Unite Foundation

Reviewing our 2019 application cycle…

Our application window was open from New Year’s Day 2019 until mid-June. Applications come to us from our university partners because this supports and encourages the building of relationships between university and potential scholar, aids transition and creates a sense of belonging for students.

We were pleased to learn that over half of our university partners said that they became aware of care leaver and estranged incoming students due to the scheme, so it is evident that we are adding tangible value to their outreach and widening participation agenda. Further to this, a third of university partners said that existing students declared their status for the first time as a result of applying for the scheme. We’re reaching the parts that others can’t reach! We are, once again, oversubscribed having received 216 eligible applications for our 90 awards. This is a 20% increase in demand from the 2018/19 cycle.

The general profile of our applicants, for example care leaver or estranged, new student or existing student did not vary a great deal from last year. The average age of a first year Foundation scholar reflects comparable national data, where an older entry point is not unusual due to disrupted schooling and preventative life events. This something for us to consider when welcoming comparatively mature students into student halls. The graph below shows the ages of our 2019 first year scholarship applicants…

There is an increase in young people being aware of the scheme from sources other than their chosen university and this underpins the comments made by university partners about being introduced to new students through us. The question must therefore be asked: Are scholarships and bursaries acting as a primary gateway for Widening Participation, emerging cohort identification and subsequent support?

We track who contacts us to ask about the scholarship and have found that it’s predominantly young people themselves, who made 75% of the total enquiries for the 19/20 cycle. This is an increase from 70% for the 18/19 cycle. A sign of independence? And perhaps no choice for those that are estranged, however we will continue to get our message out to stakeholder adults in schools and at social services but also to the general public in order to raise awareness of what the scholarship has to offer.