The grime artist was speaking at the Barbican in London, where he was launching his book Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far.
“We tried Oxford but they didn’t want to get involved,” Stormzysaid.
An Oxford University spokesperson acknowledged that Stormzy had been in contact but said that at the time it was unclear what the proposal was. The university would welcome the chance to work with him, the spokesperson added.
Explaining why he wanted to launch the scholarship at the book launch, Stormzy said he wanted to find the “genius and incredible minds” within the “badly behaved kids”.
“That is something I take personal pride in. I am always very inspired by that genius and … people who are smarter than me. Now I am in this position I want to do something for them.”
Earlier this year Stormzy, who is 25, revealed he would pay theundergraduate tuition fees for two students this year and two next year to attend Cambridge University, and provide them with maintenance grants, for up to four years.
He said: “If you’re academically brilliant don’t think because you come from a certain community that studying at one of the highest education institutions in the world isn’t possible.”
The Barbican audience reacted with surprise on hearing that Oxford University turned down the opportunity to host the scholarship. On Twitter, the Labour MP David Lammy said:
Stormzy, who won best album at this year’s Ivor Novello awards, has been praised for tackling social injustice, including advocating on behalf of victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. He is funding two places this year and two next year.
A spokesperson for Oxford University said it was committed to widening access and participation for all students from under-represented backgrounds.
“We have not received or turned down any offer or proposal to fund undergraduate scholarships at Oxford. We have contacted 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.”