University launches Astrophoria Foundation Year Programme

UK state school students from under-represented backgrounds will have the opportunity to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) with the University of Oxford through an innovative new access programme, the Astrophoria Foundation Year.

The programme, announced this week, is open to all eligible pupils with significant academic potential, but who have experienced severe personal disadvantage or a disrupted education which has damaged their ability to apply for an Oxford undergraduate place. 

The Astrophoria Foundation Year will offer places for up to 50 students each year, on one of four foundation courses. The undergraduate courses included on the programme are Humanities (Classics, History, English and Theology), Chemistry, Engineering and Materials Science, Law or Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). 

The funding, covering all tuition fees and the cost of accommodation and living expenses for all participating students, is supported by a major gift from a longstanding University donor. Ten Oxford colleges are taking part in the first year of the new initiative: Exeter, Jesus, Keble, Lady Margaret Hall (LMH), Mansfield, Somerville, St Anne’s, St Hugh’s, Trinity, and Wadham. 

Hamish Low, Head of the Department of Economics, said: ‘I am delighted the University is expanding Foundation Oxford to include PPE, and at the prospect that the inclusion of Economics within the programme will provide us with more opportunities to maximise the pool of talent coming to the University.’

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, said: ‘We are delighted to announce the launch of the Astrophoria Foundation Year, which will have a transformative impact on the lives of the smartest students who have experienced grave disadvantage. 

‘The programme will enable us to accelerate the progress we have made, as demonstrated in our annual admissions report, in broadening the socio-economic backgrounds of our undergraduate students. 

I am deeply grateful to the generous donor who shares our belief in the power of education and our commitment to identifying and nurturing talent.’ 

The new scheme is now available via the UCAS website and the first cohort of successful students will be admitted in October 2023. Find out more about the Astrophoria Programme at this link.