HUDDERSFIELD University staff, students and even a cleaner have rushed to back a scheme to help future students.
Within just a few days of the launch of the university’s new scholarship scheme more than 200 people had made personal donations.
Launched last Monday, the scheme will create a pot of more than £100,000 to make sure that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds can still attend university when the controversial new student fees system comes in 2012.
Within a few days of the launch, vice-chancellor Bob Cryan said on Twitter that he had already written 200 thank-you letters to staff who had contributed to his innovative scholarship fund.
Prof Cryan also said he was “absolutely delighted” that donations had even come from the university’s current students.
And he revealed he was “feeling really moved” when a university cleaning lady stopped him and insisted on giving him her last pound coin.
Prof Cryan is hoping to raise the six-figure sum after he devised a clever way of taking advantage of a number of tax breaks and funding schemes.
His plan will see that every £1 donation to the fund is transformed into £10.
When a £1 donation is made, Prof Cryan personally matches it, making £2.
Gift Aid turns this to £2.50 and until the end of July, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will match this, so £1 has grown to £5.
This sum then attracts matching funding from the Government’s National Scholarship Programme – making a total of £10.
If the £100,000 goal is reached, Prof Cryan’s personal contribution will be £10,000, equalling that of all other donors combined.
The cash will then be used to provide scholarships and bursaries to University of Huddersfield students from less well-off backgrounds who might be deterred by the new fees.
Prof Cryan, who went to the university himself when it was a polytechnic, said: “I am concerned that the forced increase in tuition fees will deny some of our students the opportunity of having the life changing experience that we and so many others have enjoyed.
“I appreciate that domestic budgets are very tight, so that is why I figured out this way of maximising the impact of staff and student donations to the fund.
“The support for the idea from (Students Union President) Matt Christie and the Students’ Union Executive has been fantastic with all of them personally pledging to the scheme.
“I couldn’t have asked for more given their financial circumstances – It makes me so proud.”
Matt Christie, said: “I’m a firm believer that as a society we should help one another and this is the perfect opportunity to do so.
“I’m strongly behind this fund and that’s why I’ve donated the first £10.
“While the repayment of tuition fees is only paid back through your career earnings after students finish their studies, it’s clear that the final amount due is daunting and may put off potential students who are from families that experience financial hardship.”
Anyone who wants to support the scholarship fund can donate online at www.hud.ac.uk/donate