Some of Sidney’s most generous supporters have come together with the wider Collegiate University to provide additional bursary support for an increased number of undergraduates from October 2021.

The Harding Challenge, established by David and Claudia Harding as part of their £100 million gift to Cambridge and St Catharine’s College in February 2019, was designed to underpin this forthcoming expansion in bursary provision across all Colleges. Sidney is enormously grateful to its bursary donors whose generosity will be covering a large proportion of the additional financial support to be offered to eligible Sidney students.

Under the new scheme, bursaries of up to £3,500 per year will be provided for students from households with an assessed family income of up to £62,215, with a formal application no longer required. Previously students were offered support if their assessed family income was less than £42,620. As before, the new bursaries will be tapered so those with a lower family income will receive more. Awards will be further enhanced for students who join from local authority care or who are estranged from their families. In addition, the scheme will include a supplementary award of £1,000 per year to all low-income students who qualified for free school meals, contributing to a total bursary of £4,500 in each year of their undergraduate studies.

Sidney’s Master, Prof Richard Penty, commented: ”Sidney Sussex is pleased to be able to expand its bursary offering to students at a time of financial hardship for many.  This simply would not have been possible without the generosity of our alumni and supporters, as well as funding from the Harding Challenge. It will make a great difference to the experience of Cambridge and Sidney that the recipients will receive.”

The University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor, Prof Stephen J Toope, said: “This new enhanced bursary scheme, which wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of donors, will help to ease some of our students' financial worries. The scheme’s launch means far more students will be eligible for support. This is particularly relevant now, at a time when many families’ incomes have been affected adversely by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The wonderful support for bursaries provided by our alumni and friends as well as a recent significant donation enabling Sidney to launch a major new wellbeing programme, provide two examples of the very many ways in which the generosity of the College’s benefactors is critical to our ability to provide the transformational education to which we aspire.

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