Returning to education as a mature student is a big decision. But Richard Vyse knew it was the only way he could achieve his long-held ambition of working in international child protection supporting refugees.
Things took a difficult turn in his first year when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. Despite this devastating setback, Richard graduated with a first class degree. Thanks to a scholarship, he also went on to complete a Master’s in Law, taking him one step closer towards fulfilling his career goals.
"When I heard I’d got the scholarship, my overwhelming reaction was one of relief more than anything. Without it, I simply wouldn’t have been able to aﬀord to study for my Master’s.
"Receiving the scholarship means having food in the kitchen cupboards. It means being able to get a regular night’s sleep because I’m not worrying about paying council tax. It means not worrying about whether I’ve got enough petrol in the car to get to university. It means not worrying about staying up late to make a packed lunch because I know I have £3.45 to buy a sandwich at the Students’ Union. It’s all those tiny little things that add up.
It’s difficult to convey how much the scholarship has meant to me and to my family. When your bank balance comes down to pennies, every single penny makes a difference. It really does.
LLB Law 2017, LLM Law 2018
"Every little bit of worry that’s taken away has allowed me to concentrate on my studies in a way that
just wouldn’t have been possible without the funds from the scholarship. Not having to worry about unpaid bills and debts mounting up has made a huge diﬀerence.
"Saying “thank you” doesn’t really express the extent of my gratitude. It’s the opportunities I’ve now had and the confidence it’s given me in my own abilities. Getting the scholarship has been recognition that I can do this and that somebody believes in me."
She had the academic ability and ambition to succeed, but money worries were set to prevent Kathryn from achieving her potential. Being awarded a scholarship changed all that.
Since graduating, she’s gone on to become a committed teacher in a struggling school, sharing her love of maths with the next generation of students.
"My student loan only just covered my rent, so I relied on funds from my scholarship to be able to afford to eat and cover everyday living costs. The difference this made to my academic success was huge, meaning I was able to use my time studying rather than taking on extra part time work. It also paid for the equipment and textbooks which I needed for my course.
"I used the money to put a deposit down on accommodation in York for a summer internship too. This was a great help. I didn't have to put pressure on my parents for extra money and I gained some much needed real-world experience.
I wouldn’t have been able to achieve a first class degree without my scholarship. It allowed me to focus on my studies without crushing financial pressures and stresses.
BSc Mathematics 2012
"The scholarship also meant that when I was really feeling the pressure I could go home and see my family in North Wales - train fares are expensive!
"Receiving a scholarship set off a chain of events that led me to excel academically and now professionally. It enabled me to gain a first class honours degree, which then allowed me to access an additional teacher training scholarship for my PGCE. I adore teaching - sharing my passion for maths makes me really happy and I hope to inspire some of my students to study it at university like I did."
With a passion for aircraft and a talent for maths and sciences, Akinmi set his sights on going to university and becoming an engineer.
But he had caring responsibilities at home in Newcastle and worries about money were holding him back. Thanks to the financial support offered by the University of Sheffield, he made the leap and accepted his place to study Aerospace Engineering.
"As the first in my family to go to university, I wasn’t sure what it would be like or what challenges I’d face when I got there. Thankfully, the scholarship meant that money wouldn’t be one of them. Growing up with my Mum and two younger brothers, financial stress was a big burden. Knowing I’d have support in Sheffield was a massive relief.
"My course is intense with a particularly full timetable, but I’ve been able to make it my top priority. I don’t have to work long hours in my part-time job and during exams, I can reduce other commitments without worrying about the impact on my monthly budget. The student loan doesn’t cover my living costs. I’m certain that my studies would be affected if I didn’t have the scholarship to help fill that gap.
“Being awarded a scholarship allowed me to take my place at Sheffield with more confidence that I’d be able to complete the degree.”
BEng Aerospace Engineering student
"I’ve made so many friends here and had the chance to pursue my hobbies and take part in lots of new activities. One of the highlights was performing in Sheffield Cathedral with the Acapella Society, which was amazing.
"I’m now using some of my scholarship to pay for travel to conferences and interviews for placements. I hope this experience will help me achieve my ambition of working in the aerospace industry designing the next generation of military aircraft."