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A University of Opportunity


is the average monthly rent for students in York, making it the 8th most expensive city in the UK for student renters.

55% of students have at least one job

an increase of 10% in the last year alone. For many, work is not about experience but survival.

22/23 saw a record 607

applications for hardship scholarships. Sadly, funding could only support 150 of those.

What is the University of Opportunity?

The University of Opportunity is a new philanthropic initiative launched in 2024. 

It encompasses our big ambition to be the university of opportunity in the UK, where there are no gaps to access, success, award and progression for any student regardless of their circumstance. A place where every student knows they belong and can thrive by embracing their differences, rather than being disadvantaged because of them. 
This new flexible approach will allow us to pivot and adapt to provide support to students where they need it most, when they need it most.
university of opportunity scholar stood outside

Our ambition is to remove all the gaps in support that students experience within:

  • Access: Getting to university
  • Success: Thriving whilst here
  • Award: Achieving the best possible degree outcome
  • Progression: Opportunities post-graduation


Why do we need this?

Sara, 3rd year, BA English and Related Literature

The increased cost of living is hitting all students hard, especially those from low-income families or those facing multiple barriers  to their education. Many are juggling multiple jobs and going without essential items to keep afloat, often to the detriment of their learning. Those worst affected don’t have a support network or family to turn to when they need help the most. Without further intervention we risk pricing out some of our students entirely; many will be at risk of non-continuation. 

We do not accept this.

Seeing how proactive the York community is in finding more flexible ways of reaching out to students through the University of Opportunity Fund is extraordinary. I am so proud to be a part of it. It’s really nice to see that people genuinely care about students like me.

Sara, 3rd year, BA English and Related Literature

Beulah is one of those students who faced significant barriers in getting to and thriving at York.

Throughout her teenage years, Beulah had been a carer for her mother and grew up knowing that her mum had a terminal illness.

Beulah was able to continue with her studies and successfully complete her Master’s degree, but she often had to rely on finding the support she needed herself. The help available to Beulah wasn’t flexible enough to support her specific needs. Other students facing similar challenges may not be able to continue with their studies in the way that Beulah did.

We do not accept this.

I started in September and then my mother died just after Halloween. I had my mother’s funeral the week one of my essay drafts was due. It was a financial stress as well - the train ticket home was about £90. I had no choice but to borrow money. Then there are the unexpected expenses, I realised ‘I don’t have anything to wear to a funeral’. It isn’t something you plan for.

Beulah, MA in Medieval Studies, 2023 York Graduate

Every year, hundreds of students like Beulah face a very difficult decision as to whether or not they can carry on with their education.

Coming from a less advantaged background or having to overcome an unexpected challenge in your life shouldn't be a barrier to education for students at York.

Will you consider making a donation today to close the gaps for students like Beulah and help York to become the University of Opportunity?

Donate today

The generous alumni community allowed me to study at York as I was only really able to attend because I got a scholarship. What happens when something truly odd happens? What support is available for you?

Beulah, MA in Medieval Studies, 2023 York Graduate

York should be a university where there are no gaps to access, success, award, and progression for any student. Together, we can become the University of Opportunity, a university where every student knows they belong and can thrive by embracing their differences.

Donate now