Colleges are invited to apply for funding for outreach programmes aimed at prospective students from backgrounds under-represented at Cambridge, including asylum seekers or refugees, those eligible for free school meals, with experience of the care sector, or from areas with relatively low participation in higher education.
The Isaac Newton Trust Widening Participation and Induction Fund (WPIF) offers up to £50,000 per College, per academic year. The current round closes on 1 June, and the subsequent round in February 2024.
Since the £1.3m Fund was established by Trinity in March 2022 to tackle educational disadvantages worsened by the COVID pandemic, it has granted more than £225,000 to 18 Cambridge Colleges for projects to inform and engage prospective students about Cambridge and programmes to prepare offer holders for study at the University.
Examples of initiatives supported by the Fund include an interdisciplinary residential programme devised by Clare College and the Museum of Zoology (website pictured above.)
In April this year, Cambridge Future Museum Voices brought together 18 Year 12 students to curate an exhibition exploring the effects of climate change, which will open at the Museum in September.
Admissions Director at Trinity, Dr Glen Rangwala, said:
The WPIF was set up with the specific aim of helping to address educational disadvantages that have been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, particularly those in university admissions and with the integration of new students into higher education. The Fund has also helped to foster other innovative ideas to widening participation and induction.
This is an opportunity for Colleges to deliver new and exciting ideas which otherwise would not be funded. Some of the most creative proposals so far include collaboration between institutions across Cambridge, and in particular Colleges working with faculties, research institutes and museums.
WPIF supported Robinson College’s Pegasus Scholars Programme for prospective students (pictured above), whose feedback was positive.
I am so glad I took part in this programme and would recommend it for anyone who, like me, was feeling nervous about studying at Cambridge,’ said one participant. ‘Most of all, I learned that there were other people like me going to the University from all different kinds of backgrounds.
Applications will be considered by the panel, which comprises INT Trustee, Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe; Chair of the Senior Tutors’ Committee, Dr Marina Frasca-Spada; Head of Widening Participation and Regional Collaboration at Cambridge, Tom Levinson; Admissions Director at Trinity, Dr Glen Rangwala; and Co-Chair of the Admissions Forum, Dr Emily Tomlinson.