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Warwick announces new £10 million Warwick Scholars programme for up to 500 Midlands young people each year

Year 12 students taking part in a University of Warwick Summer School, 2018The University of Warwick announced today (Tuesday 14th May 2019) a transformational new £10 million social mobility programme - Warwick Scholars - that aims to change the lives of hundreds of Midlands young people who have the potential to study at Warwick, one of the world’s top 100 ranked universities, but who may face social or economic barriers to entering Warwick.


The new Warwick Scholars programme aims to remove educational, financial and social barriers to a Warwick education and focuses on prospective students from disadvantaged backgrounds or groups under-represented in higher education within a 30 mile commute of Warwick’s main campus in Coventry and Warwickshire. The new programme is forecast to cost Warwick almost £10 million a year to run when running at full capacity and will include:

  • Admission Offers that can be up to 4 grades below Warwick’s standard A level offer
  • A 50% tuition fee discount per year of study and a means-tested enhanced bursary of £2,000 – a total package worth up to £19,500 per student over three years of study or up to £26,000 for 4 year degree programme. Students may also be able to gain a further Warwick Undergraduate Bursary which could mean a total package of up to £5000 a year.
  • A package of ongoing support measures before & during each young person’s time at Warwick.

Warwick Scholars will provide participants with an opportunity to reach their full academic potential and prepare for the transition to Warwick, achieving the best possible A Level grades. This will be followed by enhanced support and opportunities when they become students at Warwick, facilitating positive outcomes during their university experience and beyond.

Each potential Warwick Scholar will be identified by teachers and advisers as academically able to succeed in gaining a place at Warwick and flourishing as a university student, and will need to meet an academic eligibility criterion based on their GCSE grade profile. The programme is open to UK based students eligible for home fees who are attending state school sixth forms and colleges and live within a 30 mile commute to the University’s main campus. This incorporates Coventry and Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, much of the Combined West Midlands Authority and extends into the East Midlands as far as Leicester. Applicants to the programme who have been in local authority care for a minimum of three months during the last 15 years, or are currently resident in supported accommodation, will be prioritised, all other applicants will need to meet at least two of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Completed Key Stage 4 studies at and/or currently attend a local school with below the national average Key Stage 4 performance or a local school/college where performance at Key Stage 5 falls within the bottom 40%)
  • Live in a neighbourhood where the proportion of students going into higher education is low or an area which has a high level of deprivation
  • Have been in receipt of or eligible for Free School Meals within the last 6 years
  • Will be the first generation in their family to attend university (not including siblings)
  • Have experienced significant extenuating circumstances that have had (or are having) a detrimental effect on academic attainment e.g. is a young carer, has suffered from long term illness requiring time out of education, has a disability or specific learning difficulty

The full programme of support for each Warwick Scholar will in fact start from the second half of Year 12 in school and will continue throughout their studies at Warwick. Over five years the participants in the programme will benefit from:

  • Mentoring from current Warwick undergraduate students.
  • A 3-day residential to kick-start their Year 13 studies, followed by a sustained programme of academic enrichment culminating in a revision boot camp at Easter, all with the focus on achieving the best possible grades.
  • Regular interaction with the academic department to which they will be applying during two further multi-day academic insight events, designed to upskill the participants and improve their attainment at A Level whilst preparing them for degree level study.
  • 1:1 tuition from undergraduate students to improve A Level attainment.
  • Study skills support including online provision.
  • Information advice and guidance covering all aspects of the student lifecycle from application to graduation.
  • Priority access to careers support including skills development, and support with work experience and internships.
  • Belonging to a community of peers who can support one another in exploring all that Warwick has to offer and bridging the gap between school and university.
  • Dedicated staff who will guide them through their studies by sign-posting opportunities and experiences to enable them to grow, thrive and succeed as students and in their future careers.

The first Year 12 students to participate in the scheme will be identified in the summer of 2019 and the first entrants to Warwick will be in 2020. When running at full capacity the programme is forecast to represent an investment by Warwick of almost £10 million per year in fee discounts and the bursaries.

Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft said:

“This new Warwick model will be a truly transformational social mobility programme, supporting students to get in, get on and give back. It will also demonstrate our commitment to maximising the ability of young people from our own local region to directly benefit from being part of one of the world’s top 100 universities.”

“By focusing on our local region we not only give something significant back to our community it is also one of the most effective ways of targeting and reaching young people who have the ability to benefit from a leading university but face other social or economic barriers.”

The research is clear that a significant proportion of widening participation learners choose to attend a university local to where they live, and additional research from the Sutton Trust tells says that over three times more students in the lowest economic group commute from home to university than do so in the highest.

Professor Christopher Hughes, the University of Warwick’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) said:

“This programme is a minimum 5-year investment in its participants. Through our lifecycle approach, we will work with students from initial interest in Warwick, through application and enrolment, throughout their studies and into employment or further study, enhancing their access to and participation in opportunities such as study abroad, careers and skills development and work experience and internships.”

Paul Blagburn, Head of Widening Participation at the University of Warwick said:

“This new programme will inspire some of the brightest minds to consider and have confidence in applying and securing a place at Warwick, including supporting those students to thrive and succeed throughout their Warwick journey.

”Our commitment will be dedicated to removing educational, social and economic barriers to a Warwick education where we will work in partnership with local schools to ensure that targeted students that have demonstrated academic ability, often in challenging circumstances, reach their full potential.“

For further information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Media Relations
University of Warwick
Tel office: 024 76523708 UK +44 (0)24 76523708 International
Mobile/Cell: 07767 655860 UK +44 (0)7767 655860 International

PJD 14th May 2019