‘Stormzy effect’ helps Cambridge University achieve record intake of black students

The intake of black British undergraduates at the university is at an all-time high – and a credit to their hard work and ability

STORMZY EFFECT: The grime artist's Cambridge scholarships have help boost the number of black students at the institution

THE “STORMZY effect” has been heralded as one of the reasons Cambridge University has welcomed a record number of black British undergraduates.

At the beginning of the academic year, a total of 91 black students were admitted to Cambridge, an almost 50 per cent rise from 2018-19. The intake means the total number of black undergraduates at the university has risen to more than 200 for the first time.

Grime artist Stormzy, who is currently on the cover of Time magazine, announced a scholarship for black British students in August 2018.

The scholarship covers the tuition fees and living costs of two students for up to four years of an undergraduate course.

Cambridge University said since the launch of Stormzy’s scholarship it has seen an increase in the number of black students engaging with its outreach activities and enquiring about its courses.

Responding to the news on Twitter, Stormzy, who has been named as a next generation leader by Time magazine, said: “This is amazing – there’s no way that this is because of me alone, big up Cambridge ACS for the incredible work they do they would of played a massive part in this. And big up to Cambridge Uni for their continued efforts.”

Another initiative that has been cited as factors in the increase in black Cambridge undergraduates is the series of films presented by YouTuber and Cambridge graduate Courtney Daniella. 

‘Record rise in black students credit to their hard work and ability’

Senior pro-vice-chancellor for education, professor Graham Virgo, said: “The University has worked hard to get the message out that it is a welcoming place for students regardless of their ethnicity. This record rise in the number of black students is a credit to their hard work and ability: we have not lowered entry standards.”

Virgo added: “It is also a credit to the hard work put in by admissions staff across the University and Colleges in running various outreach activities, and the positive campaigns run by our student societies and external partners. We have achieved this without any reduction in offer levels or provision of preferential treatment.”

Wanipa Ndhlovu, president of the university’s African-Caribbean Society (ACS), welcomed the figures.

Ndhlovu said: “This is really good news and is a testament to the hard work that ACS, as well as the university, has been putting in to break down perceptions. It should send out a signal to other black students that they can find their place at Cambridge and succeed. I hope this will be seen as encouraging to any black student who may have been told Cambridge isn’t the place for them.”

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