A UNIVERSITY has partnered with a foundation to help improve access for disadvantaged black British students.

The University of Southampton has partnered with the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation (CSF).

The mission for the charitable foundation is to fund 100 disadvantaged black British students through the countries leading universities.

As well as Southampton, it has also partnered with 4 other universities across the country who will cover the tuition fees and, in some cases, the maintenance for at least three students over a decade from 2021.

Professor Richard Oreffo, a professor at the University of Southampton and Founder of the Foundation, said: "Access to university should not be limited by race or social class, but unfortunately this is not the case for all in our society.

"While many issues are at play in why more Black British students do not attend leading universities, the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation seeks to address a significant barrier: the financial cost of university education."

The initial target is to raise £500,000 to start funding the first tranche of students and then continue to raise funds, eventually forming an ecosystem, and then to finance scholarships through endowments.

Professor Mark E. Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, said: "I am delighted that our University is partnering with the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation.

"As an institution, we are committed to fair access and participation in higher education and recognise the structural barriers which result in a lower proportion of Black UK students studying at Russell Group universities.

"More work is needed, not only to widen access, but also to ensure that students feel at home, achieve excellent results and progress to their chosen careers or postgraduate study.

"These scholarships will form part of our broader Widening Participation strategy."