UCD Champions “Opening Doors” Alumni Fund

“I feel guilty for going onto third level education and not staying back home to help out more, But I’ve realised that once I qualify in Medicine I will be able to lift my family out of the hole we’ve found ourselves in. I’m lucky that my sister is only 11, so by the time she is ready to go to university I hope I will be able to support her.”

Did you know that if you attended secondary school in Dublin 6 today, you would have a 99% probability of going on to 3rd level education?*

The decision to go to university would be in your hands. For many young people in Ireland today however, going to university is simply not an option. In DEIS** school areas throughout Ireland, only 12% of students progress to third level. That’s on average: for many schools the number is even lower.

We want to change this so that young people like Anna who has shared her story with us in the hope of demonstrating the impact alumni support is having.  

“My father died when I was younger, so it has always been just my mum and I looking after my little sister. It has always been a struggle and my mother works two jobs just to support us. However in July of last year we had to leave our home because it was being sold by our landlord and since then we have been in and out of emergency accommodation across four different counties. We were lucky that our landlord let us stay in the house until I finished my Leaving Cert but it has been hard moving around different towns to find a new shelter to stay in, not knowing which county we will even be in.

I had always wanted to go onto study medicine at university and I know I can make it through this course. I really want to thank the graduates who supported this scholarship; you have no idea the difference this has made to me and my family.”

UCD Scholarship students like Anna are exceptional people. They have made real sacrifices and overcome great hardships to get here and make the most of their time at university. These are students who get involved and who give back. Since coming to UCD, Anna has joined UCD SVP and many UCD Access Scholarship recipients become peer mentors to incoming first year Access Scholarship students.  Many are the first in their families to attend college and they are rarely the last.

But their experiences show that even today, going to university is still a privilege, not a right. And as government funding covers less than 50% of the Universities operational costs. Students like Anna rely on alumni like you to make sure that they don’t fall through the cracks. 

That is why I am asking you. Will you join your fellow classmates and the other UCD Champions and give a deserving student like Anna the gift of a third-level education? Please consider making a monthly donation of €25 – or whatever you can afford towards our UCD Champions ‘Opening Doors’ Alumni Fund?

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*Source: Higher Education Authority (HEA),Consultation Paper Towards the development of a new National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education, 2014 – 2017.

**DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) is a Department of Education and Skills programme, supporting schools in areas of high disadvantage.

All funds raised go towards supporting the student experience through scholarships, library books and other essential student facilities and supports. 0% is spent on administration costs.