Stormzy Scholarships

Stormzy and HSBC continue support for Black UK students

Stormzy with Drew and Joseph Credit: Andrew Timms

Stormzy with Drew and Joseph

Stormzy with Drew and Joseph

36 new Stormzy Scholarships to be awarded to Black students over next 3 years, bringing total number to 81 over eight years (2018-26)

‘The Stormzy Effect’ continues: Applications from UK Black students on the rise, with 141 Black students admitted in 2022 (131% increase compared to 2018)

HSBC UK has pledged a further £2m in funding (total of £4m 2021-26), and is expanding its mentorship and internship opportunities for Black Heritage students

Five years since the launch of the Stormzy Scholarship programme at the University of Cambridge, HSBC UK has pledged a further £2m in support of 30 new Stormzy Scholarships over the next three years (2024-26). The #Merky Foundation, the UK charity founded by the award winning British musician, Stormzy, will continue to fund a further two students per year.

Since launching in 2018, the scholarships have helped alleviate the financial worries and transform the university experience of 32 students from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds. It’s anticipated that a total of 81 students will have received a Stormzy Scholarship by 2026. 

The Stormzy Scholarships are credited with helping Cambridge to attract more applications from a traditionally under-represented group.

The number of UK Black students admitted to undergraduate courses has more than doubled in the past five years, rising from 61 students in 2018 to 141 students in 2022.

To be eligible for a 2023 award applicants must be of Black, or mixed Black heritage, and have a confirmed place to start a degree course at Cambridge. 

Stormzy, said: "For a further 30 Black students to have the opportunity to study at Cambridge University - the same year we celebrate 5 years of the scholarships’ launch - feels like an incredible landmark moment. 

"Thank you to HSBC UK for another incredibly significant donation and of course, Cambridge University for always, always backing our mission."

"I hope these scholarships continue to serve as a small reminder to young Black students that the opportunity to study at one of the best universities in the world is theirs for the taking!"


Professor Bhaskar Vira, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at the University of Cambridge, said: "We’re delighted the University’s collaboration with Stormzy’s #MERKY Foundation and HSBC UK will continue for another three years. We’re also extremely grateful to them, as we are to all our donors, for the help they provide ensuring those who often feel marginalised because of the circumstances they grew up in, receive financial support enabling them to fully engage with the student experience.

"We know these scholarships are truly transformative in the opportunities they provide and we look forward to welcoming more Stormzy scholars to Cambridge over the next few years."

Ian Stuart, Chief Executive Officer of HSBC UK, said: "Our focus is on helping people build their financial health, and increasing our support of the Stormzy Scholarships is an exciting step forward. It's a privilege to work alongside #MERKY and the University of Cambridge to help under-represented students overcome barriers to higher education, build their professional network at HSBC and beyond, and become the change-makers of the future. Investing in these students means investing in a fairer and more inclusive society."

All Stormzy Scholarship applicants also have the option to explore work experience, skills development and mentoring opportunities with the bank. Since the start of the partnership in 2021, HSBC has seen applications from Black Heritage students to its UK internship programmes increase 3-fold, with 16.5% Black Heritage representation in their latest UK internship class.

HSBC has also partnered with #MERKY Books to help young people aged 14-16 build financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills for the future. Together they’ve delivered workshops to 10,000 young people, donated over 2,000 books to schools and are planning to expand efforts into 2024 and beyond.

Meet the first two Stormzy Scholars

Drew and Joseph meeting Stormzy for the first time in Sept 2018

Drew and Joseph meeting Stormzy for the first time in Sept 2018

Drew and Joseph meeting Stormzy for the first time in Sept 2018

Drew Chateau, 24, from south London, was one of the two students awarded a Stormzy Scholarship in 2018. She graduated in 2021 with a 2:1 in Law and is now a trainee solicitor at a leading London law firm. She says the Scholarship made a huge difference: 

"Financial pressures and burdens had placed restrictions on my life and on those around me, which made it difficult to concentrate on education due to the circumstances we found ourselves in. The scholarship helped reduce the gap between myself and those from a more stable upbringing.

"Thanks to the award I didn’t have to worry about my next meal, how to support my family or even getting to university each term. While there are always going to be tough times, this made university so much more practical, and enjoyable for me."

Joseph Vambe, 23, also from south London, graduated in 2021 with a 2:1 in Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) and stayed in Cambridge an extra year to complete his Master’s. Now a fundraising and engagement officer for the charity, Christian Aid, he’s also been elected as a Labour councillor on Southwark Borough Council and is the youngest councillor on the authority:

"The Stormzy Scholarship proved to be an invaluable award as I progressed my studies at Cambridge. Throughout my life, the financial burden has always been a barrier to every great opportunity.

"This time was different – the Stormzy Scholarship alleviated that burden and I was able to pursue my degree without worrying about the financial costs which have proved so detrimental and burdensome, time and time again in my life. It is for this precise reason that I am grateful for the Stormzy Scholarship."

Published 29July 2023

Main image: #Merky

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