Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Equal Access Conference - Bringing Down Barriers

For many students getting to university is enough to change their lives – even more so if you are an asylum seeker having fled your home country and sought protection in the UK.

Yet while refugees have the same status as everyone else living here, the position for asylum seekers and others is more complex.

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Asylum seekers don’t have equal access to university, most are classed as international students which means they are charged much higher fees than home students.

One of STAR’s most successful current campaigns – along with NUS – is on Equal Access to higher education for refugees and asylum seekers.

As a movement of 27,000 students we want people who are in the UK because they are fleeing persecution to be able to join us at university.

That’s the case no matter whether they are refugees, asylum seekers, or fall into two other effected groups – those granted Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave to Remain.

The good news – and this is where our Equal Access campaign comes in – is there are now just under sixty universities which have recognised that this is not a level playing field and are providing significant financial help in the form of scholarships, fee waivers or bursaries.

This is working; many asylum seekers and refugees are now studying as a result. One of them is Shrouk El-Masry. Originally from Egypt, Refugee on Campus is a powerful short film telling that story in Shrouk’s own words.

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Now STAR and the NUS are preparing for our first ever Conference on Higher Education for Asylum Seekers & Refugees in London on the 31st January.

This specialist gathering will celebrate and share best practice while looking at how to build a national community of stakeholders growing this work.

Leading figures in the field – including Baroness Amos, Director of SOAS, Shakira Martin, NUS President and Emma Williams STAR’s Chief Executive will address the conference along with refugee students and refugee organisations.

Further details about the Equal Access campaign can be found at the STAR website

Posted by STAR team on 24/01/2018 at 04:06 PM