A gift from a graduate worth £300,000 is helping the University to ensure fair access for all the brightest and best potential students, regardless of their personal circumstances.

Martin Devenish, who graduated from the University in 1986, made the donation to support the Access to Birmingham (A2B) scheme by funding scholarships of £1,200 per year for up to 125 students over the next five years. A2B targets young people in the West Midlands with the ability, potential and commitment to attend university but who might struggle to achieve the grades required due to educational and social disadvantage.

Through the scheme, the University aims to support and encourage the transition to higher education. A2B applicants must complete a student shadowing experience, an online study skills module and an academic piece of work as part of their application process to the University.

‘Students from more challenging state schools, with no family history of higher education, often do not have the support to achieve top A-level grades or even aspire to higher education,’ explains Martin, a Managing Director at global investment bank Goldman Sachs. ‘A2B works to raise aspirations of less privileged students and ensure no one is dissuaded from applying to Birmingham because of their personal circumstances.’

A2B Officer, Anne Snell says: ‘This is a very generous gift.  The Devenish Scholarships will help less privileged students make their aspirations a reality.’

In addition to Martin Devenish’s £300,000 gift, the A2B scheme will receive a financial contribution from the Goldman Sachs matching gift program.

Earlier this year, the University was delighted to receive generous gifts from the Goldman Sachs Foundation and the Sutton Trust. The gifts will fund three years of Academic Enrichment Programmes that will begin in autumn 2007. Targeting high-achieving but disadvantaged Year 12 students in the West Midlands, the programme includes a summer school, mentoring and revision sessions.  It is hoped that these students will apply to the University through A2B and may take up a Devenish Scholarship.