Applying to university: Support & FAQs

Applying for Equal Access scholarships; a step by step guide

1. Check your eligibility for student finance
People with different immigration statuses have different eligibility for financial support. Coram Children’s Legal Centre have put together a fact sheet on access to higher education in England for refugees and migrants which outlines the eligibility for different groups. UKCISA also produce guidance on eligibility for England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland.

2. Check which universities offer scholarships of fee waivers
If you aren’t eligible for home fees or students support, a scholarship might be the only option. Whilst you can’t rely on being offered a scholarship, applying to the universities that offer them will improve your chances. Take a look at our list of scholarships and see which universities offer the course you’re interested in. We try to keep the list as up to date as possible but recommend that you check with the university to make sure.

3. Check eligibility for the scholarship
All the scholarships are slightly different. Some of them include refugees, people with limited leave to remain or humanitarian protection as well as asylum seekers. Get in touch with the university if you are uncertain of the eligibility criteria. Make a note of the scholarship deadline.

4. Apply for your course:
In most cases, you must apply for the course before you apply for the scholarship
a. Undergraduate – to apply for an undergraduate degree you must apply through UCAS. The deadline to apply is usually January 15th. UCAS produce some guides to applying for international students in different languages that may be helpful. You can apply for up to 5 universities through UCAS. Make sure you also apply to universities which have confirmed scholarships. If you applied to universities that don’t offer scholarships, there is the option of applying through UCAS Extra which is usually open until June 30th.
b. Postgraduate – to apply for a postgraduate degree you can either apply directly through the university’s website or through UCAS depending on the type of course. Whilst there isn’t usually a deadline for postgraduate applications, it’s better to apply early to ensure there is time to apply for the scholarship.

5. Apply for the scholarship!
Each university will produce their own guidance on how to apply for the scholarship so make sure you follow that. Give yourself enough time to complete your application so you aren’t rushing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I go to university if:

• I am an asylum seeker?
• I am a refugee?
• I have been granted humanitarian protection?
• Have been granted discretionary leave/limited leave to remain?
• I am the family member of a refugee/here on a family reunion visa
• I am the family member of someone granted humanitarian protection

Yes. Unfortunately access to university is different depending on factors like your immigration status and whether you are in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Please see page 2 of our Equal Access Toolkit for a short summary on this, or look at the UKCISA website for more detailed information on each category.

Further advice and support

For further advice and information you may want to contact some of the following organisations/resources:

Article 26 – promotes access to Higher Education for people who have fled persecution and sought asylum in the UK.
Cambridge English Online Course ‘Aim Higher: Access to Higher Education for Refugees and Asylum Seekers’
Coram Children’s Legal Centre – for legal advice and information on education issues for young people.
Direct-gov – Student Finance for information on student finance and how to apply.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England
Migrant Children’s Project – provides information and legal support about entitlements to education (for young people as well as children).
Let Us Learn – for advice on the long residence category (if you are not a UK national, but have lived in England for a substantial period of your life).
• “The Office for Fair Admissions“
The Refugee Council’s Guide: Short guide on access to further education in England for asylum seekers and refugees
RefuAid – Access to education support including funding for English exams.
Refugee Support Network – supports young asylum seekers, refugees and migrants aged 16-24 to access education.
Surviving To Thriving Project – a partnership project between the British Red Cross, Refugee Council and UpRising. It helps young refugees and asylum seekers become active and valued members of their communities.
UKCISA – The UK Council for International Students Affairs provide information and support to students classed as international and can answer questions about your eligibility and other complex queries.
The University of Sanctuary Handbook – embedding support for asylum seekers & refugees at your university.
UK NARIC – recognition and comparison of international qualifications.

For further information on support available in Scotland, contact the Scottish Refugee Council.
For further information on support available in Wales, contact the Welsh Refugee Council.
For further information on support available in Ireland, contact the Irish Refugee Council.

STAR Links

Our list of the Equal Access Scholarships currently available is here.
For information on The Equal Access Campaign & how to campaign at your university, click here.