Students supported with world’s first crowdfunded accommodation scholarship

Named Living the Dream, the scholarship is designed to support the students against increasing university costs, particularly when overseas. The programme is funded by the student community worldwide using a social growth model, so it will grow as Uniplaces does, with every booking made on the company’s website resulting in £1 for the fund.

A pilot trial has been launched to provide five students – one of whom will be from the UK – the opportunity to fund their residency for the rest of this semester. Scholarship applications can be made by students with a video submission of them carrying out a random act of kindness on campus to make the university life better for their peers, while smaller acts will result on other rewards throughout the year.

Some of the suggestions Uniplaces has already received include topping up a housemate’s travel card or organising furniture swap shops.

International Random Acts of Kindness Week ran from 9-13 February and UK airline Jet2 embraced the scheme by providing 180 passengers with personalised gifts upon their arrival on British soil.

Uniplaces is expecting an increasing number of bookings this year, which will result in more students gaining access to the scholarship over time.

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Ben Grech, co-founder, Uniplaces, said: “The financial pressures of moving somewhere new are a barrier for many students. At Uniplaces, we’re passionate about increasing student mobility across the globe and empowering students to have a healthy and happy experience at university.

“The Living the Dream Scholarship is testament to our commitment to breaking down social and geographical barriers for students. It offers the chance of financial support while at the same time inspiring students to be extra nice to each other from day to day.

“Uniplaces believes everyone should feel they have a place at university, and every element of this campaign is designed to help not just those who obtain scholarships, but anyone who comes into contact with an act of kindness. It’s a simple mechanic that really brings our mission to life and encourages students to make their campuses welcoming for everyone.”

Applications can be made via http://scholarship.uniplaces.com until Friday 10 April, while anyone is able to vote for favourite acts or donate to the scholarship fund. Winners will be revealed on Tuesday 14 April after being chosen by a Uniplaces judging panel.

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