Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fantastic Equal Access news from Sheffield STAR!

The University of Sheffield have agreed to annually give full fee waivers and bursaries to two local asylum seekers from September 2015.

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For the past year, Sheffield STAR has been campaigning hard on equal access for asylum seekers at the University of Sheffield. They have been lobbying the University together with Sheffield Students’ Union officers in order to come to an agreement on bursaries and fee waivers for local asylum seekers. Up until now, asylum seekers have been treated as international students and charged up to £30,000 in tuition fees, making access to higher education extremely difficult.

Last Monday, the campaign finally gave results: the University has agreed to annually give full fee waivers to two local asylum seekers from September 2015, as well as a £10,000 bursary for every year they study at the University!

Annemie from Sheffield STAR tells us a bit more about how they achieved this:

“The greatest success has come as we’ve collaborated with union officers (one of whom was a STAR member as a student) and together lobbied the university to come to a scholarship agreement.

Jack Wyse (SU Development officer) has been instrumental in making this happen. We set up a planning group comprised of STAR members, University of Sanctuary (a sub group created to campaign for Equal Access) and various supportive members around the university, from officers to faculty members and PhD students, to plan the campaign.

At the same time, STAR and University of Sanctuary kept the student campaign going, and we held various information events to let students know about it, eventually collecting over 700 signatures for the cause.”

This is a huge step in the right direction, making a university degree within the reach of asylum seekers in Sheffield. However, Sheffield STAR will continue campaigning for equal access, hoping the University also will sign the equal access pledge and class asylum seekers as home students.

Massive well done to the University of Sheffield and our STARs!

Find out more about STAR’s Equal Access Campaign and how you can take action here

Posted by STAR team on 26/02/2015 at 09:13 AM