Oxford Launches Astrophoria Foundation Year for Underrepresented Students

4 May 2022

Trinity is one of the first colleges to be part of Oxford University’s innovative new access programme, the ‘Astrophoria Foundation Year’, to help able students from disadvantaged backgrounds raise their academic standards and apply successfully to Oxford. 

The programme, part of Oxford’s continuing drive to diversify the undergraduate body and wholly funded by an anonymous donor, gives motivated students the chance to reach their academic potential through a supportive and challenging one-year academic course, aimed at developing their academic skills, self-belief and confidence. The Year will offer places for up to 50 students each year and is fully funded, covering tuition fees and the cost of accommodation and living expenses for all participating students. The funding is supported by a major gift from a longstanding University donor. 

Students will study one of four foundation courses; Humanities (Classics, History, English and Theology); Chemistry, Engineering and Materials Science; Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) or Law. Trinity is one of ten Oxford colleges taking part in the first year of the new initiative, along with Exeter, Jesus, Keble, Lady Margaret Hall (LMH), Mansfield, Somerville, St Anne’s, St Hugh’s, and Wadham. The Astrophoria Foundation Year builds on the model of a pilot foundation year programme introduced by LMH in 2016. 

For now the scheme is open to all UK state school 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. 

Dame  Hilary Boulding, President of Trinity College, says: 'We are proud that Trinity will be among the first colleges taking part in the University’s Astrophoria Foundation Year programme; diversifying Oxford’s intake means being able to identify and support exceptionally talented students who have experienced severe disadvantage or disruption to their education. We are excited to be working together across the university and with the generous donor who has funded this programme; together we are committed to supporting more excellent candidates who have faced exceptional barriers to fully realising their potential.'

The new scheme is now available via the UCAS website. Students will be able to submit their applications from 6 September 2022 and all applicants must apply via UCAS by 25 January 2023. The first cohort of successful students will be admitted in October 2023. 

The launch of the Astrophoria Foundation Year coincides with the release of Oxford University’s Annual Admissions Statistical Report for 2022, which presents data on the University’s progress towards greater access for students from backgrounds currently underrepresented at Oxford. The figures show Trinity’s continued progress towards a more representative mix of students, particularly in attracting more students from UK state schools and ethnic minority backgrounds.