More than 60 universities now offer Equal Access university scholarships, bursaries or fee waivers to people who have claimed asylum in the UK. Student Action for Refugees (STAR) maintain a list of participating institutions.
A new scheme developed in partnership with Reading Refugee Support Group and Reading University Students’ Union will provide up to 14 university scholarships for refugees in the Reading area covering a range of courses and programmes.
Back on Saturday 16 June, the University of Reading and the Students’ Union hosted their first Refugee Scholars Open Day alongside the main undergraduate Open Day. More than 50 prospective refugee students were given an opportunity to experience the Whiteknights campus and find out more about how to apply for a scholarship
Professor Robert Van de Noort said:
“Universities are places for people from all over the world and from all walks of life. We welcome to Reading those fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries and we value the contribution those seeking sanctuary can make to the University and the town in general.
“The launch of these scholarships is another practical step the University has taken to welcome and integrate all people into our communities, our activities and our culture. We are proud and unapologetic to offer these scholarships, joining with institutions around the country offering support for refugees to access education, which is a welcome addition to our existing range of scholarships available for a variety of students.”
Gaby Couchman, deputy manager at Reading Refugee Support Group, said:
“We work with a number of refugees in Reading who have a strong desire to engage with higher education in the UK. These are often young and highly educated people who have had their studies interrupted due to conflict and persecution in their home country. The launch of the Reading Scholarship Scheme is a powerful tool to enable refugees to help rebuild their lives in the UK. We look forward to supporting our clients into higher education and beyond.”
RUSU’s diversity officer Leen Al Najjab said:
“No matter who you are or where you are from, education should be an opportunity available to you. I am incredibly proud to be part of an institution and community that is breaking down barriers by providing an education to those fleeing war and persecution.”
University of Reading partners with the Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara), a charity that helps scholars to escape from places of conflict and danger to temporary safe environments where they can continue important academic careers.
Reading has welcomed scholars who are now studying for postgraduate degrees in the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy. In parallel to supporting at-risk scholars on its Reading campus, the university is one of the 11 institutions partnered with Cara to support its Syria Programme, which aims to preserve and then strengthen Syria’s intellectual capital.
The International Study and Language Institute (ISLI), part of the University of Reading, has helped to develop and deliver an English for Academic Purposes programme for scholars who have escaped to safety in Turkey.
In 2017, the University supported Reading’s bid to become a City of Sanctuary. The aim of the initiative is to bring together people, organisations and businesses in order to build a culture of hospitality and welcome throughout Reading for people seeking sanctuary.