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Cambridge’s Trinity College admits to giving financial grants to pupils of specific schools

More than half of the eligible schools are prestigious private or grammar schools


Trinity College has admitted to handing out financial grants to its students who attended specific schools, the majority of which are prestigious private or grammar schools schools.

Cambridge University’s richest college has handed out 33 grants in 2023 to ex-pupils of schools such as St Paul’s School and Westminster School, the annual fees of which can be as high as £49,518.

Trinity College (Image credit: Jess Marais)

Responding to The Tab Cambridge’s request for information, Trinity College confirmed that grants of the following amounts may be awarded to those educated at these schools:

• St Paul’s School, London – £240 and £300
• St Paul’s Girls’ School, London – £240 and £300
• Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke – £240 and £300
• Hurstpierpoint College – £240 and £300
• Shrewsbury School – £240 and £300
• Westminster School – £240 and £300
• Any of the schools on the Woodard Foundation – £240 and £300
• Thomas Alleyne School, Stevenage – £300
• Alleyne’s High School, Stone – £300
• Thomas Alleyne’s High School, Uttoxeter – £300
• Hitchin Boys’ School – £300
• King Edward VII High School, King’s Lynn – £300
• The King’s School, Grantham – £300
• The Perse School for Boys – £300
• The Perse School for Girls – £300
• Dallam School, Milnthorpe – £300
• Northgate School, Ipswich – £300
• Felixstowe Academy – £300

*The major Woodard Schools are Lancing College, Hurstpierpoint College, Ardingly College, Bloxham School, Denstone College, Ellesmere College, Worksop College, King’s College, Taunton, Granville College, Bideford, Causton College and King’s School, Tynemouth

It also confirmed that further academic grants “may be awarded to those who achieve a First or Upper Second Class in the examination taken at the end of their first or second year of residence” from an even shorter list of schools made up exclusively of prestigious independent schools:

• St Paul’s School, London
• St Paul’s Girls’ School, London
• Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke
• Hurstpierpoint College
• Shrewsbury School
• Westminster School
• Any of the schools on the Woodard Foundation*

Although some of the schools on the initial list are non fee-paying schools, it can be questioned how much pupils of these schools are benefitting from the grants in comparison to those from prestigious private schools.

While St Paul’s School (private) received 22 offers to study at Cambridge in 2022, Hitchin Boys’ School (non-fee charging academy) received less than three; the likelihood that any ex-pupils of the latter would be studying at Trinity College and therefore able to receive a grant is very low.

Trinity College (Image credit: Vedika Mandapati)

When asked to state “the reason, provided by Trinity College, for supplying or passing on funding to these students”, the Junior Bursar was not able to provide a satisfactory answer, choosing to focus on the academic requirements to receive grants as opposed to the reason for singling out ex-pupils of these schools as eligible for them.

A student at Trinity who received a grant has told The Tab Cambridge: “I did receive money from a fund. I am under the impression that the money for the fund was donated in somebody’s will before the 19th century but cannot legally be used for anything else as the money was not donated to Trinity but specifically to fund scholars from specific schools. It is clearly outdated but this is the impression I was given about why it exists.”

A Trinity College spokesperson has commented: “Since its foundation in 1546, Trinity has received bequests and legacies from individuals and institutions for the purposes of student awards, which have stipulations that endure today. In 2023, a total of £6,680 was awarded to 33 students. The College is committed to enabling and welcoming students with the potential to do well at Cambridge regardless of financial background and provides a range of support to that end.”