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U.K. universities launch new scholarship for top students

A consortium of 16 universities in the United Kingdom said Tuesday that it was launching a 1 million pound ($1.6 million) scholarship scheme to attract brightest Korean students to the country.

From left: Ken Gil, CEO of NCUK; Gosia Wells, director of the international office at the University of Sheffield; Piera Gerrard, NCUK marketing director; Kim Jee-young, managing director of the IEN Institute; Martin Fryer, director of the British Council Korea; and NCUK Asia-Pacific director Paul Turner (The British Council)
From left: Ken Gil, CEO of NCUK; Gosia Wells, director of the international office at the University of Sheffield; Piera Gerrard, NCUK marketing director; Kim Jee-young, managing director of the IEN Institute; Martin Fryer, director of the British Council Korea; and NCUK Asia-Pacific director Paul Turner (The British Council)

The competitive scheme launched by the Northern Consortium (NCUK) will be open to top performing students at the NCUK’s International Foundation Year. The IFY is a one-year bridging program provided by the International Education Network that prepares high school students for their first year of a U.K. undergraduate degree.

“We are delighted to open up exciting opportunities to young people who are just starting out on their career paths. This scholarship scheme is the start of a major new initiative by our U.K. universities and our partner, IEN, to invest in the next generation of young people who are starting out in their own pursuit of success,” said NCUK CEO Ken Gill.

The new scheme was launched to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the NCUK, an education charity which works with international students via education centers in 11 countries. The consortium has major universities like Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol and Birmingham as its members.

A total of 57 scholarships will be given to students of the IFY. Each student will receive 5,000 pounds per year for the three-year undergraduate degree, while an additional 2,000 pounds will be awarded by the IEN to five high-achieving applicants of the IFY. This means top achieving students will receive up to 17,000 pounds for a three-year stay at a member university.

All students who enroll in the IFY in April or September of 2015 are eligible for the program.

In addition to the Anniversary Scholarship, students will also be able to apply for NCUK Leadership Program, a two-year program running from the second year of students’ undergraduate degree. This will be available for 20 of the Anniversary Scholarship winners, and the NCUK is investing 200,000 pounds in the program.

Top achievers can also apply for separate scholarships provided by each university.

Officials said they hoped that the new program would lead more of Korea’s top students to consider studying in the U.K.

“The U.K. Government values Korean students highly and so of course we are delighted by this initiative,” said Martin Fryer, director of the British Council. “Over the last 4 years, there has been a 9 percent increase in numbers according to the latest data provided by the Higher Education Statistical Agency, and we fully endorse this collaborative scheme, which we hope will support this trend.”

The NCUK said it will make similar announcements in two more countries in the coming month, and speculated that about 1,000 students from the three countries would be competing for the scholarships.

While the NCUK did not indicate the proportion of Korean students in the overall number of scholarship recipients in previous programs, it said that Korean students such as Park Jeong-eun -- a top achieving IFY student worldwide -- have excelled in its past programs.

Gil said that he expected “the same high level of performance as we have thus far from Korean students.”

By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)
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