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The RCA Fund Launches to Support Students Most in Need

The Royal College of Art has launched a funding initiative to ensure that the most talented artists and designers can access an RCA education regardless of background or financial circumstance.

The RCA Fund aims to improve all aspects of the RCA student experience by providing financial support to those who need it most. This year’s focus is on scholarships for pre-entry applicants and bursaries to enable first-year students to complete their studies. As the Fund grows, it will support activity across the College including research projects, material costs, travel bursaries, studio renovations and capital developments.

A campaign launched over the weekend, with the College's first annual ‘telethon’ that will run until 22 May. A team of current students will aim to reconnect alumni with their alma mater, and find out about their RCA experience and career trajectory since leaving. The team will introduce the theme of the campaign, 'imagination without barriers’, asking 'what if we could create an RCA where imagination had no barriers? And, ‘what if the majority of students at the RCA were offered scholarships?'

According to Chris Green, Annual Giving Manager at the RCA, bursaries awarded from previous alumni donations have already enabled ten first-year students to be able to complete their studies at the RCA instead of deferring or dropping out altogether.

‘Support can ease the financial pressure on students and reduce the need to work long hours in external jobs to fund their studies. As well as helping existing students with bursaries, we want to encourage new, emerging artists and designers to apply. By offering full pre-entry scholarships we can enable those who have the talent but not the financial sustenance to be able to accept a place at the College rather than turn it down purely for financial reasons,’ he said.

By alleviating financial hardship, the fund allows students to engage fully with their course, improving academic quality. An award from the RCA Fund can be the difference between a student being able to take up a place at the College or having to decline it for purely financial reasons, Ceramics & Glass student, Harumi Foster, explained.

'As I am a lone parent with a young child, my time at the College is already very challenging. If I didn’t receive the scholarship, I would have to sacrifice my study/practice time for working to earn money. It has made my life easier, especially mentally – just to be nominated for receiving the award makes me feel confident in my studies and has given me the positive mental strength to continue,’ said Foster.

Louise Annis, an MA Fashion Womenswear student added: 'The RCA Fund saved me from having to postpone my final year of studying at the Royal College of Art. I would have needed to save some extra money, to be able to afford the additional course costs to cover materials, toile development and my final collection. I would have been gutted to postpone for a year and think it would have impacted the momentum I have built and the passion I have for the work and research I have undertaken so far.’

 Click here to find out more about the RCA Fund.