Green background with text: Right now, only 5% of refugees have access to higher education, compared to 37% of people worldwide.

17 November 2021

Today is World Access to Higher Education Day (WAHED), a global day of action to raise awareness about the inequalities people face when trying to access higher education. 

People who have been displaced due to war and persecution face particularly high barriers when applying for and trying to fund their university studies. Many refugees are unable to continue their education as a result.

The theme for WAHED this year is ‘Who will be going to university in 2030?’. STAR campaigns to increase the proportion of refugees enrolled in higher education to 15% by 2030 – in line with the #15by30 target set by the UN.

Here are four things you can do to improve access to higher education this WAHED: 

  1. Take part in our annual fundraiser 

We work to improve access to university and support for students to continue their education. We want to see a shift in behaviour that makes universities and local communities a more welcoming place for refugees and people seeking asylum. 

We need your support to ensure that we can continue our vital work to improve access to higher education for people seeking refugee protection in the UK. We:

  • Campaign for more opportunities for refugees to access university.
  • Improve advice and support for refugee and asylum-seeking applicants.
  • Support the higher education sector to welcome refugees at their institutions. 
  • Push for national policy change by working with government departments. 

How can STAR groups take part in our Equal Access annual fundraiser?

  • Fundraise: Plan your own fundraising event, like a Christmas quiz, a running challenge or give up chocolate. Or you can join the STAR Trek challenge! Choose ‘start fundraising’ to set up your JustGiving page.
  • Share: We want this campaign to reach as many people as possible, so please share it on social media and with your friends and family to help us spread the word!
  1. Print out and share this leaflet with students and lecturers.  

Let people know it’s World Access to Higher Education Day by holding a stall or meeting. Print out the leaflet or share a QR code so that students can learn more about the importance of Equal Access. 

  1. Share STAR and We Belong’s information pack with local schools and colleges.

We Belong and STAR have created an information pack to help bring the right support to young migrants and refugees who often face barriers and unclear information when applying for university. This information pack will provide clear answers to key questions around accessing higher education. 

Why not get in touch with your previous school or college and share this information pack with them? 

  1. Spread the word about WAHED and STAR’s Equal Access campaign! 

Take part in activities that are taking place at your university or speak for five minutes at a lecture or seminar about access to university for people seeking refugee protection. You could talk about the work your STAR group has done (e.g. open days or petitions), or the work you’re hoping to achieve this year. You could also use our social media graphics.

Refresh yourself on the importance of Equal Access by reading our Equal Access page or by listening to STAR’s latest Equal Access workshop.

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