British grime artist Stormzy has announced that he is funding two scholarships for black students attending the University of Cambridge. This scholarship, known as the ‘Stormzy Scholarship,’ will fully cover tuition fees and provide a maintenance grant for up to four years of undergraduate study.

The first two students will start their courses at the beginning of the new academic year this October with two further students selected for 2019 entry.

This year’s entries will be self-funded by Stormzy – however, he hopes to engage more support from additional investors to become part of the scheme. Double BRIT-Award winner Stormzy is a musician and a spokesman of black empowerment and social activism. He has been praised for tackling social justice, including advocating on behalf of victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Speaking on Thursday at his former school, the Harris City Academy in South London, where A-level students were opening their results, Stormzy told BBC Breakfast: “If you’re academically brilliant, don’t think [that] because you come from a certain community that studying at one of the highest educational institutions in the world isn’t possible.”

“There are so many young black kids all over the country who have the level of academic excellence to study at a university such as Cambridge – however, we are still under-represented at leading universities. We, as a minority, have so many examples of black students who have excelled at every level of education throughout the years… and if funding is one of the barriers, then we can work towards breaking that barrier down.”

Although the University of Cambridge is committed to more diversity, only 58 black students were accepted into the university in 2017, their largest number ever. It was also found that some Cambridge colleges admitted no black students or accepted as few as one a year between 2012 and 2016. Furthermore, only 15 black men were admitted, making up 0.3 percent of the total students admitted (in comparison to the 73 percent of admitted students being white men).

Cambridge’s African and Caribbean Societies host an annual access conference for A-level and International Baccalaureate students in order to encourage more black students to apply. Cambridge student YouTubers such as Courtney DaniellaIbz Mo and Chiedza Matsvai even frequently discuss the experiences of being people of color at Cambridge and implore people of color to apply to the university.

Photo: University of Cambridge

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