Image by Janet McKnight

Reported by Ben Blackburn

St Benet’s Hall will not be allowed to admit new undergraduates for Michaelmas 2022 because of serious financial difficulties.

St Benet’s Hall will not be allowed to admit undergraduates for October next year because of uncertainty about its financial situation. The decision, revealed in a joint statement from Oxford University and St Benet’s Hall, follows changes in the relationship between the Benet’s and its founding organisation Ampleforth Abbey.

The statement confirms that: “discussions are ongoing, but it has become clear that the Hall’s financial prospects are so uncertain that the University cannot be confident that the Hall can support a new undergraduate cohort for the full duration of their studies from the next academic year.” 

It also states that “safeguards” are being put in place to ensure that the studies of current students will continue undisrupted. Applicants to St Benet’s Hall this year will be considered alongside applicants to other colleges and will “suffer no disadvantage in their application to the University”.

St Benet’s Hall is a Permanent Private Hall (PPH) run by The St Benet’s Trust, operating under licence from the University of Oxford. It was founded by Benedictine monks from Ampleforth Abbey in 1897 with the intention of enabling Ampleforth’s monks to study in Oxford. Until recently, the PPH was wholly owned by Ampleforth Abbey, but reporting by The Oxford Student suggests that the PPH has taken steps towards separating from the abbey, resulting in their current financial difficulties.

No announcement has been made with regards to postgraduate admissions, but “discussions are ongoing with St Benet’s about options for the next academic year, including whether it can admit and provide accommodation for a new cohort of postgraduate students”. No reduction in undergraduate places available at Oxford is expected.

The Oxford Blue has contacted St Benet’s Hall for comment.

Update 18/12: A previous version of this article indicated that St. Benet’s Hall will not be able to admit undergraduates “from 2022,” and this was reflected in the title. Both the title and the article have been amended to indicate that the Hall will not be admitting undergraduates “for 2022,” as the change to admissions policy is hoped to be temporary.