How the Santander scholarship helped me

Beth Simpson

Throughout my childhood and school life, studying at university was at the forefront of my mind. Having come from a working-class family and the first generation to attend university, I was undoubtedly very excited but also daunted when I received my Durham offer in late 2019. The prospect of meeting not only academically gifted students but those from affluent backgrounds disheartened me as I felt they wouldn’t understand my experiences with financial struggles nor would I be able to afford the degree.

After discussing my worries to my Sixth Form tutor, I was guided to read up on Durham’s Scholarships and Bursaries where I came across the ‘Santander Scholarship’, which, like the name suggests, is a Scholarship provided by Santander Universities. They aim to provide financial aid to students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds compared to their peers by granting them a £2000 bursary over one year.

After sending in my application, I was lucky enough to secure one of the 10 undergraduate places on the scholarship for the first year of my degree. Now starting my second term, I realise how crucial this has been for me, my experiences have not been dampened due to financial hardship. University life has become significantly more affordable and settling in more comfortable allowing my first disheartening thoughts to be squashed.

Showing off our ‘stash’

Bridging the gap

As a home student who finds the tuition fees extortionate, I can only imagine how daunted prospective international students would be in their application. With great generosity, Santander has kindly opened this Scholarship up to residents of up to 20 selected countries across the globe making the application for those all around the world a little bit smoother. University has been made considerably more accessible with the funding helping me pay my JCR fees, my gown and social activities, which I can imagine all students that secure a place will benefit from.

If you had told a 16-year-old me I would be completing a degree at Durham and relishing every possible opportunity without financial burdens, I wouldn’t have believed you. If anyone feels the same way as I did before applying, I would implore you to do your research surrounding university-wide support. There are a variety of scholarships and bursaries you might be eligible for to help make your university experience a little less worrying. Ask questions and be curious!

Find out more

Read more about how Santander are supporting Durham students here.

Find out about our fees and the financial support available to you here.

Download our latest prospectus here.

Follow our students on Instagram and YouTube.

Beth Simpson

Hello! My name is Beth and I’m a first-year Biological Scientist at Trevelyan College. I am a first generation student who was chosen to take part in Durham’s Supported Progression scheme in 2019 and now as a student here, I have joined many societies including Durham’s Skiing and Snowboard Club and the Biology Society.

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