The chairman of a venture capital fund that focuses on technology start-ups has donated £75 million to help fund poor undergraduates studying at the University of Oxford.
Michael Moritz, chairman of Sequoia Capital, and his wife Harriet Heyman want the money to go towards funding all the living costs and most of the tuition fees of less well-off undergraduates studying the sciences, such as computer science, maths or engineering.
Moritz’s company has previously backed the likes of Google, PayPal and Yahoo.
The donation is dependent on the Oxford matching the amount from its endowments and from raising £150 million in further donations, bringing the total funding for poor students to £300 million.
One hundred students will benefit from the fund this year, increasing to 1,000 a year once the full amount of funding is available.
Eligible students will be those who live in the UK and who come from families earning less than £16,000 a year. Each scholarship will be worth £11,000 a year, half of which will be for tuition fees, and the other half for living costs.
This means that beneficiaries will only need to borrow £3,500 each year, instead of £9,000 for the tuition fees that will be charged from October. In addition, students will be offered internships during the summer vacation.
In return for the scholarships, students will be asked to mentor school children and give talks at state schools
Moritz studied history at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1973-76. In 2008, he donated £25 million to the college, the largest single donation in its history.
In May, Moritz told his colleagues that he was stepping down from managing Sequoia Capital on a daily basis, after being diagnosed with an incurable, rare medical condition.