Widening Access and Participation

At St Chad’s College we believe that every member of the College has the right to enjoy a full and fulfilling university experience, regardless of socioeconomic background, and we aim to make all aspects of College life as inclusive and accessible as we can.

We know that for some of our students, worries about money prevent them from fully taking part in College life, and that the cost of things like sports kit or equipment, formalwear or fancy dress might represent an ‘invisible barrier’ to participation, integration, and achievement.

We’ve long been committed to encouraging undergraduate applicants from non-traditional backgrounds – applicants from LPN or ‘Low Participation Neighbourhoods’ where few school leavers go on to higher education, or those who would be the first in their families to go into higher education – but we realise that attracting these applicants and supporting them in making successful applications is only the start of our responsibility.

We also have to ensure that once they have become part of the St Chad’s family they are supported in fulfilling their academic and co-curricular potential and able to enjoy a full social life with their peers.

What we’re doing…

That’s why, in addition to our existing School Visit programme, AIM programme and range of undergraduate scholarships, we have created our:

  • Intern:NE regional graduate retention initiative, which offers high quality internships and work experience placements for students with business and organisations in the North East of England. All students undertaking internships or placements as part of Intern:NE are eligible for free room-only accommodation in College during the summer vacation and limited travel subsidies.
  • Formalwear Lending Service to ensure that the high cost of formalwear isn’t a barrier for any student.
  • Opportunities Fund which makes small one-off grants to UG and PG students in financial hardship who need to purchase sports kit or equipment, pay for travel to an interview, or buy expensive compulsory texts for their modules (to be donated to the College’s library when they are no longer needed). This fund will also make available a number of subsidised tickets to College events like the Candlemas and Summer Balls. This fund is supported by the generosity of our alumni community and is administered by College Officers.
  • Fancy Dress Lending Service which allows students to borrow items of fancy dress donated by other students when they are no longer wanted.

Our JCR has recently voted to create the position of JCR Social Mobility Representative, who will work with the JCR Executive Committee and members of College staff to ensure that all aspects of College life are inclusive and accessible to all students, regardless of socioeconomic background.

Access to University support

College staff can also refer students in serious financial hardship to the University’s Student Support Fund which is intended to help students make up any shortfall between their personal income and their essential expenditure.

All Durham University students are eligible to make applications to the University’s Student Employability Fund, which awards small grants to aid students with the cost of smart clothing for, and the cost of travel to, interviews or other recruitment activities.