Is It Possible To Study In The UK As An Asylum Seeker?
It is possible to study in the UK as an asylum-seeker or refugee. Children who are asylum seekers or who have refugee status will have equal access to the whole curriculum; this will be tailored to their aptitude, age, and capability, just as well as any special education in the UK. There will be many courses for asylum seekers available in multiple institutions.
Asylum seekers coming to the UK who want to study higher education in the UK can do so. Many colleges in the United Kingdom provide scholarships and university funding to refugees and asylum seekers.
It is advisable to look in the university directory for a list of UK institutions that give scholarships to asylum seekers and refugees, as well as information on the requirements for qualification and financing.
In fact, as part of the Equal Access Campaign, Student Action for Refugees (STAR) encourages universities to provide scholarships for asylum seekers, which allows them to participate in higher education for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK equal to everyone else.
Additionally, there is a worldwide scholarship programme known as the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, which offers financial support to nationals of Commonwealth nations who wish to complete postgraduate studies at a British institution. These individuals must have citizenship or have protection from the UK and live in a UK-developing country.
Student Action For Refugees (STAR)
Over 70 different UK universities offer scholarships to asylum-seeking and refugee students, enabling them to study in the UK. STAR encourages and supports universities to make and maintain scholarship programmes and advertises these opportunities to applicants.
Those who seek asylum in the UK often find themselves locked out of university, many being classified as international students and, as a result, being charged higher fees. As well as this, many are not eligible for student loans and do not have the right to work to earn money to pay for university fees and living costs.
Having equal access to education is a right, as noted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, it is not always the truth for people in the UK who have been forced to flee their home countries due to war and persecution.
Asylum seekers, as well as those with leave to remain from asylum claims, and even some who have lived in the UK their whole lives but have insecure immigration status, find themselves held back in the same way.
For over a decade, STAR has been campaigning for equal access to university scholarships for asylum seekers and refugees. They believe that those seeking sanctuary should not be classified as international students and should be able to access educational facilities to help them rebuild their lives and integrate into society in the UK.
By working together with organisations, STAR has managed to create scholarships at UK universities, enabling refugees and asylum seekers to access higher education. STAR works to provide expert support to scholarship programmes, sharing good practices between university practitioners across the country working to improve institution access.
Thanks to the work of STAR, there are now 70 universities offering scholarships to aid asylum seekers and refugees in accessing higher education.
Refugees and asylum seekers who are interested in higher education can now join online support networks for applying students from a background of asylum-seeking or refugee students across the UK to learn and connect regarding higher education.
As an asylum seeker, you can go to university, yet in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland there will be charges of fees for an international/overseas rate, and you are generally not eligible for student finance. The rules are different in Scotland. Do keep in mind that the above assistance is provided by STAR.
The primary costs of the university include living costs and tuition fees, which include accommodation, food, transport, course costs, and so on.
As an asylum seeker, you will likely have to pay your tuition fees at an overseas or international rate. Depending on the university course and the specific university chosen, the costs may vary. Living costs can also vary; this will depend on the location as well as whether the individual applying needs to pay for accommodation as well as additional factors.
Asylum-seeking students and refugee students should budget for around £1,000 per month as a minimum to cover living costs.
There are ways to finance university scholarships as an asylum seeker, such as:
Many different universities offer scholarships to those who are unable to access student finance due to their immigration status. These will all have varying titles but are often called ‘Sanctuary Scholarships, Article 26 Awards, or Equal Access. These also typically pay tuition fees and can sometimes grant additional funds for living costs.
There are a few different scholarships that are available to those who are unable to get funding in other ways to be able to study in the UK. These include the following:
- Grenfell scholarship.
- Brittan Scholarship.
- Westheimer Scholarship.
- Marks Family Charitable Foundation Scholarship.
Eligibility Criteria For Funding
The individual programme will dictate their eligibility for funding. It is always best that the applicant contact the funding agency directly for funding information. Generally, however, individuals need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- The individual, their partner, or a dependent must be an asylum seeker. Alternatively, the individual must be a temporary resident with DLR status or other temporary status for asylum seekers, dependents, or partners.
- The individual has to be enrolled in a school, college, volunteer organisation, or community that can provide a reference for their application. Or, the individual can identify a local or national charity that can support the funding application.
- Mainstream funding sources such as grants from municipal governments, government benefits, student loans, and government benefits are all unavailable to the individual.
- Unconditional or conditional offers of admission to a programme at a university are a requirement for being eligible to apply for a scholarship.
Additionally, be aware that individuals applying to study at a university will need to fulfil the financing requirements of the organisation they are applying to study at. Many universities and colleges may only accept applicants who live within a reasonable commuting distance.
Applying for university in the UK will have a different process depending on whether you are applying as a postgraduate or undergraduate.
If applying as an undergraduate, it is necessary to apply on the UCAS website. The deadline for applications is January each year. Applicants can apply to up to five different universities through the UCAS applications portal.
It is important that, at this point, the student ensures that the universities they are applying to have scholarships for which they are eligible. If the applicant is unable to meet the deadline for applications in January, they might be able to apply through UCAS Extra, which typically remains open until June 30th.
Students applying from 2023 will be able to benefit from a new section of the application that allows students to share information regarding their circumstances with the college or university. This includes informing the institution about their status as a refugee, asylum seeker, or having limited leave to remain in the UK.
Having this information enables the institution to quickly and easily connect the individual with the appropriate support for their needs. This also enables the institution to ensure that asylum seekers or refugee students have all the information they need.
Alternatively, those who wish to apply for a postgraduate course can apply via the university website directly. Deadlines for postgraduate applications tend to vary; however, it is advisable to ensure that there is plenty of time for the applicant to apply for their scholarship.
Applying for a scholarship will vary depending on the university that the applicant is applying to and the scholarship. However, most of the time, it is essential for the individual to apply for a university course before they can apply for a scholarship.
It is pivotal that the student check the university deadline for applications and give plenty of time to fill out a scholarship application. This is because scholarship applications can be time-consuming to complete.
STAR has some tips for applying for a scholarship. These include:
- Research the university and the scholarship to ensure it is appropriate for you.
- Attend information sessions offered by the university and read online resources.
- Read the application guidance before applying, ensure you have a full understanding of all steps, and complete it plenty of time before the deadline.
- Should you have any questions, always ask the university you are applying to.
- Many universities ask for a supporting statement that explains how the scholarship will help to support future goals, elaborates on barriers to continuing your education, shows how you are prepared for university, and shares your achievements.
- Be sure to have a reference for your application.
Taking the path to pursuing education as an asylum seeker in the UK can be very tricky, and this is why it is advisable to obtain help from a lawyer with expertise in immigration law.
Here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, we offer many services, including:
- Asylum applications and appeals.
- Detained casework.
- Fresh claims.
- Permission to work applications.
- Travel documentation.
- BRP issues.
- Family reunion applications and appeals.
- Applications for permission to appeal
- Errors in law preparation and hearing.
We can help you through the processes of discovering what services are available to you, assisting your asylum claim, aiding you in your granted refugee status, and what to do next. Just give us a call at 0121 667 6530 to get started today.
Last modified on October 27th, 2023 at 12:49 pm
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