The support team in the Bristol office has assisted a number of tenants and other members of the refugee community to complete applications for the University of Bristol Sanctuary Scholarship. The University of Bristol established the scholarship in 2016 with aiming to “enhance opportunities from asylum seeking and refugee communities.” We completed applications for a range of courses, including Pharmacology, English Literature and Accounting Finance at both Masters and Undergraduate level. Applicants supported by the ACH support team came from a wide range of countries including Iran, Sudan, Barbados and Albania.
The scholarship provides an excellent opportunity both for our tenants who have refugee status and for individuals still waiting for a decision on their asylum claims. Asylum seekers are unable to mainstream funding options (student loans) and for most schemes such as the Sanctuary Scholarship are the only way they can access higher education. The University of Bristol is one of a growing number of universities to offer specific funding schemes for refugees and/or asylum seekers (a comprehensive but not exhaustive list can be found at http://article26.hkf.org.uk/student-bursaries)
. The University of Exeter have recently announced that they will be starting a scholarship for 2018 entry.
ACH welcomes this growing trend amongst universities in recognising the difficulties that refugees and asylum seekers find in accessing higher education and the fact that they are seeking to do something to rectify the situation. We have seen first-hand how frustrating a situation it can be for people unable to find education or employment opportunities equivalent to that which they had in their countries of origin and schemes such as these provide a vital service.
Short listing will be taking place in the first week of July, with successful applicants receiving confirmation of their places before August. We wish all the applicants this year luck with their applications.