Page content

Local first-generation students are being encouraged to apply for an Ulster University Community Scholarship, a fund set up by the University to widen access to higher education by removing the financial barriers for those with potential.

These life-changing scholarships are open to students who are the first in their family to attend university and have been supported by a £100,000 donation from the Garfield Weston Foundation and will help students who faced barriers to education to realise their ambitions and reach their full potential.

Ethan Houston, a first year Games Design student at Ulster University received one of the inaugural scholarships last year, commented:

School was a very difficult time for me. I was bullied from a young age, and this took a huge toll on my mental health, it was a hard challenge for me to overcome. Things got easier when I started to study IT at Northern Regional College.  I was diagnosed with dyslexia and got the support I so badly needed. I am an unpaid carer for both my mother and grandmother, so juggled my studies with these caring responsibilities. I am so proud to have excelled in my course to gain entry to university and am now loving my course so far. I am so grateful for this scholarship. Not only will it significantly help alleviate the financial burden that comes with being a student, but it also makes me so proud to have been selected. It is a reminder of all that I have overcome and achieved to get me where I am today.

Last year support from our donors helped Ulster University provide life-changing scholarships to 250 students. But the impact of the pandemic and now the increase in living costs means that such support is more important than ever.

In response to this, Caroline Armstrong, Deputy Director of Fundraising at Ulster University plans to double the number of scholarships available over the next five years:

We hear directly from students like Ethan every day about the impact scholarships have on creating access to education.  Fundraising for scholarships is a priority and we will continue to work closely with our donors who want to ensure those students from our most disadvantaged communities can access a higher education, have the best academic experience which in turn impacts on graduate outcomes, and in the long-term, on social mobility. We are so grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation for providing this support. Support like this really does transform lives.

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation commented

Education plays a critical role in breaking cycles of disadvantage. We are delighted to partner with Ulster University for the first time to support more young people with potential, but who have faced educational and other barriers to access a higher education. These scholarships remove the financial barriers which may otherwise prevent talented students from progressing to university, helping to level the field for them and create equity of opportunity.

Further details on the Ulster University Community Scholarships can be found on our website with applications closing on 24th June 2022.