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Entrepreneur funds new scholarships for Black British postgraduates

Oxford’s Black Academic Futures programme has made two fully funded postgraduate scholarships available to Black British students. 

Both course fees and living costs will be covered by the scholarship which will be available across all subject areas. The scholarships also come with on-course mentoring provision for students. The first scholars are expected to begin their studies in the 2023/2024 academic year. 

The programme is supported by the philanthropist and fintech entrepreneur Valerie Moran, who moved to London from Zimbabwe in 2004 to pursue a career in financial technology. In 2019, she was listed in the Financial Times as one of the most influential BAME leaders in tech.

The university has relied upon Moran’s generous philanthropic support to finance Black Academic Futures, which aims to address the under-representation of Black students at Oxford. In the postgraduate sector, the representation of UK-domiciled Black students in Oxford was 3.3% below the average for UK higher education institutions. 

Moran said: “ethnic minority students need support from people like myself to ensure that future generations are given every opportunity to apply and compete for the same job opportunities.”

The programme began in 2020 and has since grown to provide up to 30 full scholarships to Black British students annually. A 27% increase in applications from UK-domiciled Black applicants for full-time postgraduate research degrees in the year 2021/2022 followed the launch of the programme. 

The University has said that “the programme builds on Oxford’s ongoing efforts to increase the number of postgraduate students from under-represented groups more broadly, and reaffirms the University’s commitment to addressing race equality, combatting discrimination and building an inclusive postgraduate community where all members feel welcome, valued and respected”.

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