A UNIVERSITY of Oxford college has announced a new bursary scheme for Welsh undergraduate students.

The Michael Sheen Bursary has been developed in collaboration with the famous Welsh actor, and will support students from across Wales.

Mr Sheen starred as football manager Brian Clough in The Damned United, and more recently as Chris Tarrant in the ITV show Quiz.

He also appears in the comedy Staged, alongside David Tennant, with the BBC series written by Oxford theatre and film producers Simon Evans and Phin Glynn.

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Recipients of the Michael Sheen Bursary will be means tested, based primarily on household income criteria.

Mr Sheen said: “Where you come from and the financial circumstances of your background should not be a barrier to those of talent and excellence receiving much-needed support and development.

“Jesus College, Oxford has had a long and fruitful relationship to Wales since its founding in 1571 and it gives me great pleasure to use what resources I have to help young Welsh students of real potential get the opportunities for learning there that they deserve as much as anyone else.

“I hope that these bursaries not only make it possible for Welsh students to take advantage of the educational possibilities at Jesus but also help to encourage a sense of what is possible for young Welsh people generally.”

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Alexandra Lumbers, academic director at Jesus College, added: “Our access programmes are going a long way in encouraging and enabling academically gifted young people from Wales to come to the university, but disadvantaged students can face financial inequalities that create a barrier to embracing the full benefit that an Oxford education can offer. 

“The Michael Sheen Bursary will provide a tremendous opportunity to support Welsh students at Jesus College, making their experience more equitable, and reassuring them that Oxford is for everyone, regardless of background.”

Nigel Shadbolt, Jesus College principal, said: “We are proud of our strong historical connection with the people of Wales, and the huge progress that has been made both within Jesus College and the wider university to encourage and support Welsh students to apply to Oxford.

“The Michael Sheen Bursary will drive this work forward and demonstrates a continued commitment to providing access and equity for all.

“We are hugely grateful to Michael for this generous support, which will positively impact the lives and futures of some of our more disadvantaged Welsh students.” 

Applications will open in the autumn term this year.