Thursday, January 15, 2015

Together we can achieve Equal Access!

This week NUS and STAR are campaigning together for Equal Access as part of the NUS’s campaign on Education Funding.

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to education. Yet people seeking refugee protection in Britain are being denied access to university. People who are waiting for a decision on their asylum application, or who have been granted discretionary leave to remain (DLR) in the UK as a result of an asylum claim, do not have the same access to university as home students. Instead they must pay the same fees as international students and have no access to student loans and grants. This excludes most of them from going to university.

“I could not help but feel less of a person…. I felt powerless because for years I had enough qualifications to go into higher education but, because I was not allowed to work, I could not afford to pay for my education.” (Gamu Sadomba, STAR Trustee)

STAR’s Equal Access campaign is calling for all those seeking refugee protection to be able to study as home students, to be recognised as having additional needs, in the same way as groups like care leavers, and to be given the same access to additional support, such as bursaries.

This week NUS and STAR are campaigning together for Equal Access as part of NUS’s campaign on Education Funding. Shreya Paudel, NUS International Officer, had this to say:

“The campaign is important for me as providing education to the asylum seeking students is the least that this government can and should do to help them in their life ahead. Education is a liberating tool but as of now, countless asylum seekers are deprived from higher education in the UK. That needs to be changed for the better.”

Our campaign works. For instance, last year the London School of Economics set up bursaries for asylum seekers. Commenting on the awards and the difficulty facing asylum seeking students, Catherine Baldwin, Director of Recruitment and Admissions at LSE, said:

“Asylum seekers do not qualify for home fee status, nor are they entitled to government grants and loans. Most asylum seekers do not have permission to work. We hope that these LSE awards make our degree programmes more accessible to some of the brightest and best students from around the world.”

It’s time for students and Students Unions across the country to come together to campaign for Equal Access and say “REFUGEE STUDENTS WELCOME HERE!”

“The UK gives protection to just 2% of the world’s refugees. It makes sense to provide the very best assistance as soon as people arrive in the UK so that, in time, they can rebuild their shattered lives and we can all enjoy a brighter future together.” Emma Williams, Chief Executive, STAR

To find out more about the campaign go to our Equal Access page or get in contact with us to find out what you can do to open up universities in the UK.

Posted by STAR team on 15/01/2015 at 02:54 PM