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York Opportunity Scholarship

The rent prices of privately-owned student housing in York will be soaring by an average of 27% in 23/24 and less advantaged students are struggling with the increased cost of living. We urgently need your help.

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Together we can open the door to a brighter future for less advantaged students at York.

For students from less advantaged backgrounds, university life is incredibly tough right now. For those who are estranged from their families or have experience of care, there is no one to turn to for support when they cannot afford the rent or find a part-time job.

It has been reported that 60 percent of students across the UK are underperforming in their studies because they have had to take on extra work to support themselves.

With a one-off gift or regular donation, you can help to level the playing field for underrepresented groups; those from a low-income household, but also those with a disability, students who are care-experienced as well as those from an ethnic minority background.

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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 2023.

Last year, almost 68% of people who applied to the York Opportunity Scholarship were unable to receive this support due to a lack of funding. With your help, we can support as many students as possible this year.

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Your support will encourage and inspire the next generation of students.

Sam, York Opportunity Scholar

We currently have funds to provide 30 York Opportunity Scholarships, but we urgently need your support so as many students as possible have the opportunity to achieve their educational goals.

With your help, we can continue to champion students from less advantaged backgrounds at a time when the walls preventing their success are rising ever higher.

“When I received the York Opportunity Scholarship, it was like a pressure metre going down and down. I don’t have to worry constantly. It allows me to be self-sufficient, and it means I can spend more time studying and being social. It has inspired me to say, if I’m ever in a situation where I’m able to give back, I will.”

York Opportunity Scholarship funding

The Scholarship provides financial support of £3,300 over three years of undergraduate study to students, alleviating the pressure that so many students from less advantaged groups face both before and during university.

The cost of living crisis is adding increasing pressure on households which already have limited financial resources.

We’re proud to work with donors who graduated from the University of York since it was first established in 1963. 60 years later, will you help another student at York to succeed?

Yes, I can help

What difference can I make?

Rachel and Sylvia, York Opportunity Scholars

Hundreds of less advantaged students face substantial barriers to their education, and recent challenges have only made it more difficult for people to overcome these differences.

We welcome students from all backgrounds, and with your support we can continue to make sure students have access to the vital support they need; this includes students with disabilities, care leavers, students who are the first in their family to attend university and students from an ethnic minority background.

“Receiving the York Opportunity Scholarship demonstrated to me that my presence was valued by a community that I hadn’t even got to know yet. This vote of confidence in my abilities plays in my mind often - if someone is willing to sponsor me during my time here then surely I should grant myself a decent level of self-belief!”

Sylvia Cullen, York Opportunity Scholar

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The current situation means that, for those students without the financial support of their family, accessing university is incredibly difficult.

Students who are hoping to come to York are facing the tough decision as to whether or not they’ll be able to enrol in September. These are people who have worked extremely hard to achieve the required grades and overcome significant obstacles to get to where they are. They have a determination to succeed and begin their journeys at York, but risk not being able to without your help.

We also know that students who start their university studies without financial support are twice as likely to drop out of university compared to their peers.

York Opportunity Scholars; Sylvia, Stephen, Grace and Nung


The York Opportunity Scholarship means that I’m not falling off into oblivion if I’m struggling for money. It means a lot to know that someone who doesn’t even know me has chosen to give their time and money to support me. I’m motivated to succeed so I can pass that onto those students coming to York in the next 60 years.


Please will you make a gift today and pave the way for a student’s future?

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