Race by Alperton woman to raise £18k for Oxford University fees

Rachael Owhin

Rachael Owhin - Credit: Archant

Receiving an offer from one of the nation’s most prestigious educational institute would be considered as a crowning for most people.

Rachael Owhin

Rachael Owhin - Credit: Archant

This was indeed the case for Rachael Owhin, from the Abbey Estate, in Alperton, who leapt for joy after fighting off stiff competition to become one of only 48 students worldwide chosen to study Migration Studies at Oxford University.

Joy quickly turned into dismay as the 23-year-old soon realised that she would be unable to foot her £18,110 tuition fees.

What’s more, the devout Christian is now in a race against time raise the funds as the university requires the money in full by Monday (September 1) -prior to the start of the course.

She said: “When I first found out that I had been accepted, I was over the moon. I had been working hard for this so it was a proud moment.”

She continued: “It’s a shame that even in the UK, students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, like myself, need a leg up in order to level the playing field in employment and academia.”

So far, Ms Owhin, has saved £6,000 and family members have given her a total of £2,000 towards the cost -but is still left with a shortfall of more than £10,000.

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Desperate to find funds, having failed to secure a scholarship or come up with an alternative arrangement of payment with the university, she launched a public appeal on August 21 via fundraising website hubbub.

She hopes to raise the five-figure sum within ten days, to meet the university’s deadline.

Her story has captured the hearts of scores across the capital and the UK.

Attracting over 150 individual donations, the #OXFORD10000 appeal has raised more than £9,000 – just £1,000 shy of her target.

She said: “I am so shocked by the amount of support I have received and extremely thankful for those who dug deep into their pocket to donate.”

Ms Owhin spent a year at the renowned Spelman College, in America, where she met media mogul Oprah Winfrey, during her four years studying Law with American Studies at Sussex University.

She said: “Meeting Oprah was amazing. She is an inspirational figure to me and many others particularly in the black community.”

Ms Owhin, aspires to become a professor who works to help people from ethnic deprived backgrounds to follow successful career paths.

“It’s a tragedy that academically gifted students are unable to realise their dreams due to financial circumstances. If you have the ability, nothing should stand in the way of you achieving your potential,” she said.

An Oxford University spokesman said over a thousand scholarships were offered to masters and doctoral students for the upcoming academic year.

He continued: “But for the many aspiring graduate students who do not receive scholarships, it can be very difficult to find the money for their studies and we hope that more can be done at a national level to ensure postgraduate study is open to all.”

To donate visit https://hubbub.net/p/Oxford10000/.

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