Anonymous donor gives £625,000 to Jesus College to support access programme

Oxford’s ‘Welsh College’ has received a £625,000 investment for access from, a single, anonymous donor.

The mystery donor was identified as a former student, who is “keen to support its programme to encourage Welsh students from all backgrounds to apply to study at the College”

Jesus College has gained an informal reputation as Oxford’s ‘Welsh’ college, with 24 Welsh Heads of College from 1571 to 1915.

The money will be used to secure the Jesus-Seren Summer School programme for the foreseeable future, which gives future generations of Welsh students the opportunity to attend the College.

Since 2017, Jesus College has been working with the Welsh Government’s Seren Network to deliver an all-expenses-paid summer school for state school students.

The College principal, Sir Nigel Shadbolt has commented, “This generous donation secures a substantial portion of the necessary funding for the College’s Seren Network Summer School. Our donor has chosen to endow a number of places at the summer school in perpetuity. This is a hugely successful way of widening access and we hope that others might consider helping.”

The Seren Network is a set of eleven regional hubs in Wales to help sixth-formers in Welsh state schools to get into Russell Group universities. Jesus college encourages all Year 12 participants in Seren apply to the summer school. Participants from each of the eleven Seren hubs will be selected on their academic merit and potential. Though the college considers an individual’s socioeconomic circumstances they say that this will not determine the outcome of the application process.

The Welsh Government’s Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, said “This significant and generous donation will ensure that future leaders from Wales will be provided with dedicated and bespoke support at the Welsh college at Oxford for many years to come. This raises aspiration, instils confidence, and builds networks for our young people, whatever they choose to do next.”

She added “Wales has strong links with Jesus College going back centuries and I look forward to seeing more of our Seren stars attending the College’s Summer School and perhaps joining the ranks of Oxford’s alumni of eminent broadcasters, academics and political leaders who’ve gone on to create waves around the world.”

The 2019 Seren Network Summer School is scheduled for 19th-23rd August and will offer an Oxford experience to 75 students and 11 teachers with the chosen theme of ‘Earth’s Future’.

Of the 74 participants in the 2018 summer school, 41 applied to Oxford, 30 were shortlisted, and 11 have been offered a place (including 1 for Jesus). The summer school alone generated 10% of all applications received from Wales to Oxford.

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