Support the Kennedy Memorial Trust

The Kennedy Memorial Trust sent the first Kennedy Scholars to the USA in 1966. Since then, more than 550 Kennedy Scholars have benefited from the unique opportunity to experience the dynamic intellectual environment of two of the best universities in the United States. The Trust’s original ethos remains today - to promote public service and support academic excellence in the arts, humanities, and sciences. Accordingly, Kennedy Scholars have gone on to build distinguished careers in a wide variety of fields.

The Trust works hard to increase awareness throughout the UK university sector of the opportunities a Kennedy Scholarship can offer, and to encourage applications from students of all backgrounds.

The need for support

The challenging economic climate of the early 2000s and the rising costs of higher education in the United States have placed strains on the Trust’s finances. Where in 2005-6 the average cost of supporting one student for a year was $54,800, the figure now stands at close to $88,000 for those receiving a full scholarship.

The Trustees have taken steps to contain costs as far as possible. Between 2009 and 2011, the Trustees experimented with reducing the number of scholarships awarded from an average of ten per year to six, so as to help preserve funding for future generations. This meant turning down an increasing number of well-qualified and impressive current applicants, however, and the Trustees decided upon review to ensure at least ten scholarships were awarded per year. In 2017, the Trustees introduced means-testing of the stipend portion of the award, identifying those Scholars who are able and willing to contribute to their living costs. Doing so has realised substantial savings, but it has not fundamentally changed the Trust’s financial situation.

In order to attract the very best applicants and provide them with a life-changing opportunity to study in the United States, we need your support. Scholarships for UK graduates to study in the US have always been far fewer than those available to US graduates to study in the UK. It is important that Kennedy Scholarships continue to be well represented in the total number of such scholarships offered by UK charitable trusts.

Moreover, British students are now graduating with a heavy debt burden. It is more important than ever that the Trust is able to offer full scholarships to those with financial need, so as to meet the very substantial fees at Harvard and MIT, and give a stipend which is generous enough to enable Scholars to benefit fully from the opportunity of living and studying in the US.

Our goals

It is our aim to support ten Scholars a year, a number which we believe has the right critical mass to ensure that the Kennedy Scholarship programme continues to flourish and grow in reputation. Annual donations can help us to fund the shortfall year on year, and to reduce the demand on the endowment, which will otherwise be exhausted by 2035-2040 on current projections. In the longer term, we need to increase our endowment significantly in order to fund this number of awards on a permanent basis.

Your support

With your help, the Kennedy Memorial Trust can achieve its goals. Any contribution you are able to offer - substantial or modest - will ensure that the Trust can continue to promote public service and support academic excellence through the awarding of these prestigious and transformative scholarships.

Scholar Profiles
Anthony Purnell, 1981
"The Scholarship was... the catalyst to a career that has exceeded my wildest dreams."
Anthony Purnell, 1981