Grime artist Stormzy has today (thu) announced he will pay for two black British students to attend the University of Cambridge.
The rapper, whose real name is Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr, has offered to fund tuition fees and provide a maintenance grant for up to four years of an undergraduate course.
Two students will be offered the opportunity this year and two in 2019, under the Stormzy Scholarship.
The 25-year-old announced the plans today at his former school, the Harris City Academy in Croydon, south London, where A-level students are opening their results.
He said: “It’s so important for black students, especially, to be aware that it can 100% be an option to attend a university of this calibre.
“We’re a minority, the playing ground isn’t level for us and it’s vital that all potential students are given the same opportunity.”
The grime MC will fund one scholarship this year, while the other will be funded by YouTube Music – who pledged support after hearing of Stormzy’s plans.
Last year, he donated £9,000 to an Oxford student’s crowdfunder for her to go to Harvard in the US.
Stormzy, who is estimated to be worth about £1.5 million, previously revealed he harboured ambitions of studying at either Oxford or Cambridge when he was at school.
He didn’t go to university, but did get six A*s, three As and three Bs at GCSE.
Stormzy said: “As someone who used to class myself as an academic, I know how tough it is.
“I coasted through GCSEs, came to Harris Crystal Palace Sixth Form and started my A-levels.
“I remember coming to my results day and looking at my results and they shocked me. I didn’t do too great at A-levels.
“That shock to the system showed me that education is a tough thing. When kids are dedicated and they’re smashing it and getting great results, that’s difficult.”
Cambridge has been criticised for not admitting many pupils from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background.
In June, the university asked for help from schools and parents to increase the number of black British students it enrols.
It was after the Financial Times found that some Cambridge colleges didn’t take in any black students from 2012 to 2016.
The university says that it admitted 58 black students on to undergraduate courses in 2017.
To be eligible for this year, applicants must be of black ethnicity and have an offer to study at Cambridge.
The application deadline is 30 August.
For the 2019 entry to Cambridge, students need to apply through Ucas by 15 October.
The students will be selected from a list of applicants by a panel of university staff.