If you’re seeking asylum or from a refugee background and interested in attending university in the UK, there are a number of steps you should follow.
1. Check your eligibility for student finance
In the UK, people with different immigration statuses have different eligibility for financial support known as student finance. In general, if you have refugee status or Humanitarian Protection you are eligible for student finance. 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 only be able to access student finance if you are:
• Under 18 years old and have lived in the UK for at least seven years before the first day of the first academic year of your course.
• 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.
If you aren’t eligible for student finance, you may be able to access a scholarship to fund your studies. Over 70 universities in the UK now offer scholarships for refugee and asylum-seeking students. Although you can't guarantee that you will be awarded a scholarship, you can maximise your chances by applying to universities that offer a scholarship that suits you. Take a look at our scholarships list to see which universities offer the course you’re interested in. This list is regularly updated but we recommend that you check the details with the university.
3. Check your eligibility for the scholarship
All of the scholarships offered by universities are slightly different. Some are only open to asylum seekers or to people who are not eligible for student finance. Check the eligibility column of the scholarships list and the university’s website. Get in touch with the university if you are uncertain of the eligibility criteria. Make a note of the scholarship deadline.
4. Apply for your course
In most cases, you must apply for the course before you apply for the scholarship.
Undergraduate: To apply for an undergraduate degree, you must apply on the UCAS website. The deadline to apply is in January. UCAS has guides to applying for international students in different languages. You can apply for up to five universities through UCAS - make sure you apply to universities that have scholarships for which you are eligible. If you applied to universities that don’t offer scholarships, you can apply through UCAS Extra which is usually open until 30 June.
Postgraduate: To apply for a postgraduate degree you can apply directly through the university’s website. While deadlines for postgraduate applications vary, it’s better to apply early to ensure there is time to apply for a scholarship.
5. Apply for a scholarship
Each university will produce their own guidance on how to apply for a scholarship so make sure you follow their advice. Give yourself enough time to complete your application so you don’t need to rush.
For more tips on applying to university, watch our webinar about applying for university through UCAS.
For more tips on applying to university, watch our webinar about applying for Sanctuary Scholarships.