Santander UK selects 100 scholars for new multi-million pound university scholarship programme

•    100 students from 72 universities across the UK will join the Santander Universities Scholars Programme, which aims to support under-represented students in higher education.
•    Multi-million-pound programme provides each scholar with £30,000 of funding across three academic years.
•    New initiative is a key part of Santander UK’s ambitious education and skills programme.

Santander UK has today announced the 100 students who have been awarded places on the Santander Universities Scholars Programme, a new flagship initiative aimed at supporting higher education students from under-represented groups. 

The multi-million-pound programme provides each of the scholars with £30,000 of funding across three academic years, a dedicated mentor, and access to training and development opportunities. 

This new initiative forms a central part of Santander’s education and skills programme, launched by William Vereker, Santander UK Chairman, in November 2022. It aims to break down barriers for students who are most likely to face challenges when attending higher education and help them to access the educational opportunities and skills they need to fulfil their true potential. 

This year's cohort of scholars represents a diverse community, selected from over 3,500 applicants, each identifying with the Office for Students' list of under-represented groups. 83% of the students come from areas of low higher education participation, have a low household income or a low socioeconomic status, 46% are mature students, 45% come from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, 26% of the scholars classify themselves as disabled and 15% have spent time in the care system. 

Nicole Kolenyo, BS Accounting and Finance at the University of Northampton and one of this year’s Scholars, said: 

“I first heard about the Santander Universities Scholars Programme through my University personal tutor. I decided to take a leap of faith and apply, not thinking I would get accepted. Although the funding is what initially attracted me to this programme, my biggest motivation for applying was seeing Santander present students with opportunities for professional and personal growth. Being a 25-year-old mature student living independently and supporting myself since the age of 16 has never been easy. The financial assistance from this scholarship will help me find new things that stimulate my mind and help with my personal growth.”

Thom Delaney, BA Community Education at the University of Glasgow and one of this year’s Scholars, said:

“I am thrilled to have been accepted for the Santander Universities Scholars Programme. This opportunity will provide a range of benefits including networking, mentorship and international experiences. I am eager to connect with other scholars and industry leaders who share my passion for community development. Having access to a Santander mentor will be invaluable as I navigate my academic and professional career.” 

William Vereker, Santander UK Chairman said:

“I want to say a huge congratulations to our 100 scholars on being selected. We’re excited to be supporting you on your educational journey and helping you build skills for the future. 

At Santander, we believe education unlocks potential, broadens aspirations, and should be equitable and accessible for everyone. Our new scholarship programme is testament to that belief and demonstrates our commitment to breaking down education barriers, improving social mobility, broadening career opportunities, and delivering impactful change to build a better future for all.”

The Santander Universities programme is the bank’s global flagship Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, which has provided over €2bn of support to the Higher Education sector in the past 25 years. Since its UK launch in 2007, Universities around the UK have received over £100 million from Santander to fund education, employability, and entrepreneurship projects, allowing more students as well as businesses prosper.

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Notes to editors


Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 31 December 2022, the bank had around 19,000 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the FCA and the PRA in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the FSCS in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in the Europe, North America and South America regions, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Santander aims to be the best open financial services platform providing services to individuals, SMEs, corporates, financial institutions and governments. The bank’s purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising €220 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2030. At the end of 2022, Banco Santander had €1.3 trillion in total funds, 160 million customers, 9,000 branches and 206,000 employees.