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The University of St Andrews is to establish a new scholarship in honour of two of its graduates, Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton.

The scholarship will be presented as a wedding gift to the couple when they visit the University today (Friday 25 February 2011) to launch its 600th Anniversary Campaign.

The visit will be Prince William’s first in his role as Patron of the St Andrews 600th Anniversary Fundraising Campaign and the couple’s first official engagement in Scotland.

A substantial focus of the £100 million Campaign is to raise new funds for scholarships, to ensure that a St Andrews education is accessible to all bright students, regardless of background or circumstance. In total, the university is aiming to raise £13 million towards new scholarships and support for students.

The scholarship to be awarded in honour of Prince William and Miss Middleton will be open to applicants of all nationalities. It will have a value of up to £70,000 and will meet the costs of tuition, if payable, accommodation and living expenses for a four-year undergraduate degree at St Andrews in Science, Arts, Medicine or Divinity.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to a student who without such financial support would otherwise have been unable to attend St Andrews.

The gift will be presented to the couple today on behalf of the students and staff of St Andrews by the University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson. She said:

“This will be the first scholarship of its kind at St Andrews and a reflection of this university’s commitment to ensure that we find, attract and support the most gifted students from anywhere in the world.

“It will guarantee that a high quality Scottish higher education can be available to any citizen of the world, that a lack of means need not be a barrier to study and that bright students who might otherwise have been unable to go to university can fulfil their potential.

“We were very pleased to make the offer of this scholarship as a wedding gift to Prince William and Miss Middleton and absolutely delighted that they have graciously accepted.”

The University of St Andrews 600th Anniversary will span three calendar years from 2011 to 2013. It marks the formal charter granted by Bishop Henry Wardlaw in February 1411 and the achievement of full university status conferred by Pope Benedict XIII by Papal Bull in 1413.

During today’s visit, Prince William and Miss Middleton will attend a reception at University House and visit the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA), where they will be shown the surviving Papal Bull. A gathering of 600 staff and students will await the couple in the historic St Salvator’s Quadrangle, where Prince William will unveil a plaque to mark the launch of the 600th Anniversary.

Prince William and Miss Middleton met at the University of St Andrews and both graduated in 2005. Prince William graduated with an honours degree in Geography and Miss Middleton with an honours degree in History of Art.