To: St George's University of London

Equal Access to University

Equal Access to University

1. Classify all those seeking asylum as home students for fee purposes
2. Offer at least 10 scholarships that cover study and maintenance costs for people who
have come to the UK seeking refugee protection
3. Publicise their Equal Access policies so that potential students can easily apply

Why is this important?

Universities can use their discretion in setting fees and therefore have the power to decide to charge home fees or waive fees altogether.

THE NEED FOR EQUAL ACCESS
Asylum Seekers
• Classified as overseas students and have to pay international student tuition fees.
• Cannot access student finance (loans) to cover the cost of tuition fees or living costs.
• Cannot work and if they have no money, must live on government support of just £36.95 per week.

People granted ‘Discretionary Leave to Remain’ (DLR)
• Classified as overseas students and have to pay international student tuition fees.
• Cannot access student finance (loans) to cover the cost of tuition fees or living costs.
• Allowed to work but cannot access student finance. In most cases this would mean a university education is out of reach.
• As of June 2016, a small number of people with DLR are eligible for student finance, under a category called ‘long residence’ for those who have lived in the UK for half their life.

People granted ‘Humanitarian Protection’ (including resettled Syrians)
• Classified as home students and can pay home tuition fees.
• Cannot access a student loan to cover the costs of their fees or living costs until they meet the 3 years ordinarily resident criteria.
• Allowed to work but cannot access student finance. In most cases this would mean a university education is out of reach.

Many refugees have been forced to abandon their education. They arrive in the UK ready to enter university, but without access to student finance they cannot do so, for example, Syrian refugees arriving in the UK under the government resettlement programme will be forced to wait three years until they can apply for a student loan to cover tuition fees and living costs.

Young people who are in the UK seeking asylum are legally obliged to go to school like all British young people. Each year those who are academically able, pass their A levels only to find that they are suddenly separated from their British born class mates and barred from progressing to university. The system which classed them as “legally obliged to attend school” now re classes them as “international” and puts financial barriers in place to prevent further study.

This situation is affecting the lives of people who are in the UK legally as a result of life threatening situations in their home countries. They cannot return home to study and cannot gain education to build a new life here. STAR receives calls every day in the run up to the new academic year from young asylum seekers and people with DLR and HP, desperate to take up a hard won place at university but unable to do so due to financial barriers. Instead huge potential is wasted as people are blocked from the education which would enable them to make a full contribution to our society and, when peace is restored, work to rebuild their own.