This morning on August 16th the Grime artist and Philanthropist announced on Instagram that he was introducing an initiative called The Stormzy Scholarship: a new fund to encourage and support black students from underprivileged and disadvantaged backgrounds to study at the university of Cambridge.
The Scholarship will be covering the tuition fees and maintenance costs of two students this upcoming academic year who have confirmed places at Cambridge and two students who will be attending the University in the academic year starting in October 2019.
He said: “We as a minority are still heavily underrepresented at the the top universities and I pray this scholarship serves as a reminder that we are more than capable of studying at places of this calibre.”
The University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope in a statement said: “Last year 58 new black students arrived to take up their courses at Cambridge, the largest number ever but not nearly as much as we would like.”
Bilal, who is of Caribbean and South Asian descent and a host of Over The Bridge, a podcast comprised of a group of ex-Cambridge students discussing their experiences within the university as well as other prominent social issues, is one of many people who support the initiative.
He expressed to me that “If you know that someone like Stormy is supporting you to achieve academically then maybe, just maybe you just might start to shift your mind-set and believe you can and should occupy these spaces.”
Though even if you do make it, there are so many stressors associated with being a black student at a highly selective predominantly white school.
Bilal added, “As a person of difference occupying a space you become aware of subtle micro-aggressions and the way you are treated different.”
In 2017 a representative from the university said in response to concerns about diversity issues “our admissions are based on academic consideration alone.”
Today schools such as Brampton Manor’s Academic Sixth Form in Newham, had over 100 students achieve straight A/A*s at A Level, a significant proportion of which were of Black or Asian descent.
As such, its evident that students from ethnic minority backgrounds have the ability to produce the required grades by these institutions and should be able to attend them if their heart so desires.
With Stormzy in their corner, they now have the extra tools to ensure they are comfortable during their three years, get the highest grades possible and achieve the careers of their dreams.