Santander UK launches £1 million scholarship scheme as part of new education and skills programme

Santander UK has today launched a new £1 million university scholarship programme that will help 100 students from under-represented groups with annual grants of £10,000 over three years(1).

The programme is open to students at Santander’s 75 university partners and combines financial assistance to cover the cost of studying as well as access to networks, internships, and dedicated mentors to help build essential work-ready skills and confidence.

The scheme is part of Santander’s ambitious education and skills programme which aims to help people access the educational opportunities and skills they need to fulfil their true potential. This could be through university, internships, learning new skills or by starting a business. 

In addition to the new scholarship scheme, Santander’s programme of action will include:

  • 1,000 students a year supported through paid internships with small and medium-sized businesses, enabling them to gain crucial work experience and helping fuel the growth of local businesses that are the backbone of our economy;
  • A new online Learning Room(6) to help people who are already in the workplace to access the information and materials they need to learn new skills and retrain. Over the next few years, we hope this will support one million people to gain the skills which will be essential in a world where the pace of digital change is rapid;
  • In a pioneering move, MK:U - Britain’s new model, digital and technical university – will work with us in the heart of our new headquarters in Milton Keynes, a partnership which will help us to develop the skills of the future for our staff and the local community. We will also be investing over £1m in working with local businesses to help them reskill and upskill workers; and
  • Finally, we will continue to offer equity-free seed funding to 500 student start-up businesses a year to support the new spirit of entrepreneurship we see among so many young people. Student start-ups will also now be able to access expert mentors, support and training. This builds on our existing Santander X global entrepreneurship programme which helps businesses access clients, talent and finance. Since 2007, Santander UK has provided over £18m to support university entrepreneurship, helping over 40,000 students develop, launch and accelerate businesses.

William Vereker, Santander UK Chairman, said: “Santander has a long heritage and involvement in education and skills, and we recognise that the challenges our country is facing requires a new approach if we are to develop the skills tomorrow’s workforce will need. 

“We all have different backgrounds, different skills, different aspirations. Our new programme is designed to help thousands of people to fulfil their potential - whether they’re a budding entrepreneur with a great business idea, someone in mid-career who is looking to reskill or a young person from an under-represented community who dreams of going to university.

“We are committed to creating real opportunities, transforming lives and helping to drive economic prosperity across the UK.”

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Notes to Editors: 
1)    The new Scholarship programme will support 100 undergraduate students throughout the duration of their studies with consistent funding of £10k p.a. over three years, a series of employability training and development sessions and a dedicated mentor to guide them through the programme. Santander Universities’ partner universities will be guaranteed at least one scholar. The £30,000 funding includes £10,000 per academic year (£8,500 annual bursary and a £1,500 personal development grant). 

2)    Applicants must be aged 18 or older and be full-time undergraduate students at one of Santander Universities’ partner universities, completing their undergraduate course in 2025. Any degree discipline is welcome. Applications will open on 22 November 2022 and close on January 31, 2023. Students can apply for the programme here: Santander Scholarships (

3)    Applicants must self-identify as part of at least one of the following under-represented groups (Guidance has been taken from the Office for Students’ existing list of under-represented groups.)
a.    Students from areas of low higher education participation, low household income or low socioeconomic status
b.    Black, Asian and minority ethic students
c.    Mature students
d.    Disabled students
e.    Care experienced students
f.    Carers
g.    Students estranged from their families
h.    Students from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities
i.    Refugees
j.    Students from military families
Please note this information is only used to determine eligibility and for reporting purposes, not assessment.

4)    The scholarship programme will be administered in the Santander Aspire webstore. The webstore provides students across the UK with access to books, hardware, software and equipment and is owned/operated by J S Group, a delivery partner for Santander Universities.

5)    Santander Universities will make available 1,000 fully paid internships p.a. for the next three years. The internships will allow students to work in SMEs across the UK. These internships will be paid at the National Living Wage and London Living Wage levels.

6)    Santander Learning Room is an online learning platform that will enable UK adults to continually learn. The platform contains 10,000 learning assets including a range of podcasts, audiobooks, eBooks, videos, courses and more. Platform users will have access to four items per month for free. The site can be accessed here: Learning Room (

7)    MK:U is Britain’s new model, digital and technical university and is Santander’s strategic education partner. This partnership will see MK:U deliver training in our new headquarters, Unity Place, for our staff and the local community. In addition, Santander will make available £1m of apprenticeship levy funding for use by local businesses to upskill/reskill their staff, beginning in 2023. MK:U is delivered in partnership by Cranfield University – the lead higher education provider – Milton Keynes City Council and the Milton Keynes Development Partnership.

8)    Santander Universities will continue to work with c. 500 student starts ups per year, helping them to launch and accelerate. Each business will receive a share of £1.1m p.a. in equity free seed funding alongside access to networks, the global Santander X community (Santander X I Helping businesses prosper) and Santander Universities annual entrepreneurship competition, one of the biggest of its kind in the UK.