Stormzy has said Oxford University turned down his offer to fund scholarships for black students, leading him to take his proposal to Cambridge.
The grime artist, 25, told an audience at London’s Barbican Centre on Wednesday that Oxford bosses rejected a fund for four places over two years.
“We tried Oxford but they didn’t want to get involved,” Stormzy said, according to the Guardian.
Stormzy reached an agreement with Cambridge to fund two undergraduate places a year for two years, including a fund for maintenance. The first set of scholarships was awarded last month.
Oxford and Cambridge, known together as Oxbridge, have been accused of failing to ensure they are accessible to non-white applicants.
Latest figures showed the proportion of black and minority ethnic students among those from the UK was 17.9%.
However, it was revealed last year that some Oxbridge colleges did not admit a single black student.
David Lammy, the Tottenham Labour MP, said Oxford’s apparent rejection suggested the institution was “getting too big for its boots”.
Stormzy has spoken before about his ambition to attend Oxford, saying in 2016: “It was my dream to come to Oxford and study political science. I always thought Oxford is better [than Cambridge] anyway, it’s got a ring to it.”
Oxford University denied it had been approached by Stormzy regarding the scholarship scheme.
“We admire Stormzy’s commitment to inspire and support black students to succeed in higher education. We have not received or turned down any offer or proposal to fund undergraduate scholarships at Oxford,” a spokesperson said.
“We have contacted to Stormzy’s representatives today to clarify we would welcome the opportunity to work together on inspiring students from African-Caribbean heritage to study at Oxford.”
This article has been updated with Oxford University’s response.