Ex-Queen Mary student heading to Cambridge after scooping £20k from student loan firm

Hannah Gaffey is off to Cambridge University. Picture: Grace McCaffrey

Hannah Gaffey is off to Cambridge University. Picture: Grace McCaffrey - Credit: eyJpdiI6IkJ4cE9TQ0VhOTR2VkVZNWhSODlpQlE9PSIsInZhbHVlIjoiRWdJZnhPOE5lM1wvZmNFcDhTMU1EZlJPRmx1ZWhZZjhSNTRtMDZDVDhxRGZQVmxHdGZsR05cL1hreGtJTG5uUkVwIiwibWFjIjoiNDU3NDA4ZWY3NjAyNGI5NzlmYTJlNzE1YTBjOTYxNWYzMGE4N2MwNjcxM2MxMzE1ZGFmOWI1MmQxODY3YjBlMyJ9

A volunteer with a place at the University of Cambridge has scooped £20,000 of funding from a student loans company.

Hannah Gaffey, who studied English language and linguistics at Queen Mary, University of London, beat 730 other applicants to win a scholarship from Future Finance.

The 22-year-old, who lived in Mile End and Stepney Green during her degree studies, went on to gain the most supporters out of 15,000 people who took part in a public vote after the firm shortlisted 13 candidates.

Hannah said: "I am incredibly excited to be able to take my place at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, in October. I couldn't have done it without my supporters."

"I am extremely proud to be Future Finance's ambassador because we share the same ethos for education for all, regardless of background or economic situation."

She went on to call for a change in how higher education is funded explaining that paying for studies beyond degree-level excluded many.

Hannah added: "You get excited when you get an offer but as soon as the excitement is over you think, 'How will I get the money to pay for it?'

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The scholarship will make a great difference paying towards £11,400 of tuition fees and £11,235 in living expenses for Hannah's MPhil in education, globalisation and international development.

"For me and my friends, it isn't an amount of money we would usually be able to pay," she said.

Hannah, originally from Salford, is currently volunteering for the Red Cross in Norway. She has also carried out work with charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, CoppaFeel! and the Meningitis Research Foundation.

As part of her winning bid, Hannah launched her own fundraising campaign, #TeesforFees, celebrating the women who inspire her.

She also sold T-shirts and tote bags to raise an additional £600 towards her education.

Olga Dolchenko, Future Finance CEO, said: "Hannah's story stood out to us because she shares our passion for making education accessible to all.

"Her commitment to furthering her education is not just supported by all of the team, but also to the thousands of people who voted for her.

"It is a privilege to be able to bridge the funding gap allowing Hannah to concentrate on her studies."