Oxford University has announced today the creation of a scholarship for undergraduate students of Black African and Caribbean heritage.

The scholarship will be funded in its entirety by Arlan Hamilton, who announced the news on Twitter, saying: “It’s my sincere pleasure to announce the Oxford-Arlan Hamilton & Earline Butler Sims Scholarship for Black scholars”.

Hamilton is a tech entrepreneur, and founder of Backstage Capital, a fund which invests in startups of women, people of colour, and the LGBTQ+ community.  

The scholarship will offer a full scholarship to cover fees and living costs for one undergraduate student per year for three years beginning in 2020. Each beneficiary will also be given an internship grant of £3,000 to enhance their employability. 

Candidates will be selected using indicators of disadvantage. They must submit a statement outlining why the scholarship would be beneficial, and how it would help them to achieve their academic goals.

In discussing her aims for the scholarship, Hamilton said: “I just really want someone who didn’t, or wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to this University, to do so. I want them to be truly nurtured and able to focus on themselves, instead of worrying about the things, that perhaps, I have had to worry about in the past – like how you are going to pay your rent, while trying to get an education? I want them to be able to focus on the things that fuel and give them life.” 

Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, Professor Martin Williams, said: “I am delighted that Arlan has chosen Oxford for this generous gift. Finance should not be a barrier to opportunity or education, and I hope that this announcement reminds Black students across the country that there are opportunities for them at the University.”