The University of Oxford will launch a scholarship scheme for Black graduate students in 2021.

The Black Academic Futures programme will fund 10 UK postgraduates, covering tuition fees and living costs up to £15,000 per year.

The scheme will seek to encourage more Black graduate students to apply to Oxford. Black graduate students currently represent 1.5% of Oxford’s postgraduate body, compared to a figure of 4% across UK universities.

The programme will be funded by the university and a partnership of 9 colleges – Green Templeton, Harris Manchester, Keble, Kellogg, Lady Margaret Hall, Linacre, Mansfield, St Cross and St Peter’s.

In a statement, Professor Martin Williams, pro-vice-chancellor for Education, said that “the university has made important steps in recognising and addressing the issue of graduate access and specifically the under-representation of Black students in academia in recent years, with a broad range of divisional, departmental and college initiatives, including scholarships”.

Oxford’s Law Faculty has also announced scholarships for UK Black and Minority Ethnic postgraduates studying for a doctorate in law.

The announcement comes a week after the University committed to abolishing the controversial graduate application fee by the 2024/25 academic year. The £75 fee has been widely criticised as a barrier to applicants from lower income backgrounds.

The University of Oxford has been contacted for comment.