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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.

For a higher-quality version, please e-mail [email protected]

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

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 resources and 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:

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.

Article 26

A26 is a charity which promotes access to Higher Education for people who have fled persecution and sought asylum in the UK. They advise on bursaries and scholarships, and have written an incredibly informative and comprehensive document on access to H.E. for sanctuary seekers, entitled “Education for All”. You can access this here.


In partnership with universities and research institutes, trusts and foundations, learned societies and other like-minded organisations, as well as many academics and other concerned individuals, Cara offers  persecuted and at-risk academics solidarity, support to reach a place where they can work in safety, and financial and practical help.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre

CLC is the UK’s leading children’s legal charity. Amongst many other things, they have the Migrant Children’s Project, to promote the rights of refugee and migrant children, young people and families and to ensure that they receive the protection and support they need.

Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network

GRAMN conduct research and qualitative evaluation on migration, refugees and the asylum process.  As a network, they consult on migration-related policy in the UK and internationally. They bring together researchers and practitioners, NGOs and policy makers working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland.

Plymouth Law School Law Clinic

The Law Clinic offers pro bono advice on many issues. One of their main projects is the Refugee Family Reunion Project, which works to reunite refugees with their families where they have become separated due to persecution or conflict. They work in partnership with the British Red Cross on this project.

Schwab and Westheimer Trust

S&W provide grants and scholarships to refugees to help make Higher Education accessible.

SOAS Detainee Support Group

SOAS Detainee Support is a student-led initiative working in solidarity with people in and outside immigration detention centres. They aim to reduce isolation, offer practical support to people fighting for release, and campaign for an end to the use of detention. 

STAR (Student Action for Refugees)

STAR is the national network of students building a society where refugees are welcomed and can thrive in the UK. Together, they volunteer and work directly with refugees, campaign for policy change and equal access, and learn about refugees and asylum. They lead the Equal Access campaign to ensure that people seeking refugee protection in the UK can access higher education.

Refugee Education UK 

REUK helps young refugees, asylum seekers and survivors of trafficking to build more hopeful futures through education. For young refugees arriving in Europe, education is a priority, and RSN, amongst other things, help to mentor refugees and give advice to help people access Higher Education.

Right to Remain

R2R work with groups across the UK supporting people to establish their right to remain with dignity, safety and humanity, and to challenge the injustice of the immigration and asylum system. They provide information and resources to groups and individuals on working to establish the right to remain and campaigning for migration justice, and deliver capacity-building training, workshops and meetings with grass-roots groups and networks. They can help university groups by delivering training on how to campaign, the complexities of the asylum system, and social media, and much more.

What support should sanctuary students expect from their university?

The government has asked universities to ensure that the following support is in place for vulnerable students (including those from a sanctuary seeking background):

  • Guaranteed appropriate accommodation. If it is safe and feasible vulnerable students should have the option to remain in their accommodation. If students are required to move, universities and colleges should make sure that those students can get the practical assistance that they need.
  • Continued access to established financial support, and to immediate hardship funding if necessary. Where universities and colleges are likely to be impacted by staff shortages or office closures this may need to be paid to vulnerable students in advance.
  • Practical support to access food, medical and cleaning supplies.
  • Ongoing access to a first point of contact for student queries and concerns and for proactive wellbeing support.
  • Ongoing access to student support networks, mental health support and academic support where required.

See more from the Office for Students here

If you are a student from a refugee or asylum seeking background and are finding it difficult to access support from your university at this time, please contact us.

You can also escalate complaints with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator once you have exhausted the complaints procedure at your higher education provider.

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

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. 

‘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.

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’ 

An application form and accompanying guidance notes to support universities in the establishment of or review of their existing scholarship scheme

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.