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                York Opportunity Scholarship Appeal

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we expect demand for scholarships to be greater than ever before. We urgently need your help to provide a lifeline to prospective students who may have nowhere else to turn.

One donation 
Twice the impact. 

This year, a group of York donors are matching donations up to £33,000, which means you can double the impact of your gift at no extra cost to you. Every penny of your donation goes directly towards changing the lives of an additional 20 students this year.

In 2019/20, we could only help 1 in 6 students who applied.

I'll help

What is the York Opportunity Scholarship?

The History

The York Opportunity Scholarship was established by Peter Whelpton. He studied Economics at York between 1966 and 1969 and believed that students from all backgrounds should have the chance to access higher education.

The Scholarship provides support to talented students who have the academic potential to study at York and who have faced significant barriers to their educational goals.

Who can apply for this scholarship?

  • Those living in, or those who have lived in, local authority care
  • Those from a minority ethnic background
  • Those with a disability
  • Those from a low-income household
The scholarships are open to applications from students starting an undergraduate degree in September 2020.

Last year, there were over 300 applicants yet sufficient funds for only 50 scholarships. This year, with your generosity and the match-funding from a group of York donors, we can help more students than ever before.

Give now

Your support will change lives

Beth and Stephen, York Opportunity Scholars

We currently only have enough funds to support 1 in 10 applicants in September 2020. We urgently need your help to increase this number. 

"This Scholarship has helped me reach for the stars and achieve things I never thought I could that are now in reach. Donating really changes lives and gives people opportunities that they never thought they'd have. That person goes on to help other people and we have you to thank for that." 

Jean-Marie Jieman,
1st year LLB Law and York Opportunity Scholar

York Opportunity Scholarship funding

The Scholarship provides financial support of £1,100 for three years of undergraduate study to students, alleviating the pressure that so many students from less advantaged groups face both before and during university.

Demand for the York Opportunity Scholarship has always outweighed the provision we are able to provide. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic placing additional strain on less advantaged young people thinking about starting university in September, we expect the demand to be greater than ever before. School leavers who have lost jobs and cannot rely on their families for emotional or financial support may well be thinking about putting their dreams of a university degree on hold. 

This year, thanks to match-funding from a group of York donors, we have the opportunity to help more students than ever before. Can we count on your support too?

Count me in

Graph showing funding over the last four years

What difference can I make?

You can double the impact for a prospective student by making a donation today. For many students from less advantaged backgrounds, applying to university can be an incredibly difficult decision. Right now, hundreds of students each year at York don’t have access to the financial support they need to overcome the barriers that they face. Being confident about coming to university isn’t just about academic achievements.

The cost of living, having dependents, coming from a background where university education isn’t a common aspiration, and having a disability are all factors that may play a part in someone’s decision to come to university.

Donate today

Students from less advantaged backgrounds attending our latest summer school

York Opportunity Scholars at Scholars’ Reception

The current situation means that many students without family support who were previously relying on income from jobs to be able to prepare for university, now won’t have that. Right now, there are students who may be thinking that they cannot come to university in September. These may be school leavers who have worked hard to be in a position where university is an option, but who are less likely to have anywhere to turn in times of need during the pandemic and in the months to come. These young people desperately want to be able to continue their education and fulfil their potential but risk not being able to without your help.

No one should have to abandon their dream of gaining their degree because of circumstances out of their control.

The £21 a week that the York Opportunity Scholarship provides can make the difference between a student pursuing their dreams or a student never getting the opportunity to try.

Please will you donate today and have your generous gift DOUBLED to help create an additional 20 life-changing York Opportunity Scholarships for students starting at York in September?

Count me in

"By donating you are changing someone's life and you're not just changing their lives but you are changing the lives of their families and the people they go on to help in their career. I am very grateful as I couldn't think of anything better. Please give someone else the opportunity I have been given to change my life. Thank you."

- Wendy Caulkin,
1st year BSc Nursing

If you are in a position to consider funding a full scholarship, please contact Tom Piercy, Head of Fundraising Programmes.