9 April 2020

Although shutdowns and cancellations are the norm right now we are happy to say we are still working hard (from home) to increase access to university for refugees and asylum seekers.

Although shutdowns and cancellations are the norm right now we are happy to say we are still working hard (from home) to increase access to university for refugees and asylum seekers. What’s more scholarship applications are still open, new scholarships are being announced (with more on the way) and changes have been made to increase access for those with humanitarian protection status through a legal challenge. So in a dark time we hope this comes as bit of light and hope. We at STAR encourage people to keep applying to scholarships and not put their lives on hold because of what is happening. Although the current situation is very difficult, universities continue to plan for next academic year and, if you’re able to, you should too.

The impact of COVID-19 on accessing higher education and studying as a refugee or asylum seeker

Are you or someone you know facing difficulties with applying for or continuing studies as a refugee or asylum seeker? Let us know using this form and we will do what we can to help.

While Coronavirus continues to change ways of working and disrupt lives STAR is still campaigning for #EqualAccess to higher education for refugees and asylum seekers. Click here to read STAR’s response to COVID-19.

We have a page dedicated to coronavirus related questions and concerns for refugee students and applicants. Please share this page and get in touch to add additional points or if you have any questions which aren’t answered here.

We are still advertising programmes and supporting students and scholarships to fill places for 2020/21. Universities are still processing applications for next year so do keep applying but bear in mind universities might take longer than usual to answer emails because of a high number of queries. UCAS have also released an explainer about accessing higher education as a refugee or asylum seeker in this useful blog.

New scholarships are still being developed! We are excited to announce we’ve added a new scholarship from King’s College Cambridge to our list. See our full list here.

Please share these resources and get in touch to get more involved with our Equal Access campaign!

IELTS and English language testing – COVID-19 changes

IELTS examinations are some of the many areas that have been disrupted because of COVID-19. In light of this many universities have adapted their requirements for English language to be more flexible. If you are an offer holder who is affected by the suspension of IELTS testing then get in touch with your university admissions team to find out what flexibility they are practicing around this. UCAS has compiled updates on IELTS and other pre university exams affected by Coronavirus here.

You can find updates about IELTS exams on the IELTS website.

Changes to access to home fees and finance for students with humanitarian protection status

Following a legal challenge the Department for Education now consider that there is no material difference between the rights accorded to those holding Refugee Status and Humanitarian Protection in relation to tuition fee status and ordinary residence. As a result the DfE advises Higher Education Providers that the three-year ordinary residence requirement for access to Home Fee status and fees no longer needs to be used. The Department will be asking the Student Loans Company to take this approach when assessing eligibility for student finance from those with this type of leave under the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011, which also impose an identical three-year requirement.

For a full breakdown of this significant change please see this UKCISA article.

Access to online English resources with Future Learn

Click here for a list of distance Learning Courses for Students Affected by the Coronavirus. Future Learn have compiled 12 online courses which focus on preparing students for English for academic purposes tests. See the full list of courses here.

Online university open days and virtual tours

While you may not be able to visit universities in person some are offering virtual open days and tours to see what they have to offer. A list has been collated by UCAS here.

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