Talented Law student forced to crowdfund Oxford degree
First-class Brighton graduate Ebun Azeez needs over £30,000 to pay for the course.
Successful Law graduate Ebun Azeez has been offered a place on Oxford University's prestigious Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) programme - but she'll be forced to turn down her place if she can't cover the £31,087 fees.
20-year-old Ebun began her studies at Brighton University aged just 16, where she excelled both academically and in her extra-curriculars, and graduated with a first in her Law degree.
After spending a year working as Vice President for Academic Experience at Brighton Students' Union, she has now secured just one of 99 places on the competitive Oxford course.
However, as an international student, she is not eligible for the postgraduate loan, and has launched a crowdfunding campaign in a bid to cover the eye-watering costs.
After graduating, Ebun's financial situation left her with little choice but to take time out to work, and having secured a place on the Oxford course, she explains to us that she has turned to crowdfunding as a last resort.
Crowdfunding is the last option available to me.
In fact, I ought to have started the campaign in May but I waited to ensure that I had explored the other routes of funding such as charitable grants. I am not eligible for a postgraduate loan and do not have access to government funding.
I decided that it was time to crowdfund because my situation is urgent and I risk losing my place on the course.
During her undergraduate degree, Ebun worked hard to support herself during her studies, doing shifts at Burger King and the accommodation office to help fund her living costs. A combination of paid and unpaid positions at the university during her time there, led her to be awarded Student Employee of the Year.
The £31,887 she hopes to raise will cover the cost of tuition, college fees and crowdfunding admin fees. She plans to cover living costs with support from her sister and through part-time work - although as an international student, she is limited to working 20 hours a week during term time.
My journey as a black female and a first-generation university graduate has not been easy.
Despite these barriers and the financial struggles that I faced as an international student in recent years, my commitment to become a lawyer remains stronger than ever.
I have worked so hard for this moment to come and the thought of not being able to actualise it for financial reasons is quite frankly devastating.
Ebun is by no means the first student to have used crowdfunding as a means of funding their studies - here's a few examples of other students who have given it a shot.
Diversity in Oxbridge
Ebun's fundraising campaign comes at a time when Oxford University has been making headlines for its lack of diversity and inaccessibility.
The university came under heavy criticism when data revealed that eight of 29 colleges accepted fewer than three black applicants in the past three years.
Further FOI requests revealed that in the past five years, six University of Cambridge colleges have admitted fewer than 10 black students.
MP David Lammy was one of those drawing attention to the inequality inherent in elite universities.
My response to Oxford University access data published today. (This thread will be long, and will include facts and figures).
Oxford is still a bastion of entrenched, wealthy, upper class, white, southern privilege. We need systemic change, not more spin and PR exercises.
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) 23 May 2018
Today, Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said the failure of Oxbridge to increase diversity was "staggering".
As a black Muslim woman, Ebun herself has also been very vocal in contributing to national conversations on race and diversity.
Speaking to Save the Student, Ebun talked of how "outward-facing perception, a lack of transparency as well as other institutional biases" are all major factors contributing to Oxford's lack of diversity, and that it's a "complex and interlinked" problem.
Ebun only has until the end of July to accept her offer, so doesn't have much time to raise the required funds.
It is estimated that over 1000 students like me each year who hold a postgraduate offer from Oxford have to turn it down for financial reasons.
I can only ensure that this does not happen to me with your help and support.
You can donate to Ebun's cause by heading to her GoFundMe page, and support her cause by sharing her story on social media using #ebun2Oxford.