the latest in a series of initiatives by the University to overcome the historic barriers to education. It builds on the University’s existing work including the Be More Empowered for Success Programme and a new collaboration with CARGO which aims to connect staff and students to diverse businesses and community organisations in the city.
Professor Judith Squires, Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor, said: “I am thrilled to be launching this new Black Bristol Scholarship Programme. We are determined to create a diverse and inclusive university community and recognise that positive support is needed to address the historical under-representation of Black and Black heritage students in particular.
“Thanks to the support of our alumni and friends, I am confident that together with our other initiatives to support our Black students and to decolonise the curriculum, this will help to make our University a truly inclusive environment for everyone.”