Credit: John Cairns
Oxford University’s "amazing", "impactful" and "unforgettable" UNIQ spring and summer schools are to welcome an extra 500 students every year. UNIQ is expanding by more than 50%, giving even more pupils from under-privileged backgrounds a greater chance of success in getting an Oxford place.
From next year, UNIQ’s intake will rise from around 850 A-Level state school students to 1,350 a year. Each student gets to spend a week at Oxford, studying their chosen subject, experiencing undergraduate life at first hand and learning how to make the best possible university application.
UNIQ is already the largest school of its kind offered by a single UK university. It is also one of the most effective at transforming a student’s chances of success. UNIQ students now have a 34% chance of successfully applying to Oxford, compared to the average UK rate of about 20%.
UNIQ’s expansion will be funded from the generous donation made to Oxford by the businessman and philanthropist Sir Michael Moritz and his wife, the novelist Harriet Heyman. At the same time, the Moritz-Heyman Scholarship Programme for undergraduates from the lowest income families, which the couple fund, will also expand.
Thank you for an amazing time. I really enjoyed it and got a real insight into what life is like at Oxford and I am much more confident about applying, I was previously not considering applying at all because I thought that chances of me getting in were too low, but speaking to the UNIQ ambassadors has made me realise that getting into Oxford is possible
a UNIQ Medicine student
Since launching in 2010, UNIQ has helped more than 5,500 students learn about University life. Priority is given to students from low socio-economic status backgrounds and areas with low progression to higher education. Attending the schools significantly boosts their chances of a place at Oxford. Some 1250 of them have since come to the University as undergraduates and Oxford now offers around one UK undergraduate place in 18 to UNIQ graduates.
The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Louise Richardson, said: "UNIQ is a wonderful example of what can happen when bright students are given the chance to realise their potential, increase their confidence and raise their aspirations. These 500 extra places will enable even more young women and men to see for themselves that an Oxford education is within their reach."
UNIQ offers first year A-Level students the chance to fully immerse themselves in Oxford undergraduate life. They follow a full programme of study, taught by top Oxford academics, including lectures, tutorials and lab sessions in their chosen subject. Each student gets to stay at an Oxford college, living and socialising with current undergraduates who can explain what University life is really like. Workshops throughout the week give advice on the Oxford admissions process and how best to apply.
...UNIQ taught me a lot about myself and increased my confidence. I would definitely recommend anyone I know to apply!
a UNIQ Law student
The increased places come as Oxford publishes its first-ever Annual Admissions Statistical Report. The report details the progress the University has made in admitting students from different communities, and the areas where it still has work to do. The University is launching a campaign to promote the extra UNIQ places among communities highlighted in the report as areas where Oxford undergraduates are under-represented.
Previous UNIQ students have spoken of the insights it gave and how it transformed their confidence. One of last year’s Law students commented: "I have never really aspired to go to Oxford because I always thought I didn’t have the potential, but UNIQ taught me a lot about myself and increased my confidence. I would definitely recommend anyone I know to apply!"
On top of the extra spring and summer school places, the University is also piloting UNIQ Digital. Students will be able to stay in touch with the University after their week at Oxford, receiving on-line mentoring, encouragement and advice in the build-up to making their applications. UNIQ Digital will also be available to a further 1,000 students who missed out on a school place.
The Moritz-Heyman Scholarship Programme will be expanded from the start of the new academic year, in autumn 2018. Since starting in 2012, the Programme has offered financial support to more than 800 students, including a bursary to cover living costs and a £3,000 fee reduction every year. The Scholarship has previously been available to up to 175 students annually but will now expand to cover every new student from a UK household earning £16,000 a year or less. An extra 50 students are expected to benefit on average each year as a result.
Sir Michael Moritz said: "We’re delighted that our £75m gift, coupled with matched funding of £75m from the University, has been able to generate additional funds to support an expanded UNIQ scheme. UNIQ has an outstanding track record in lifting the success rate of applicants to Oxford from disadvantaged backgrounds, exactly the groups that our gift is aimed at. We’re equally pleased to see the Moritz-Heyman Scholarships expand to build on the success of the last six years and become available to all UK students from households with an annual income of £16,000 or less."