Fancy a Free Foundation Year at Cambridge?

Many capable students are prevented from realising their academic potential at Cambridge because of the detrimental effect of life circumstances on their performance, in spite of their ability.

But things are going to turn around. A new Foundation Year programme has been launched by the University of Cambridge, offering an entirely new route to undergraduate study. The one-year course is free-of-charge with all living costs covered (thanks to the generosity of philanthropists Christina and Peter Dawson), designed to offer a stepping stone to Cambridge for those who have experienced educational disadvantage.


Those who have been in care, those estranged from their families, and those who have missed significant periods of learning because of health issues are among the groups the programme aims to reach. Other possible candidates include students who have been unable to access suitable qualifications, those from low-income backgrounds, and those from schools which send few students to university. At the moment, the programme is open to UK residents only.

Admissions requirements and process

Typical offers are BBB at A-level, and no specific subjects are required. Applicants are expected to apply through UCAS by the January 2022 deadline, followed by interviews and assessments to identify their aptitude. The pilot programme will admit up to 50 students in its first intake in October 2022.

Opportunity upon completion

Upon successful completion of the Foundation Year, students will be able to progress on to one of 18 Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences degrees at Cambridge including English, History, Music, Law etc, without the need to apply to the University again. It is anticipated that the programme will be expanded in future years so that scholars can also progress to the sciences and technology.

As a Cambridge graduate, I believe such a fulfilling experience should be made accessible to all students who have the ability to succeed at the University. It is exciting to see students with insurmountable disadvantages can study at Cambridge for many years to come. I feel very proud of the bold move that my University has taken to make the campus an even more excellent, inclusive, and reflective of wider society.

About The Edge

The Edge Learning Center is Hong Kong’s premier Test Preparation, Academic Tutoring, and Admissions Consulting services provider. Founded in 2008, The Edge has helped thousands of students improve their ACT and SAT scores as well as their IB and AP grades. The AC team has just finished off another successful period in which students gained acceptance to schools such as Columbia, Yale, UChicago, and more! Check out our latest Admissions Results!