17 January 2024

To start an undergraduate course in September 2024, you need to apply by 6pm on Wednesday 31 January. If you’re wondering what happens next or are worried about missing the deadline this year, we’ve pulled together some information for you.

September may feel like a long way off, but if you want to apply for an undergraduate course for the 2024/25 academic year then you usually need to submit your application through UCAS (the UK application system for undergraduate courses) by Wednesday 31 January 2024. This is the deadline to ensure that your application is given equal consideration – meaning that it is guaranteed to be considered by the universities you’ve selected.

Still making the final touches to your application?

Here are some things to consider:

1. UCAS has lots of useful resources! For help filling out your application form, read UCAS guidance on undergraduate applications. For guidance on how to write a personal statement, use the UCAS Personal Statement Tool and read the guidance for refugees and asylum seekers, developed in partnership with STAR’s Equal Access Activists.

2. Watch STAR and UCAS’s information session for an overview of the application process.

  1. Check what scholarships the university offers before you apply. If you might not be eligible for student finance because of a continuing asylum claim or because you have limited leave to remain (see below), consider applying to universities that have scholarship programmes for people seeking refugee protection in the UK. A full list can be found on the STAR website and Displaced Student Opportunities UK. If a university hasn’t confirmed their scholarship for 2024/25, try and get in touch with them for more information.

How do I know if I’m eligible for student finance?

In general, if you have refugee status or Humanitarian Protection you are eligible for student finance in the UK. This means that you can apply for a student loan to cover your course fees and living costs. If you are seeking asylum, you cannot access student finance. If you have discretionary or limited leave to remain you will are only able to access student finance if you are:

  • Under 18 years old and have lived in the UK for at least 7 years before the first day of the first academic year of your course; or
  • Aged 18 years and above and have either spent at least half your life in the UK or at least 20 years in the UK prior to the first day of the first academic year of your course.

For a detailed explanation of student finance eligibility for refugees and people seeking asylum visit the UKCISA website and the Refugee Education UK website.

What if I am unable to apply by the 31  January deadline?

Wednesday 31 January is the deadline for your application to be given equal consideration. This means that it is guaranteed to be considered by the universities you have selected. If you’re unable to meet the deadline, late applications can be submitted up to 30 June 2024, but there’s a chance that university places will be filled and your application will not be reviewed. If you need to submit a late application due to extenuating circumstances, try to contact your chosen universities as soon as possible to explain your situation and to confirm that they will accept your application.

If you wish to apply for an undergraduate course after 30 June, your application will be entered into ‘Clearing’ – the process universities and colleges use to fill any places they still have on their courses. Read more about Clearing on the UCAS website. But bear in mind that, if you are relying on a scholarship to fund your studies, most scholarship applications close earlier in the year and you will therefore likely have difficulty funding a place found through Clearing.

I’ve applied! What happens next?

If you’ve submitted your UCAS application by the 31 January deadline, you should hear back from your choices in May 2024. If you don’t receive any offers from universities, you can add an additional choice to your application using UCAS Extra. You can also make certain changes to your application, including swapping a choice for a different one (as long as it’s within 14 days of the date on your welcome email). 

In the meantime, you can start preparing your application for university scholarships. Read STAR’s step-by-step guide to applying for scholarships.

Where can I get further support?

  • We have put comprehensive information on how to apply for university and scholarship on our Website.
  • There are also other organisations that can help – they’re all listed on our Resources and Support page.
  • To stay up to date on upcoming deadlines, scholarships, and other opportunities, sign up to the Equal Access Mailing List.
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