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In partnership with Ulster University, Choice Housing has launched a new scholarship scheme aimed at supporting up to 15 students who face barriers to participating in higher education. The ‘Choice Scholarships’ will provide much needed support to those who face financial, social and logistical barriers to furthering their education, namely access to an undergraduate course at Ulster University.

The initiative, which will run for the next five years, commencing from this term, will provide financial assistance to three students per year for the lifetime of the project. The partnership is aimed at encouraging those who are less likely to progress to higher education and will also contribute towards creating a fairer society and supporting economic growth.

Lawrence Jackson, Group Director of Corporate Services for Choice said:

“As part of our commitment to local communities, we are investing and developing thriving communities, using housing as a foundation for transforming people’s lives.  This commitment goes beyond the provision of housing, identifying the wider need of people and the positive impact they can have in their local communities.

“Working with Ulster University who share many of the same values as Choice, can make a significant contribution to the future of young people, offering them opportunities that they may not otherwise be able to access”.

Choice has committed to donating a total of £15,000 - £3,000 per annum (£1,000 per student) to the University in support of the chosen undergraduate students who meet widening access and participation criteria established by Ulster University. Scholars’ names will be selected at random from those who are eligible and will formally receive their scholarships at the Ulster University Scholarships and Awards Ceremony in December 2019.

Professor Brian Murphy, Director of Access Digital and Distributed Learning at Ulster University added:

“We are delighted to be partnering with Choice Housing in this initiative.  It will help sustain our substantial record on participation in higher education – a vital element of the ethos of Ulster University.  As Northern Ireland’s civic university we are committed to providing learning opportunities for those who are most able to achieve but are least likely to participate. Widening access in NI often goes hand-in-glove with commuting from home, so it is poignant that a leading housing association is making this contribution.”

Choice is one of the largest independent housing associations in Northern Ireland, delivering much more than housing with a vision that centres on transforming lives and building thriving communities.