An urgent request in these extraordinary times

Students studying in LSE Library
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Dear Alumni, Friends and Partners

I hope you are safe and well. After one of the most unusual academic years in LSE’s history, we look to a changed future under different and difficult circumstances. It is in light of this new global reality that I invite you to provide urgent support for our students as we approach our 125th anniversary.

COVID-19 has affected the lives and livelihoods of billions of people globally, causing heartache and loss. Millions of people have been affected in previously unimaginable ways. It has also exposed fragility in healthcare systems and policymaking while exacerbating existing inequalities.

The pandemic has sent shockwaves through higher education institutions, too – especially globally-minded universities like LSE. It is the biggest crisis higher education has ever faced.

At LSE we are a lean organisation, and we invest our resources very carefully. Since COVID-19 entered our world, we have reduced the School operating budget by 10%, delayed some existing and paused all new capital projects, and paused on hiring staff. But we will still need to take a loan to see us through the next financial year.

We rely on our students – and the world relies on the LSE alumni they become. The diversity of our student community is also integral to who we are and the impact LSE has on the world. Health issues, visa uncertainty and travel restrictions have been compounded by shrinking budgets and increased financial pressure on many families and individuals. Many talented offer-holders from the UK and around the world need funding to take up their place at LSE.

We are committed to providing over £18 million a year in scholarship and bursary support, which includes generous philanthropic support from alumni, friends and partners. But, as things stand, this will not be enough.

For full context, I am sharing with you the challenge we face for the new academic year:

  • Of our 2020/21 undergraduate and postgraduate offer holders, 37% have requested financial support to-date
  • We can only support 14% of these prospective students.

As a result, brilliant students will be unable to take up the offer to study at LSE unless additional funding is made available. Are you able to help us support bright, ambitious and committed young people to ensure they can continue to plan their futures around the lifetime of opportunity enabled by an LSE education?

You will also be helping LSE to shape the post-pandemic future

The impact of COVID-19 will be felt across every aspect of society, economy, politics, and culture for generations to come. Social sciences are vital to understanding these effects, and how we can shape a better future. Our research and expertise are already shaping the global response to COVID-19. We continue to educate brilliant students – future leaders from diverse backgrounds who will rebuild communities in the decades to come.

Please consider making a gift today to the Student Support Scholarship Fund to help mitigate the extraordinary challenges faced by this year’s offer holders. Each and every gift will make a great difference.

Your support will deliver immediate impact and a lasting legacy of creating future world leaders, innovators and community change makers, as we grapple with major global challenges through and post COVID-19, and confront inequality and injustice for the betterment of society.

I am deeply appreciative of anything you can do to provide scholarship support for our students. It has never been so important, and we are immensely grateful.

Minouche Shafik
Director, LSE

PS A gift of any size will help immensely. All gifts received before 31 August 2020 will enable the School to support incoming students and let them take up their places with crucial and life-changing scholarships.

To make a gift today please visit lse.ac.uk/support-students, scan the QR code below or email regulargiving@lse.ac.uk. Thank you.

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