Cambridge University to increase support for black students through access scheme sponsorship

Image credit: Cambridge ACS via Facebook

The University of Cambridge has announced its sponsorship of the Target Oxbridge programme, an access scheme which seeks to help students of black African and Caribbean heritage in their applications to Cambridge and Oxford.

Target Oxbridge, which offers its programme for free, was launched by graduate recruitment firm Rare in 2012, and has since helped 46 students obtain Oxbridge offers. This 36 per cent success rate is far above the estimated national average of 20 per cent.

Target Oxbridge’s website describes the programme as focussing “on intellectual, cultural and social development irrespective of personal or economic barriers”. Its various aspects include mentorship by a black or minority ethnic Oxbridge graduate, a series of seminars, Oxbridge-style tutorials, and guest speaker events, as well as personalised advice on A-level subject choices and the UCAS form.

The University of Oxford announced its support for the programme earlier this year, with the University’s website quoting its Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach Dr Samina Khan as saying, “I am delighted to be able to facilitate the expansion of the Target Oxbridge programme. Oxford is committed to reaching under-represented groups and increasing the diversity of its student body.

“This carefully designed programme offers information and guidance that students may not have immediate access to, and I am pleased that Rare can provide it.”

Target Oxbridge now hopes, with the support of both universities, to increase the numbers of offers its students receive to 60 in 2018.

The lack of black students at Oxbridge was recently highlighted by Cambridge’s Afro-Caribbean Society (ACS), whose members posed for a photograph outside St. John’s College. Several of the students who posed for the photograph were assisted by Target Oxbridge in their own applications to the University. Only 15 black male students and 23 black female students were accepted to Cambridge in 2015. 

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