Pembroke JCR has voted to scrap funding for an overseas scholarship in favour of greater funding to encourage state-school access.

The JCR Access Fund will now receive the same level of funding as the Entz Fund.

Chris Bennetts, Pembroke JCR President, said, “I’m delighted that the JCR voted so overwhelmingly to adopt the changes; widening access is such an important issue at Pembroke, and across Oxford, and I’m hopeful that the new fund will allow the JCR to make a genuine difference in this area.”

“Last term, we voted to create a new ‘access rep’ position on the JCR committee. This was part of the JCR’s emphasis on promoting the broadening of access and admissions.

“We felt it was vital that the new access rep had a budget in order to do their job effectively,” Bennetts added.

To allow for the changes the Overseas Scholar fund, which provides funding for the college to recruit an international student who otherwise would not be able to study at Oxford, has been withdrawn.
Bennetts defended the move, adding that, “I think the JCR’s money will be better spent on an access budget, which could potentially help hundreds of prospective students, rather than sustaining the overseas scholar fund which, whilst laudable, is a drain on the JCR’s resources.”

Coralie Young, the Pembroke Access Rep, said, “The college currently has quite a low state school: private school ratio, and the JCR are keen to improve this.

“The college itself has undertaken a new access initiative in Hackney, and we would hope to further this, and build up links with schools in other deprived areas.

“Plans for the money include organising school visits (sixth formers coming to Pembroke, as well as current students speaking at local schools during the holidays.)

“Pembroke is quite a small college that many people don’t really hear much about, and is therefore often over-looked by potential applicants. By visiting schools to speak, and inviting sixth formers here, we hope to be able to dispel many of the myths surrounding an Oxford application at the same time as promoting Pembroke as state-school friendly,” she continued.

James Lamming, OUSU’s Vice President  for Access and Academic Affairs, said that he supported the access drive.

He said, “Students are the best ambassadors in the University, and their efforts in publicising their experiences are vital in tackling the myths many hold about Oxford. 

“It is vital that students work in partnership with the University to best use all our resources to tackle access: it remains a problem too great for any one group to solve alone.”
by Rom Pomfret, Deputy News Editor