Going for Gold: University of Bath’s new scholarships move beyond financial support

A unique new scholarship from the University of Bath gives students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to build social and cultural capital as well as offering increased financial support during their studies.

The Gold Scholarship Programme (GSP) features a full personal development programme including support with placements and internships, alumni mentoring and a commitment to undertake 50 hours of volunteering per year, as well as a £5,000 grant per year of study.

The scholarship is partly a response to both the Government’s decision to replace grants with loans for the poorest students, and to research showing that graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds go on to earn less than peers from high-income families even when studying the same course at the same institution.

A lack of financial, social and cultural capital may account for this discrepancy and so the GSP will aim to ensure that its scholars are equipped with the funding, skills, knowledge, experience and social capital needed to maximise their Bath experience and succeed in the graduate job market or postgraduate study.

The financial support from the GSP will also reduce the need for recipients to take on low-paid work during their studies. University of Bath research shows current bursaries are used to cover essential outgoings such as accommodation and food.

Students from households with an income of £22,000 or below will be eligible to apply for the GSP, which will run alongside existing bursary and scholarship schemes at University of Bath.

Mike Nicholson, Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at University of Bath, said: “We know that money isn’t the only factor that inhibits students’ success.

“The real strength of this programme will be the opportunities to develop skills, experiences and networks that will let them get the most of their studies and prepare them for life after university.”

Donor gifts will be match-funded by the University to finance the GSP. It will be available for three years of study, and support will also be available to students to take on an unpaid placement or complete an integrated masters year.

Scholars will be offered the chance to attend personal development events and training sessions, be given individual support with work placements and internships, receive alumni mentoring, and access to pastoral support networks. The aim is to increase knowledge and understanding of routes into employment as well as to develop a sense of community and belonging at the University among a group which can be more likely to feel isolated.

The GSP will run alongside existing bursaries and scholarships at University of Bath, including the University Bursary scheme which provides £3,000 per year to eligible students from households with low incomes.

The University of Bath is ranked as the best in the south west for graduate employment by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017, and is one of the UK’s top 10 universities targeted by top graduate employers according to the High Fliers The Graduate Market in 2017 report.

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