Cowrie Foundation Scholarship

Created to offer support to Black British undergraduates from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

  • Funding: Tuition fees at the UK (home) rate, plus a maintenance stipend of up to £8,000 for each year of your course.
  • Academic year: 2024/25
  • Open to: UK (home) students
  • Qualification level: Undergraduate
  • Number available: Two
Applications for 2024/25 are closed.

The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation, in partnership with the University of York, will offer at least one scholarship to support Black British undergraduate students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation wants to empower over 100 financially disadvantaged Black British students through UK universities in the next decade. This will be achieved by funding their fees and living expenses in partnership with universities, donors and businesses, supported by mentors and a full mentorship programme.

Find out more about The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation.

Applications for this scholarship are currently closed, as we're supporting our current Cowrie Scholars through their university journey. Applications are expected to open again in 2025.


Open to UK (home) students only.

To apply for this scholarship, you must meet all the following criteria to be considered:

  1. Identify as belonging to one of the following ethnic groups:  
    • Black or Black British – Caribbean
    • Black or Black British – African
    • Mixed – White and Black Caribbean
    • Mixed – White and Black African
    • Other Black background.
  2. Have firmly accepted an offer of a place by the relevant UCAS deadline on a first undergraduate full-time degree at the University of York, commencing study in the 2025/26 academic year.
  3. Have been assessed for fee status as a 'home' student.
  4. Have a household income of £25,000 per annum or less.
  5. Have made an application to Student Finance (England, Wales or Northern Ireland) or the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for tuition fee support and a maintenance loan. 
  6. Have received confirmation that you'll be in receipt of full financial support for the 2025/26 academic year. Please ensure you have given consent to share the information with the University, as this information will be used to determine eligibility.
How to apply

Application deadline: Monday 1 January 2024, 1am GMT

Complete our application form once available online. You'll be asked to confirm the following information:

  • Full name
  • Student number (or, if not known, your UCAS number)
  • Programme of study
  • Name and address of current school or college
  • Home address
  • Ethnicity
  • Email address
  • Confirmation that you've applied for (and expect to receive) financial support from the government through Student Finance (England, Wales or Northern Ireland) or the Student Awards Agency for Scotland for tuition fees and a maintenance loan
  • Confirmation that this is your first undergraduate degree, and you have not started a degree previously
  • Confirmation that you understand that representatives from the University of York and the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation will be reviewing your application and any submitted documentation as part of the selection process (this means that your information will be shared with the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation for the purposes of selecting scholars and providing scholars with programmes of support and development)
  • Agreement that your UCAS references (personal and supporting statements) will be used as part of the selection process

You'll also be asked to complete a personal statement of between 700 and 900 words, explaining:

  • why the scholarship would be beneficial to your studies
  • how the scholarship would help you to achieve your academic goals
  • how your education would be of future benefit to your community and/or society
  • what achievements, academically and personally, you're most proud of, such as overcoming a challenging personal circumstance. There is no right or wrong answer; we're keen to hear your story.

We'll also look at where you live, and other measures of educational challenges, often referred to as socio-economic metrics. 

Find out more about our widening access programmes.

How we allocate

We typically receive a large number of applications to our scholarships. All applications are reviewed, and shortlisted applications are considered by a panel of University of York staff.

A panel of representatives from the University of York will assess applications and compile a shortlist. The shortlist will be sent to The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation, who will make the final decisions.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by the first week of September 2025. Please do not contact The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation directly for updates.

We will prioritise scholarships for applicants who meet the greatest number of criteria, particularly household income. We will also consider the area you live in (using POLAR4 data to determine areas with low levels of progression to higher education). Your goals for the future and any challenges you have faced during your education journey will also be taken into account.

Terms and conditions

This scholarship is only available to people who gain a place to study an undergraduate programme at the University of York and enrol in the 2025 academic year.

This scholarship is provided for each year of study, subject to satisfactory progression. This means you must pass each year. Only one repeat year will be supported by this scholarship.

Please check your eligibility before making an application. Awards may be withdrawn if we later become aware successful scholars have not met eligibility criteria or have provided false information.

Contact us

If you have questions relating to any of our funding opportunities, please see the contact details on the specific scholarship or bursary page.