Thursday, February 07, 2019

Celebrating and developing access to university at the Equal Access Conference

STAR and the NUS were excited to bring together university staff, NGOs, scholarship recipients, experts by experience and student activists at our Equal Access Conference last month. image

This was the second conference on improving access to higher education for refugees and asylum seekers run by STAR and the NUS. The day was really successful, with attendees celebrating and sharing best practice on developing equal access to higher education for people seeking refugee protection in the UK.

The conference brought together universities, NGOs, students who have been awarded scholarships and student campaigners from across the UK to learn and share good practice on developing scholarships, access courses, funding and scholar welfare.

The day got off to a great start with a passionate and rousing speech by NUS president Shakira Martin. We also heard from Kent STAR’s Alda Daci – an expert in the UK asylum process – offered a personal and greatly detailed insight into the human impact of seeking asylum in the UK.


University staff from De Montfort University, SOAS, the University of Bristol and the University of York presented all the amazing practice of their university’s programmes and later took questions from the audience. They spoke about fundraising, student welfare and getting the whole university behind a scholarship programme.

Afternoon workshops from a great range of partner organisations allowed delegates to really drill down into the details of creating scholarship programmes, recruiting students and creating a welcoming campus. Experts from our partner organisations at Refugee Support network and Birkbeck and UEL answered delegate questions and led group discussions on equal access.

Delegates took to twitter throughout the day using #refugeesintouni!

The day closed with a moving speech from star activist Maryam Taher from York STAR, who explained how getting an Equal Access scholarship had changed not only her life, but the lives of her family members. Maryam called for universities to continue to create and strengthen Equal Access scholarships so that even more people can benefit from access to higher education.


STAR helps coordinate scholarship development for people seeking refugee protection in the UK who are unable to access student finance. Our Equal Access campaign has been running for ten years and aims to achieve the goal of equal access to university for people seeking refugee protection. At present over 60 UK Universities offer scholarships or bursary support.

For more information visit and click on ‘Equal access scholarships’

Posted by STAR team on 07/02/2019 at 05:34 PM