AN Old Trafford university - backed by Man United's famed Class of 92 - is set to dish out cash aid to help those affected by the coronavirus crisis get into higher education or remain there.

Gary Neville and the fellow United legends behind the University Academy 92 - which is backed by Lancaster University - are offering 92 'gifts' of £5,000 to existing and would-be undergraduates.

Their support, they hope, will enable learners to concentrate on their studies instead of being put off following an academic route because of money worries.

With a climbing unemployment benefits claimant rate in Greater Manchester, the scheme is aimed at current and prospective students.

If more than 92 people apply for the Kickstart Grants, which are aimed at enabling those who are out of work or on reduced income, due to the virus, to study for a degree or short course at the university, they want to provide for them.

Gary Neville said: “We’re entering a precarious time, people are unsure and unemployment is going to get higher. It’s been an incredibly challenging time for everyone, no-one has been here before, it’s unique.

“Manchester has a long history of facing difficult times with positivity and we want to get people thinking it’s the right time, support them to live more comfortably and reassure them that UA92 can be there for them.

“The international student market has been obliterated and the domestic market is uncertain. A cloudiness has appeared in these last few months. We want to ease that pressure and give that opportunity.”

Ryan Giggs added: “One of our main drivers in setting up UA92 has been to break down the barriers many people face to gaining higher level skills.

“We want people that might not have had the most privileged start to gain outstanding qualifications and unlock new career opportunities.”

A number of students due to start university in September are considering deferring their places for a year across the UK due to health and safety concerns and fears they will miss out on the full university experience.

Gary added: “We want to support people’s ambition, provide that opportunity. That’s a founding principle for us as UA92, opportunity and equal opportunity.

“We all went to state schools and we’re all from Greater Manchester boroughs, university wasn’t our experience. We were coached for 20 years by a risk taker, who would do whatever it took to win every match. And that’s our analogy.

“We know that winning at university is having a fantastic experience, the qualification is critical, but having a fantastic experience is equally important.”

He said as the university is less than a year old and they have “space to grow into” on campus, students and staff can make the most of the set-up and provide teaching in person safely from September.

Gary added: “We’ve been teaching online these last couple of months, everyone’s had to, but something was lost in that.

“We’ve adapted well and students have adapted really well, but nothing can replace one to one contact. We said that was important when we started, supporting students with face to face, personal contact, coaching them everyday.

“With our few hundred students, we can operate safely [on campus] with the numbers we’ve got in a way other universities can’t.”

Grants are available across all UA92’s degree and seven-month certificate of higher education courses which include accounting and finance, business, computer science, media and sport.

Anyone that lives in Greater Manchester and who has been financially impacted since March 1 2020 is eligible to apply for a Kickstart Grant. To find out more and apply, visit