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We are delighted to announce that the 2nd edition of the University of Sanctuary resource pack is now available! The pack has been designed to support universities as they work towards becoming recognised as a University of Sanctuary. It contains case studies, links to resources and recommendations as well as information about accreditation.

To order one or more paper copies of either the resource book or the leaflet, please complete our order form.

                            City of Sanctuary Resources

Disclaimer: The information provided in this section is intended for guidance only. It is not a substitute for professional advice and we cannot accept any responsibility for loss occasioned as a result of any person acting or refraining from acting upon it.

Useful organisations

Useful Resources and Research on Access to Education for people seeking sanctuary 

Education for all

This is Article 26’s comprehensive guide for universities, published in 2014, which aims to assist Higher Education institutions to fully support a student from an asylum seeking background. Using case studies from the real experiences of Article 26 students,  it contains a whole host of  information about the asylum process, a student’s rights and entitlements whilst they are seeking asylum and a list of organisations where universities can access further information, advice and support.

Higher education and displaced people: a guide for UK universities

This report sets out the steps universities are taking to support the needs of displaced learners. It also suggests ways in which they can further enhance their impact working with and for displaced communities.

It draws together existing advice and guidance, and highlights good practice that can be used to inform the development of new strategic approaches to the challenge of access to higher education for displaced learners.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre’s Access to Higher Education fact sheet for refugees and migrants

This fact sheet provides information on access to higher education but applies only to those studying in England.

Refugee Education UK research, policy, factsheets and toolkits

Whether you’re a young refugee or simply someone with an interest in refugee education, this link contains a host of research, toolkits, advice sheets and other resources to help practitioners in their work supporting refugee and asylum-seeking young people’s education. The advice sheets offer practical tips and guidance for individuals and education institutions for overcoming the challenges that young refugees and asylum seekers face during the transition to FE and HE. 

Information about applying to university for people seeking sanctuary 

A written guidance document by STAR (Student Action for Refugees) to help asylum seekers and those with limited leave to remain 

Bursaries, fee waivers, and scholarships:

A complete list of the universities offering scholarships to students with a sanctuary seeking background including eligibility criteria, deadlines, and how much they offer. 

Read more about the support offered by Refugee Education UK here


Where to get help if you think your status is preventing you from accessing higher education:

  • Refugee Education UK – Information related to accessing higher education and an HE advice line to help young asylum seekers, refugees and migrants aged 16-24 to access education.

  • RefuAid – Access to education support including funding for IELTS and English exams.

  • NARIC – Support with recognition and comparison of international qualifications.

  • Cara

    Cara offers persecuted and at-risk academics solidarity, support to reach a place where they can work in safety, and financial and practical help.

  • UKCISA – The UK Council for International Students Affairs provides information and support to students classed as international and can answer questions about your eligibility for student finance and home fee status.

  • UCAS – The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) offers guidance for undergraduate applications, including a guide to applying on UCAS (available in different languages), advice on writing your personal statementadvice for people seeking asylum and refugees, and advice on choosing a reference.

  • The Complete University Guide – Information about applying to university, general funding information, open days and frequently asked questions.

  • Coram Children’s Legal Centre –  Legal advice and casework related to educational law.

  • Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens

  • Migrant Children’s Project Advice Line – Information and legal support about entitlements to education (for young people as well as children).

  • We Belong – Support for young migrants seeking access to university and advice on the long residence category (if you are not a UK national, but have lived in England for a substantial period of your life).

  • Right to Remain – A UK-based human rights organisation that provides information, resources, training and assistance to help people to establish their right to remain, and challenge injustice in the immigration and asylum system.
  • Refugee Action – Support with the asylum process and your entitlements.

What does your status mean for applying to university in the UK?

Raised in the UK – barred from university?

This BBC News article explores the situation facing many young people in the UK who, despite living here for much of their youth, find that they are unable to access student finance, and therefore university. 

What does your status mean for applying to university in the UK?

A brief introduction to what your immigration status might mean for your application to Higher Education in the UK.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre’s fact sheet on applying to university in England

With information on eligibility and how your status affects your application.

Applying for student finance and accessing home fees with Humanitarian Protection: A Toolkit

Produced by Central England Law Centre and Warwick Law in the Community this resource aims to help students with humanitarian protection to navigate the recent changes to their entitlement to home fee status and student finance

After university and other support

  • RETAS – provide assistance with access to education, re-qualification, training and employment to help individuals with a sanctuary seeking background integrate into their communities [Leeds-based].
  • Breaking Barriers – an organisation that helps sanctuary seekers find employment at major companies.
  • TERN – supports refugees to grow their own businesses through offering advice and mentorships.
  • Find Courses – helps to find available funding for vocational courses and professional qualifications.
  • Transitions London matches refugees with appropriate business opportunities for six-month internships that can transition into a permanent job.
  • upReach – help young people achieve their career potential by providing an intensive programme of support that addresses socio-economic barriers to employment.
  • The Refugee Council offer therapeutic services and has a new Infoline in response to pandemic-related needs.
  • Do It has a collection of volunteering opportunities that you can get involved with.

STAR’s Equal Access Campaign Toolkit

STAR’s comprehensive guide on how to campaign for Equal Access to Higher Education for refugees at your university. For more information on the Equal Access campaign, please click here.

To sign up to the Equal Access to Higher Education mailing list to receive updates on higher education opportunities for asylum seekers, refugees and those with limited leave to remain, please click here.

‘Education for All’: A guide for universities by Article 26

This comprehensive guide for universities, published in 2014 aims to assist Higher Education institutions to fully support a student from an asylum seeking background. Using case studies from the real experiences of Article 26 students,  it contains a whole host of information about the asylum process, a student’s rights and entitlements whilst they are seeking asylum, and a list of organisations where universities can access further information, advice and support.

More Article 26 resources here

Students on asylum support: Guidance for universities with scholarships

Student Action for Refugees in partnership with the Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP) to clarify the impact that university scholarships have on individuals who are in receipt of asylum support.

University of Sanctuary Starter Kit – 2020 Conference

This session was designed as a “starter kit” for universities who are interested in becoming a University of Sanctuary. We hear from Newcastle University which was just starting out on the journey, designing an audit to take a sample of the initiatives happening at the university already, and also from a well established University of Sanctuary (St Andrews) to see what we can learn about setting up working groups and strategising. We also hear from a Sanctuary Scholar about the importance of including students from the beginning, all chaired by an experienced member of the UoS Steering Group, Professor Nick Gill. 

Widening Access Good Practice Examples from Scottish Universities

 SCAPP (Scotland’s Community of Access and Participation Practitioners) and Universities of Sanctuary jointly held a second event for practitioners with an interest in improving refugees’ access to Higher Education in Scotland.

44 colleagues from Universities and Third Sector organisations across Scotland attended the event, where widening access good practice examples were presented by:

  • University of St Andrews, Joanna Fry and Harriet Sheridan: experience and learning from welcoming the first cohort of scholarship holders as a new University of Sanctuary
  • University of Glasgow, Martin Irwin and Paula Blair: acting as initial point of contact and information for potential refugee and asylum seeking applicants
  • University of Strathclyde, Louise Martin: mentoring programme for learners who are in the asylum process

STAR Webinar – Developing and maintaining scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers 

A webinar recording of event for university practitioners to learn about developing and maintaining scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers in UK universities.

Resources by Article 26 

Over the years Article 26 has sought to collate and and share the experience and knowledge developed delivering the project. Below you will find a range of resources available to download, you can learn more about the project on the Article 26 website.

Guiding Principles on UK Sanctuary Scholars in UK Higher Education 

The Article 26 ‘Guiding Principles’ is the first of a series of six resources aimed at providing the most up to date information and best in in relation to the delivery of initiatives to support forced migrants in higher education.

Identifying Sanctuary Scholars 

A guide to identifying the different groups collectively described as forced migrants and whom we would encourage universities to include in their eligibility criteria for their scholarship schemes.

Reaching out to Sanctuary Scholars

this resource outlines key outreach strategies for the promotion of sanctuary scholarships internally within universities, in the locality and via national platforms.

Sanctuary Scholarship Standard Application form 

A revised and updated application form and accompanying guidance notes to support universities in the establishment of or review of their existing scholarship scheme.

Selecting Sanctuary Scholars  

A selection framework built on and directly connected to the revised application form, which will support universities in the process of shortlisting, interviewing and assessing the specific needs of prospective forced migrant students.

External link (Opens in a new tab or windowonce they have exhausted the complaints procedure at their higher education provider.

Refuaid Equal Access Loan

Loans to support refugees in the UK with the costs of requalification; this can include finance to cover the cost of courses, re-accreditation exams, living expenses while requalifying and registration with professional bodies. The minimum amount is £500 and we can lend up to £10,000. All loans are interest free and repayments are calculated on an individual basis, to ensure affordability. 

Useful links about employment for people seeking sanctuary

A link containing information, resources and organisations that support employment and prequalification for refugees in the UK. 

Educational options:

  • The Children’s Society – Online befriending project for 14-21 year-olds.

  • Hope for the Young – Education grants and mentoring project.

  • Refugee Council: Group activities open for referrals, no waiting list, ESOL and maths, youth activities for boys and girls under 18. Age 14-17. Girls group partnership with Young Roots, 14-17. Open for referrals. Can go up to age 21.

  • RefuAid – Access to language tuition, education, finance and meaningful employment.