Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Universities ranked on access for refugees & migrants for first time in People and Planet League

People & Planet’s annual University League table showcases initiatives taken by all universities across the UK to develop and improve their environmental and ethical performance. This year for the first time, universities have also been assessed on how they promote access to higher education for young migrants and refugees. STAR and Let us Learn worked with People & Planet to create new criteria – in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 stating that everyone should have access to “inclusive and equitable quality education” and “lifelong learning opportunities.

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Following results from the assessment, 45 out of 154 universities recognise refugee/asylum seeking students’ barriers to higher and have offered scholarships or bursaries as an initiative to make a positive difference. This is an incredible result due to increased knowledge of the issues faced by young refugees. Over the past few years we’ve seen a significantly increased awareness of the role that higher education institutions play for widening participation to this group of students, and this progress is increasing as charities like STAR continue to influence universities and support them to set up and maintain these sanctuary scholarships. The league also highlighted three institutions, University of Bath, University of Edinburgh and Queen Mary University of London, which are performing incredibly well by fulfilling all the criteria of offering more than one scholarship, publicising their equal access policies and having policies in place to enable equal participation of asylum seekers in university life, and Kings College London is the only university in the UK which is taking multiple approaches to support young people with an irregular immigration status. These extra mile initiatives are great examples of best practise for other universities providing these scholarships who have the potential to expand and enhance their support to maximise their impact.

As a recipient of an Equal Access Scholarship at the University of York, I am immensely proud and pleased about the progress universities in the UK have made in the past few years in opening doors for young ambitious refugee students. I have experienced and seen through other’s experiences how these scholarships close the gap in opportunities between young vulnerable migrants and other students. Ultimately, achieving equality and allowing us to flourish, fulfil our potential and serve society positively while seeking safety. I am eternally grateful for the continuous effort by universities and charities making a difference to our lives, and am extremely excited to see further progress and improvement in providing hope through scholarships, bursaries and vital extended support.

To find out more about which universities offer scholarships and bursaries check out STAR’s Equal Access table

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Maryam Taher is York STAR graduate, an Equal Access campaigner and is currently volunteering to support the STAR staff team with their work on improving access to university for refugees and people seeking asylum.

Posted by STAR team on 16/07/2019 at 10:05 AM