We believe that universities should aspire to change lives through the opportunities that they provide and the knowledge they produce. We are committed to providing access to everyone with the ability to benefit from a higher education, regardless of their background or means. Your origin should not determine your destination.
We recognise that some students - for example, those from lower socio-economic or non-traditional backgrounds, mature students, and those leaving local authority care - can face additional barriers in first accessing, and then achieving, at university. We don't think that's fair. In order to support all our students to achieve their potential, we invest significant amounts of University income into our programme of bursaries, scholarships and emergency support. We also reach out to our alumni community.
We have been connecting current students with our alumni since 2007 as part of our Inspire the Future telephone campaigns. Twice a year, a team of 30 of our friendliest, most enthusiastic and most passionate students set up camp in a computer room at Penrhyn Road campus and reach out to thousands of our alumni across the globe. We send you a postcard or email you to let you know they'll be calling, and match you with a student based on shared interests and experiences to make for some very enjoyable conversations. Our students update alumni on developments at Kingston, find out more about what you've gone on to achieve and invite you to take part in our programme of bursaries and scholarships.
This past May we completed our most recent campaign, where 30 current students called more than 5000 Kingston University alumni all over the world. They had some fascinating conversations about the ways in which Kingston shaped the future of our alumni and received some very insightful career advice. One lucky caller was even invited to complete work experience at Pinewood Studios and saw Robert Downey Jr. in action! Our callers also updated our alumni on all the ways in which Kingston has changed - and stayed the same - and shared with them our powerful work supporting students.
Our alumni showed their incredible support and passion for Kingston by giving a record-breaking £124,610 in funding for our programme of bursaries and scholarships. This is the most ever given during a telephone campaign at Kingston, and 100% will support students directly. There are many people studying here at Kingston today who would not be able to do so were it not for this generosity. Thank you!
In October, we will once again be raising support for bursaries for young people leaving care, scholarships for the best and brightest postgraduate students, hardship grants for students in significant financial difficulty and research grants to support life-changing research, as well as creating opportunities for student innovation. We hope you will join us in expanding this essential work.
We will also be raising funds for bursaries for students with caring responsibilities, often for a parent or a sibling. Caring responsibilities can place an additional emotional and physical strain on students and limit their opportunities to support themselves through part-time work. We want to support them to achieve at Kingston while still having the energy and resources to care for their loved one.
A donation of just £10 a month will make a huge difference to Kingston and its students. You will join a community of more than 4,000 alumni who have already given to support current students, and our student callers look forward to speaking to many of you this autumn.
Samantha Holmes, a call-room supervisor who is in the third year of her International Relations with Spanish BA(Hons) programme shares her experiences:
Every cause we raise money for is so worthwhile, but a particular favourite of mine is the Care Leaver Bursary. I think it has had a stronger impact on me because we have people on the team who have personally benefitted from this fund, so I know just how important it is.
Another one I feel passionate about is the Student Hardship Fund. All sorts of life events occur to people before and during university and its devastating to have to give up your dreams because of this. The Student Hardship Fund makes sure that no matter what happens, the University will do its absolute best to keep you in education and help you as best as it can through this difficult time.
I love my job speaking to Kingston University alumni and chatting to people who loved the University as much as I did. It's astonishing how quickly they can become like an old friend! Conversation is so easy because you have a shared love of the University and its great hearing about what their degree has helped them achieve.
We're able to speak to people who did the same course as we did, too, so we can gain so much advice about how the alumni got into their current careers or what work experience they did etc. It's actually talking to Kingston alumni that has given me the most insight into employability after university, and I've already started using what I've learnt to help find work experience and internships.
The best moments for me at Kingston have been meeting new friends for life and learning so much more about myself. University has provided me with so many opportunities to improve who I am both in a working aspect as well as who I am as a person. I feel I have become more independent, ambitious and motivated than I would have ever become if I did not attend Kingston.