Legacy gifts: Keeping education accessible to all
Beryl Williams was an undergraduate in the 1950s, when just 10% of young men and women went to university. Coming from a working class family, Beryl was able to study at Sussex only because she received a full grant.
In 1963 she joined Sussex as an assistant lecturer in history, by which time funding opportunities for her students were very different from when she was studying.
All students qualified for a full grant of £380 per year, which today equates to over £7,500 per year towards maintenance and living costs. This support allowed thousands of people from low-income backgrounds to gain access to a university education.
Today, most students have to pay for their entire course and living costs. For many of those from low-income backgrounds, this means that unforeseen financial difficulties, such as not being able to work because of illness, can force them out of education.
People like Beryl play an immensely important role in the lives of our students, as they are enabling us to work towards a situation where no one at Sussex is forced to leave the University because of financial reasons.
Sussex has changed dramatically since I joined in the 1960s. Students face more challenges now than they ever did, including financial ones. That is why I have pledged a donation in my will to help future students enjoy Sussex, as I did for the 40 years I was there.” Beryl Williams
Rebecca*, who is studying Law at Sussex, suddenly found herself facing the daunting prospect of having to abandon her degree. Thanks to supporters like Beryl, she has been able to continue her course and benefit from everything that Sussex has to offer.
"Despite being healthy most of my life, a recent illness meant that I became unable to support myself while studying. Because I’m estranged from my parents, I had to deal with this new financial situation on my own. That’s when I decided to apply for a hardship grant. I was lucky enough to be awarded it.
"It has made an immeasurable difference to me at an extremely difficult and unsettling time in my life. It’s given me the financial stability I need to finish my degree, and I cannot wait to explore the possibilities that gaining this qualification and experience will bring. Thank you again for giving me this opportunity to prove my dedication and ability."
*Rebecca's name has been changed to protect her identity