1 December 2022
There are many barriers facing young refugees and migrants who want to go to university, but one that is easy to fix is making sure that schools and colleges simply have the right information.
In the UK, people who are seeking asylum or have limited leave to remain are often locked out of university and they often only become aware of the barriers while applying to university, forcing them to put their futures on hold. The impact is devastating.
STAR has teamed up with We Belong, a migrant youth-led organisation, to create an information pack so that schools and colleges can ensure that students who are young migrants, seeking asylum, or have refugee status get the right advice and know where to find support as they prepare for higher education.
I’ll help! What do I need to do?
You can help schools and colleges help their students by sharing the information pack with them.
Find your local school or college’s email address: You can find contact details on the ‘Contact us’ page of your local secondary school or college’s website. You can find your local school using government directories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Send the email! Below is a template email you can copy and paste. It can really help if you make the content of the email more personal – especially if you live nearby, used to go to the school or college you’re contacting, or if you know any teachers there.
Thank you for supporting young refugees and migrants to continue their education.
Subject: Information to help young refugees and migrants go to university
Dear [teacher or contact name - we recommend addressing it to the headteacher],
[Introduce yourself - I’m a local resident / I attended your school in XXXX / my children attend your school]
I’m reaching out to you with information about access to university for young people who are from a refugee or migrant background. This information will help you to advise students with temporary immigration status at [name of school or college] when they apply for university.
Many young people who are living in the UK do not have equal access to higher education because of their immigration status. They may be treated as international students and denied access to student finance, often only finding this out after they have already been accepted at university. This can leave their education and career ambitions in tatters. The good news is that there are now over 80 universities who offer scholarships for refugee and migrant students!
Student Action for Refugees (STAR) and We Belong - two national charities advocating for equal access to higher education for young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers - have partnered to create a higher education information pack for school and college staff helping young people get to university: https://bit.ly/STARWBinfo
It's with your help that we can make sure that young refugees and migrants get the right information and support. Please read the STAR and We Belong information pack and reach out to young people at [name of school or college] who may need support to apply to university. I believe it is vital for your students to get this information and support soon so that their futures are not delayed. For more information and contact details you can visit www.webelong.org.uk and www.star-network.org.uk.
Thanks for taking the time to read this message; it could make a huge difference to a student applying to university.
[Your name]Download a copy of the template email