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'I'm following your example...'
My name is Hannah Wait and I’m a first year Human Sciences student at UCL. I’m incredibly proud to be able to say that – my parents are ridiculously proud that I’m studying here. And when you think back to your own time at UCL, you’ll probably remember similar feelings when you realised just what a fantastic institution you were part of.
Aside from pride however, there’s something else I hope we share as UCL students past and present. And that’s a belief that this amazing university should remain open to the best and brightest students – regardless of their family background and financial circumstances.
If so, there’s a fantastically powerful way to ensure that happens - by making a gift to UCL Scholarships and Bursaries.
As a UCL graduate you know more than anyone what a positive effect a good degree can have on your outlook and prospects. It’s the very best start, yet for many would-be students, steeply rising tuition fees may prove an insurmountable barrier to the university education they have worked so hard for.
I know people say that student fees are manageable; that you don’t have to start paying your loans back until you’re earning £21,000, but for me that’s missing the point. My Dad works full time as a driving instructor and my Mum has three part time jobs, but £21,000 is still double my family’s household income! So it’s not just about the cost, it’s a whole mindset to overcome. That’s why UCL scholarships and bursaries are so important; not just in providing immediate support but in showing that the University wants students from all backgrounds to succeed here.
As students, we do our best to be independent. I took a year out to work and save before taking up my place at UCL. Then I researched and patch-worked together all the loans and financial assistance I was entitled to – but it’s still a struggle. The bursary I receive from UCL isn’t just a useful top-up, it’s absolutely essential to making ends meet. And that’s not all; it’s knowing that alumni help to make this funding possible... that’s so encouraging. I really can’t thank you enough.
Before starting at UCL, I’d only been to London twice; once to visit a Great Aunt and once for the interview. I had no idea how expensive living here would be. Text books are crazy expensive – up to £130 or £140 - and the library copies are often out. Next year I’ll have to buy a lab coat... I don’t know how much that will cost. But it’s all worth it, because UCL is one of the best universities in the world.
The research facilities here are excellent. There are some amazing lecturers. And in every science article or newspaper you read, UCL always crops up. I feel I am getting the very best at UCL and I want everyone who is bright, hard-working and ambitious enough to study here to enjoy that same opportunity. That’s why I’m so passionate about the opportunities that scholarships and bursaries provide. I hope you share those feelings too.
Today, rising fees are part of life - and there’s no going back. But you aren’t powerless to help students like me to succeed at UCL. By making a gift to UCL, alumni are uniquely placed to help the University retain its proud tradition of rewarding merit and awarding places on the grounds of intellectual ability rather than ability to pay. Those of us who have benefitted are incredibly grateful; your generosity has literally kept our dreams alive. I hope this will encourage you to make a gift, sure in the knowledge that we’ll follow your example when we graduate.
I don’t know what career I’ll end up having. Right now, I’m considering neuroscience as it would be amazing to work in such a new and interesting field where there’s a real opportunity to do some good. What I do know however, is that as soon as I’m in a steady job, I’ll be giving back, because I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities UCL has given me.
Back in Billingham, my little sister has just turned 17, so it’s her year that will really be hit by rising tuition fees. Like thousands of students from families with only modest incomes, she is weighing up the benefits of a university education against the prospect of being financially stretched.
In this delicate balancing act, I know that UCL scholarships and bursaries can tip the scales in the right direction - ensuring that the brightest and best students are able to take up their places and succeed at UCL. I hope you’ll be inspired to give back to your university in this fantastically positive way. You really couldn’t give a better gift.
UCL Human Sciences (Year 1 student)
You can make a gift today online or by downloading a gift form. If you wish to discuss making a gift to UCL please do not hesitate to contact the Annual Fund team on +44 (0)20 3108 3834 or at firstname.lastname@example.org