Jesus College: Funding boost for Welsh student hopefuls

Jesus College Image copyright Jesus College
Image caption Jesus College is informally known as Oxford's Welsh college

A mystery benefactor has made a "significant donation" to an Oxford college's programme which encourages applications from Welsh students.

The gift of £625,000 was made by a Jesus College alumnus who wishes to remain anonymous.

Commonly known as Oxford's Welsh college, it supports a scheme to attract students from state schools.

The Seren network was set up by the Welsh Government in November 2015 to support high-achieving teenagers.

It was founded following a decline in the number of applications to Oxbridge by Welsh candidates.

The donation will secure the college's "flagship access intervention scheme", the Jesus-Seren summer school programme, for the foreseeable future.

College principal, Sir Nigel Shadbolt, said: "The programme has been successful in attracting Welsh applicants from state schools to Oxford, with a higher than usual percentage being awarded a place.

"Our donor has chosen to endow a number of places at the summer school in perpetuity. This is a hugely successful way of widening access and we hope that others might consider helping."

The Welsh education minister, Kirsty Williams, added: "This significant and generous donation will ensure that future leaders from Wales will be provided with dedicated and bespoke support at the Welsh college at Oxford for many years to come."

Since 2017, Jesus College has been working with the Welsh Government to deliver an all-expenses-paid summer school for state school students.

It says of the 74 participants in the 2018 summer school, 41 applied to Oxford, 30 were shortlisted, and 11 have been offered a place - including one for Jesus College.

On its own, the summer school generated 10% of all applications received from Wales to Oxford.

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns commented: "This investment will enable more Welsh students to benefit from an important insight into life at Oxford University, where Welsh students have always played a crucial part in the academic and sporting outlook of the institution."

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