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Cambridge University Launches New Free Foundation Course

The one-year, full-time residential course, which begins with its first intake of 52 students for the start of the new academic year in October 2022, follows a rigorous admissions process.

Published: April 26, 2022 10:49 PM IST

By PTI | Edited by Sumaila Zaman

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London: The University of Cambridge has launched a new pre-degree foundation course, which has a lower entry requirement in a bid to increase diversity across the world-famous educational institution in the UK. The university announced on Monday that the new Cambridge Foundation Year is free and fully funded and aimed at engaging an  entirely new stream of applicants.

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The one-year, full-time residential course, which begins with its first intake of 52 students for the start of the new academic year in October 2022, follows a rigorous admissions process. “This is a big day for those who are receiving their Cambridge Foundation Year offer, and a big day for the University, said Dr Alex Pryce, Foundation Year Course Director at Cambridge.

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“This is the first time in its history that Cambridge has run a pre-degree foundation year programme, aimed at talented applicants who might not otherwise consider applying to study here, and the number of applications we received shows that it is competitive and that there is a clear appetite for it, he said.

In total, there were 267 applications to the pilot Foundation Year programme, or around five applications for every place, which is comparable to the number of applications the university normally receives for undergraduate study at six applications for every place.

Annually, the course is aimed at around 50 individuals who have experienced educational and social disadvantage and demonstrate the potential to succeed in a degree in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. “The Cambridge Foundation Year offers a fresh approach to widening participation at Cambridge, said Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.

It is an innovative programme that aims to reach an entirely new field of Cambridge candidates, and to transform lives. After all the planning that has gone into creating the Cambridge Foundation Year, and the hard work of many people across the University and Colleges, I’m delighted that we have reached this important moment, he said.

A donation from philanthropists Christina and Peter Dawson is funding the launch of the programme and full one-year scholarships for all students who are accepted. Students will study at one of the 13 Cambridge colleges participating in the pilot scheme. The university said, as with all courses at Cambridge, there was a rigorous admissions process designed to help admit students who will thrive on the Foundation Year and be able to progress to a degree at Cambridge including interviews and assessment.

Students also have to prove their eligibility to receive the “generous scholarship” given to all students on the course.

On successful completion of the programme, Cambridge Foundation Year students will receive a CertHE qualification from the University of Cambridge, and with suitable attainment can progress to degrees in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Cambridge without the need to apply to the university again in the usual admissions round.

The eligibility criteria for the course cover students with disrupted educational backgrounds in the UK as well as refugees or asylum seekers. The move is part of efforts by the university to be more inclusive to students from less privileged backgrounds.

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Published Date: April 26, 2022 10:49 PM IST