A NEW foundation year is designed to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds at the University of Oxford.

The ‘Astrophoria Foundation Year’ has been wholly funded by an anonymous donor, and for now, is open to all UK state school students with ‘significant academic potential, but who have experienced severe personal disadvantage or a disrupted education’.

The foundation year will be offer places for up to 50 students a year, with tuition fees, accommodation costs and living expenses covered.

The anonymous funder is described as a ‘longstanding university donor’.

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Professor Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of the Astrophoria Foundation Year, which will have a transformative impact on the lives of the smartest students who have experienced grave disadvantage.

“I am deeply grateful to the generous donor who shares our belief in the power of education and our commitment to identifying and nurturing talent.”

Students will study one of four foundation courses, with 10 colleges taking part in the first year of the new initiative.

By the end of the year, students are expected to have developed the academic skills for an undergraduate degree.

Students can submit applications from September 6 via UCAS, with the first cohort set to start in October 2023.  

The university’s Annual Admissions Statistical Report, released earlier this month, shows that 21 per cent of Oxford’s undergraduate intake in 2021 came from disadvantaged, underrepresented backgrounds – rising from 13 per cent four years ago and nearing the university’s target of 25 per cent.

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