Alumni of Lincoln College have launched an appeal to raise £22,000 in order to relieve some of the financial pressures the College is facing after it honoured the place of all offer holders, taking in 11 additional students in this year’s cohort.
The financial pressure of accommodating these students has also been worsened by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in not only a large loss of potential income from conferences (£575K according to the donation page) but also extra costs, with the College spending over £200’000 supporting staff and students in recent months.
Lincoln College has also been praised for its efforts in supporting the entire new cohort, by running “catch-up classes” for students to make sure nobody is adversely impacted by missing the last few months of school. Alumni hope that other colleges will mirror this initiative.
On the donation page, Alumni Ian Brownhill and Dave Foster write, “those… who went to Oxford in happier times, have asked the College how [they] can help.” Both Brownhill and Foster recently sent a letter to Lincoln College following the A-level results day debacle, asking the College to #honourtheoffer. “Those of us who campaigned hard to make sure our family grew as it should this year knew that there’d be a cost. Covid-19 costs money. More students mean more costs.”
The implementation of proper social distancing measures will be a large cost for the college, with £18,000 spent on extra dining and socialising space in its Chapel Quad, £4,000 on making teaching rooms safe, and £3,000 on masks for all students and staff. The appeal, therefore, asks for £22,000, or £2,000 per new student (eleven) “to show that the whole of the Lincoln family is behind this exceptional year group.”
Brownhill said that “it’s something we hope will be replicated elsewhere” among the alumni of other colleges, many of which are facing financial difficulties to accommodate the unprecedented increase in student numbers.
Lincoln College had not reached out to its alumni for the support, but Brownhill and Foster “took the view that because college has honoured the offers in such a complete way, alumni should chip-in.”
From a personal perspective, Brownhill told us that he wants Oxford to be the most diverse and inclusive institution it can be, because “just as we value the buildings, the Colleges, and the tutorial systems, we should also start to value and to fund diversity initiatives.”
“Honouring the Offer was all about diversity: by saying that we won’t allow this year’s exams to be a barrier to entry in circumstances where the calculation of those results could have impacted negatively on those from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Brownhill concluded that he was “hugely proud” of what Lincoln had done and that he’ll be making a donation and asking fellow alumni to do the same.
So far, £10’275 has been raised by 25 donors, and Dave Foster has agreed to match £1 for every £1 donated up to £9,000 in the next 25 days (when the campaign ends). Foster told The Oxford Student that “we offered to put together a mini-campaign and work with the development office to set it up”. Lincoln College had not approached its alumni for support before Foster and Brownhill reached out.
On how they arrived at the figure of £22’000, he added that “the idea was to set a target that would help fund some of the extra costs associated with extra students”. He added that the money doesn’t come close to covering all the costs of the Covid-19 pandemic (which are 100s of £ks) but it is a start.
The Development Director of Lincoln College stated that they were “delighted by the way that all parts of the College community, including alumni, have come together in response to the challenges we face as a result of the pandemic.”
“This initiative, alongside our Covid-19 appeal, will help us ensure that the new cohort of students have as good an experience of teaching and learning as possible this year.”
Other colleges have organised initiatives to help fund the year ahead too. The Principal of St Anne’s College has also asked for donations for additional teaching, accommodation & welfare support this year, completing a 5km open water swim in order to raise the money.
You can contribute to the appeal HERE