Historically, Black British students have been under-represented at the University of Oxford. As recently as 2013, just 1.1% of the Oxford student body identified as Black British. While this has been improving in recent years – 3.7% of UK students admitted in 2020 identified as Black – more work remains to be done and New College is committed to continuing this improvement over the coming years.
And it doesn't finish with admissions statistics. Supporting Black British students while they are in Oxford - and afterwards - must also be (and is) a key focus for College.
The Robert Allen Perkins Scholarship
New College Oxford has launched a new scholarship for economically disadvantaged Black British students at Oxford University.
The Robert Allen Perkins Scholarship is open to applicants that both identify as Black British and qualify for an Oxford Bursary – having a household income of under £42,875 – and have already made a successful application to the University of Oxford.
The scholarship will provide a fully-funded place at Oxford for each of the next three years. Successful students will receive not only a full grant to cover the course fees, but also a significant grant towards living costs, with the aim of allowing the recipients to graduate debt free.
Miles Young, Warden of New College
‘The opening of Oxford to Black British students has been an important work in progress in the last few years. It is not just a question of admitting those students, but also helping support the most disadvantaged of them while they are here. The Robert Allen Perkins Scholarship is designed to do exactly that. We are proud to launch it’.
Mufaro Mutsatsa, New College JCR Faith & Ethnic Minorities Officer
"As a Black British student at that college, I am genuinely happy to hear about the introduction of The Robert Allen Perkins Scholarship.
My personal experience has shown me the value of a support base that is both academic and financial during studies at Oxford. One major obstacle in my journey to this university was the fear that I would not fit in to the academic and cultural environment. At the time, I was not exposed to many examples of Black British students from working class backgrounds studying at Oxford, and I did not know of any access programmes that targeted Black students specifically. It was the support of my academic mentors and my Oxford tutors during the interview process that gave me the confidence boost to be able to succeed in my application. Since coming to Oxford, my studies have been further supported by the Crankstart Scholarship, which has helped me to buy essential academic resources and textbooks. I could not have achieved as well as I did in my first year if it was not for this support.
Therefore, I believe that it is really important that we reach out to more Black students from lower income backgrounds, so that talented, capable students will have the confidence to apply. Part of building that confidence is ensuring that candidates from lower income backgrounds can be assured that they will be financially supported in completing their studies to the best of their ability.”
How to apply
Candidates must have made an application to the University of Oxford for an undergraduate course through UCAS by 15 October 2021, and be successful in gaining a place for entry in 2022.
Priority will be given to applicants whose household income is assessed as £27,500 or less. Applicants with a household income of between £27,500 and £42,875 may also apply.
Once candidates have received an offer letter from their College they must supply a statement of between 500 and 1,000 words explaining why the scholarship would be beneficial to your studies at Oxford, how it would help you to achieve your academic goals, and how your education would be of future benefit to your community and/or society. This should be emailed to email@example.com
The selection process will be undertaken in spring 2022 and applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application in summer 2022.
Find out more about the Robert Allen Perkins Scholarship.
Target Oxbridge is a programme which seeks to help academically gifted, black British students with their applications to Oxford and Cambridge. Students on the scheme will have regular contact with a BME Oxbridge graduate, attend academic sessions and receive coaching on the various stages of the Oxbridge application process.
So far, the programme has helped over 200 students to secure offers from Oxford or Cambridge.
At New College, we are committed to increasing the number of Black British students both at the College and at the University. We therefore contribute to the funding of the programme, and are one of the host Colleges for its Easter residential. We are very keen to receive applications from candidates who have been through the programme.
New College’s annual BAME Dinner is a celebration of our current and former students that identify as Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic.
First held in 2017, the dinner is an opportunity for BAME members to make connections, share experiences and be recognised as a hugely important part of College life.
Equality & Diversity Essay Competition
In 2019, New College launched an Equality and Diversity Essay Competition, seeking to promote awareness of Equality and Diversity issues.
The competition asks our current students and those from our Step Up partner schools to write a 2,000 word essay on their chosen question from the year’s overall topic. The inaugural competition focused on Afro-Caribbean politics and was won by Kofi from Hatcham College, while last year’s focused on LGBTQ+.
Step Up programme
New College is dedicated to working with students from under-represented groups. In 2017, we launched our Outreach initiative, Step Up - a sustained contact programme, supporting students from under-represented groups to fully consider their options, build skills, and create an effective university application.
Our partner schools all have a high proportion of students from groups that are currently under-represented at the University of Oxford – including BAME and Black British students. With each academic year, the programme has expanded and we are extremely excited to now be working with 30 partner schools from all over the country.