Guest blog: Michael Moritz's £75m donation to fund Oxford scholarships

Isaac Lambert

Isaac Lambert, a young supporter of IntoUniversity who has fundraised for the charity, recently completed a week's work experience with us. He took part in the delivery of our programmes at IU North Kensington and spent some time in Head Office. As well as learning about how the charity is managed, Isaac undertook research and analysis of news stories relevant to IntoUniversity . Here, he shares his thoughts on venture capitalist Michael Moritz's recent £75m donation to Oxford University.

It has generally been accepted that Michael Moritz astounding £75m donation to Oxford in order to fund scholarships for the poorest 10% of students will have very positive effects. The hope is that this will now encourage less privileged students from poorer backgrounds to now consider the prospect of a place at Oxford, an idea that may previously have been discouraged.

Daniel Knowles however, writing for The Telegraph does not believe this will be the case. He believes that these donations to Oxford will not tackle the underlying reasons for a lack of applicants from poorer background; such as peer pressure, uninspiring state school teachers, and the stereotype that Oxford is only for the rich. He adds that the money could therefore be used much more effectively on outreach programmes such as summer schools which are more likely to tackle these underlying problems, and in turn boost applications for higher education. Another issue Knowles finds with this donation is that the students on bursaries will only have to pay £3,500 in fees whist attending Oxford, rather than pay the full £9,000 back with interest once they are earning the large salaries that Oxford graduates are likely to receive.

I, on the other hand, believe that Moritz's donation will be well spent and that it will encourage less privileged students to apply. At a press conference in London he explained that he was motivated by the kindness presented to his father who benefited from a scholarship at a good school in London. From there he was able to go on to study at Oxford and gained a PhD, again funded entirely by a scholarship. This shows that Moritz chose this cause for his donation not because he believes it is the most urgent cause, but because it is something that is personal to him. Furthermore, part of the scheme will be asking scholars who have benefited from the program to return to their previous schools and encourage other students to consider Oxford in the future. As for Knowles' issue that students on scholarships are allowed to pay reduced fees, these are still high costs that students could pay through a government backed loan, which they would have to pay back with interest once they were earning high salaries.

In summary, I believe that there will be many positive outcomes from this donation, including the benefits to IntoUniversity students. These scholarships will allow IntoUniversity to encourage more children to attend Oxford and give these children the greater opportunities they deserve.

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