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Learning and Education

Eligibility to Study

This document from the Home Office relates to Immigration Bail Conditions but clarifies eligibility to study for asylum seekers, stating, “There is nothing in the Immigration Rules to prevent asylum seekers studying. Therefore, anyone who claims asylum should not have a study condition applied to them.” See page 14 for information about the possibility of a condition preventing study being applied to asylum seekers who have exhausted their appeal rights.

Learning English

Online Linguistic Support (OLS) is a free online language learning platform for refugees and newly arrived migrants. Besides language courses, the platform offers live coaching and tutoring sessions in major European languages.

There is a list of other resources on our ESOL page (under the ‘Resources for ESOL Students’ tab)

Funding Education

UCAS page on student finance for refugees and asylum seekers

Refugee Study provides a directory of scholarships, grants and awards plus information about getting advice

STAR has a list of scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers and other information on financing studies. 

Small grants to help with educational costs

  • The Ruth Hayman Trust  offers small grants to support education and training of adults who have come to settle in the UK. Note that the grants do not currently cover university courses, unless the course leads directly to employment. 
  • The Schwab and Westheimer Trust offers grants for people seeking asylum or with refugee status who are either in education or applying for educational support.
  • Hope for the Young offer grants for people aged 16-28 who need financial support to access school, college or university.
  • Family Action Educational Grants are available if you are studying at an organisation affiliated to Family Action’s Educational Grants Service (get in touch with your institution to find out if this is the case).
  • Marks Family Charitable Foundation A scholarship for students from asylum-seeking backgrounds who are embarking on a postgraduate degree programme. The scholarship covers ‘home’ tuition fees (up to £9500 per year). Applications are open between April and June each year.
  • The Black Heart Scholarship Programme The Black Heart Scholarship Programme awards several annual bursaries to qualified candidates to advance their educational goals and life aspirations.
  • The UNITE Foundation Scholarship Free university accommodation for care leavers and estranged students aged 25 or under, holding home fee status and undertaking an undergraduate degree.

Refugee Education UK provide resources about accessing university and can give telephone or face-to-face advice.

Future Learn has a short, free online course to help refugees and asylum seekers get the information they need to apply for university in the UK.  Future Learn has also launched two, free courses to help Syrian refugees with English studies. There is an elementary course and a pre-intermediate course.

Kiron helps refugees, asylum seekers and IDPs access higher education including access to online courses for those outside its focus countries.

Grants, Scholarships and Fellowship Funding Directory 2017

RefuAid Loan Scheme   – Zero interest loans for Short-term training, Exam fees with a professional governing association, Travel expenses to and from an exam, Qualification assessments, Professional association fees, Books and course materials, Living allowance during study time and other related expenses. Check the website for details and see the poster We help you return to work.

New guidance for students with Humanitarian Protection

Students with humanitarian protection status  no longer need to show that they have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years before starting their course in order to receive home fee status and access to student finance. The Central England Law Centre and Warwick Law in the Community have produced a toolkit to help students understand these changes. You can find a summary and a link to the toolkit here.


Growing Points – provide mentoring and support for people to realise their ambitions.

Routes run a Mentoring Programme and creative workshops to support refugee and asylum seeking women in London.

Result Coaching and Training work with people who feel marginalised or excluded to become more confident about their abilities and to fulfill their potential.