Policy Governing Gifts from Families of Current and Prospective students

The University is committed to conducting its activities fairly, honestly, and openly in accordance with relevant legislation, and to the highest standards of integrity. This extends to fundraising activities by or on behalf of the University, and to the University’s relationships with students and their close relations.

This document sets out the University’s policy in respect of donations, which may take the form of a gift or a pledge, from current and prospective students or their close relations. This policy does not cover donations made from donors in these categories to Colleges or Permanent Private Halls (PPHs). It is, however, felt to be highly desirable that Colleges and PPHs will choose to adopt the principles it sets out below.

In no circumstances should any donation be accepted or solicited if there is a reasonable likelihood that the acceptance of such a donation might result in actual or perceived influence in decision-making at the University, or improper behaviour by any of its members.

The policy complements and reinforces the University’s admission and examination processes and existing University policies (including, but not limited to, the Bribery and Fraud Policy, the Code of Practice on Academic Integrity in Research and the Relationship Management Protocols for Fundraising across the Collegiate University 2018).

The following definitions are used throughout the policy:

Prospective student

  • An individual who is in active engagement with the University in respect of a particular programme of study. This includes individuals who are actively engaging with the University with a view to application (eg attending Open Days, corresponding with Departments), have a pending application to study at, or who are in receipt of an offer from, the University or one of its colleges or societies[1]

[1] Courses at the Department of Continuing Education which do not give students the opportunity to attain a formal qualification from the University are not covered by this definition.

Current student

  • An individual who has accepted an offer to study, and whose place has been confirmed and taken up
  • An individual who has begun a course of study for a certificate, diploma or degree programme at the University, and who has not received their final results
  • An individual who, while studying at Oxford, has become a candidate for further study (eg taught Masters course, DPhil) 

Family members

  • In addition to the parents and legal guardians of current or prospective students, the policy also applies to other close family relationships including – but not limited to – siblings, grandparents, partners, and spouses. For ease of reference, the term ‘close family’ will be understood to stand for all included by this policy in such a context.

All references to students or close family members in this policy extend to any entity that is wholly or partially controlled by – or on behalf of – such an individual, or over which that individual exerts a material influence (eg foundations, family trusts, companies or partnerships).

Prospective students and close family

The University does not actively solicit donations from a prospective student or any close member of their family (as defined above) during the period in which an application is live, or likely to become live. During this time, philanthropic conversations with new and existing donors should be paused until after the application cycle has been completed. 

Current students

The University does not solicit or accept donations of £500 or more from current students.

Close family

The University may solicit and/or accept donations from close family members of current students providing that all due governance processes are followed and the committees concerned are satisfied that there can be no question of the donor trying to exert influence leading to improper practice. All cases involving donations from close family will require the approval of the Committee to Review Donations and Research Funding (CRDRF).

Particular caution should be exercised by CRDRF in the case of donations offered in support of an area of study with which the student is closely associated and, if necessary, a recommendation should be made that acceptance of the donation in question be postponed.

This policy applies to donations to the University. Under the Relationship Management Protocols for Fundraising across the Collegiate University 2018, colleges and student-led societies are permitted to fundraise from current students (whether undergraduate or graduate), on condition that such fundraising can in no way be interpreted as affecting a student’s academic prospects, or treatment by the college. As indicated earlier in this document, it is hoped that Colleges and PPHs will choose to adopt this policy to ensure greater transparency and consistency across the collegiate University.