City of Sanctuary has just pledged its support for the STAR (Student Action for Refugees) and the NUS campaign for Equal Access to open up colleges and universities to people who are in the UK seeking refugee protection.
Individuals 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 equal access to university. They cannot access student loans and grants and must pay international fees. Most asylum seekers are denied the right to work and live on just £36 a week. They cannot afford up to £30,000 a year in university fees. Furthermore, someone who has fled their country of origin to avoid war, torture or persecution is not the same as an international student who has chosen to study in Britain.
The Equal Access campaign is calling for individuals and organisations to sign up to two simple principles that will ensure equal access for students seeking protection.
• All those seeking refugee protection to be able to study as home students;
• Students seeking refugee protection to be recognised as having additional needs just like other vulnerable groups and to be given the same access to additional support, such as bursaries.
The campaign is already supported by a broad coalition of agencies including Coram Children’s legal centre, Refugee Support network, RETAS, Regional Refugee Forum :Northwest, Regional Asylum Activism, Dost Centre for Young Refugees & Migrants, Asylum Aid and Refugee Children’s Consortium
For further information and to find out how your organisation can help by pledging its support, see the STAR website