Universities Being Petitioned to Provide Scholarships to Refugees

Posted by Ross Jones-Morris in

The Citizens UK campaign has this week joined forces with academics from the Campaign for the Public University to urge university heads to create new scholarships for students fleeing violence and war.

In an open letter written to university vice-chancellors across the country, they seek the creation of five new undergraduate and postgraduate bursaries and scholarships. This, they argue, would allow asylum-seekers (who are not eligible to receive grants or loans within the British system) to afford to study in this country. The alternative to this is of course, the massively expensive tuition fees usually paid by international students to study here.

The partnership are also asking people to sign a petition backing the proposals, with co-founder of the Campaign for the Public University (and professor of sociology at the University of Warwick) Gurminder Bhambra saying that "It's important that human rights to education beyond national boundaries are recognised. Access to higher education enables individuals to develop their talents and use those talents to contribute to the societies that provide them with shelter."

The academics behind the push also want British universities to form links with asylum seeker-advocate group Article 26, which helps promote access to higher education institutions for those claiming asylum.

But this isn't to say that universities have been unengaged up to this point. The universities of York, Warwick, Sheffield and East London have already offered substantial help to refugees and as the crisis worsens, the offers will surely extend across a broader and broader selection.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons.