There currently exists an historic under-representation of Black British students at the University of Cambridge and Churchill College. Widening participation work in this area is being carried out at both a University and College level but more needs to be done.

Between 2020 and 2022, Home students declaring their ethnicity as Black or Black British – Caribbean, Black or Black British – African, or Other Black background, made up just 3.1% of total Home acceptances to Churchill, according to the University’s application statistics. The Black student population at Churchill College has increased to 4.5% (2021 – 2023) thanks to the widening participation work that is being carried out in this area at University and College levels. Thanks to your support of schemes such as the Black Students’ Support Fund and the ISLA Award at Churchill College, we can continue to strive towards 5% which would be representative of the national population aged 16-24 (as reported in the 2021 census, covering England and Wales). You can read more about the College’s Widening Participation work here.

Working harder to address this historic under-representation is an urgent priority. Our black students have formed an integral part of our student community, and have been great successes at Cambridge and beyond. Increasing the diversity of student intake will help ensure the contribution of insights from the widest range of backgrounds, heritages and standpoints.

The Black Students’ Support Fund

In order to optimise applications to Churchill from this under-represented group of students, the College is seeking to raise enough funds to set up an endowed fund of at least £100,000. This endowed fund will support UK students of Black African and African-Caribbean heritage by providing means-tested bursaries for undergraduates, as part of the Cambridge Bursary scheme, or an MPhil Studentship. Support may be awarded to both categories ie undergraduate bursaries and an MPhil Studentship, dependent on the level of income generated by the fund.

The Bursary or studentship will be open to all UK students of black African and African-Caribbean heritage at Churchill College. Undergraduate bursaries will be funded for up to four years, depending on the length of the course, and the MPhil studentship will be awarded on the basis of academic merit to students who otherwise would struggle to fund a Master’s degree and will normally be provided for one year.

Award-holders will also be invited to meet major supporters of this fund in the College at a social event, normally in the Lent term, on an annual or two-yearly basis.