Stormzy has announced that he is helping fund black British students going to Cambridge University.
The grime artist will support two scholarships that pay for students’ tuition fees, as well as a maintenance grant for up to four years of an undergraduate course.
Speaking at his former school – the Harris City Academy in Croydon, south London – while A-level students were opening their results, Stormzy told BBC Breakfast: “If you’re academically brilliant don’t think because you come from a certain community that studying at one of the highest education institutions in the world isn’t possible.”
The 25-year-old rapper, who won best album at this year’s Ivor Novello awards, is funding two places this year and two next year, with YouTube Music also contributing funds. A panel of university staff will select the recipients.
Stormzy said that when he was at school he himself had ambitions to study at Oxbridge, but that many of his peers did not realise the option was open to them.
“If you’re academically brilliant don’t think because you come from a certain community that studying at one of the highest education institutions in the world isn’t possible.”
“I was always reminded by my teachers that I was destined, if I wanted, to go down that road and study at one of the top universities,” he said. “I diverted and ended up doing music so it didn’t happen for me. I thought I was quite a rare case in that I knew that was possible.
“That’s not always the case. When students are young, academically brilliant and getting great grades, they should know that’s an option.”
Stormzy is no stranger to this sort of philanthropy. Last year he donated £9,000 to a crowd-funding campaign set up by a student from London to allow her to study at Harvard.
The announcement comes amid concerns about lack of diversity at Oxbridge universities: figures published in June showed some Cambridge colleges admitted no black students or accepted as few as one a year between 2012 and 2016.
The application deadline is 30 August for this year and is open to any black student with an offer to study at Cambridge, according to the BBC.