A total of £200 000 has been raised for the Equal Access Fund, after last year’s graduating ‘class of 2017’ voted for it as their fundraising project, named ‘One Education’. The fund allows for bursaries of £10 660, alongside complete fee waivers, for asylum seekers wishing to study at the University of York. Five scholars are due to begin or continue their studies this year – up by three from last year’s intake of two. As conflicts continue throughout the world, the Equal Access Fund is thought to be of increasing social and political relevance.
Maryam, an Equal Access Scholar from 2016, commented: “This scholarship gave me hope that regardless of my status, I still deserve an education. Opening the acceptance letter was one of the happiest moments of my life, an unforgettable opportunity that my family and I will forever be grateful for.” The ‘One Education’ campaign exceeded its target, raising £10 779 with £5000 matched by YuFund – a separate fund dedicated to student development and opportunities.
Sarah Beamish, Participation Giving Officer at the Office of Philanthropic Partnership and Alumni (OPPA), gave the following statement about the Class of 2017 appeal: “The Class of 2017 ambassadors have done a tremendous job in leading a successful campaign in the hope to raise a whole Equal Access Scholarship for an asylum seeking student to come to York. They have volunteered their time, skills and networks in the aim to leave a legacy of their time at our University and to further a cause they really believe in. We are immensely proud!”
A University spokesperson added further comment: “The fund reflects the University’s core values of justice and equality and we are delighted to be able to provide a safe and secure environment for displaced people to study, research and prosper. Looking to the future, we are looking at ways that we can develop the scholarship programme.”