The University of Bath is delighted to announce a new Sanctuary Scholarship scheme that will waive tuition fees, enabling an undergraduate asylum seeker to study for free.
Following a crowdfunding campaign led by staff and students from the group Equal Access at Bath and the local branch of the University College Union, the scholarship will also provide a £5,000 bursary towards study costs.
The University of Bath was designated a University of Sanctuary in 2020, in recognition of its support for refugee students, at both undergraduate and post-graduate level.
This includes year-round accommodation, and a dedicated team in Student Services who provide 1:1 support, advice, and signposting, from pre-application all the way to graduation.
Asylum-seeking students have been offered ‘home’ fee status at Bath for some time, and there are also a number of specific funding packages aimed at students from forced migration backgrounds, including post-graduate sanctuary scholarships, a dedicated bursary, and a ring-fenced place on the University’s flagship Gold Scholarship programme each year for an undergraduate refugee student.
The announcement of a new undergraduate sanctuary scholarship builds on this foundation to offer greater support to those facing extremely challenging circumstances.
The scholarship not only provides a full tuition fee waiver, but also a bursary of up to £5,000 to for a student based locally, applying to start studying at Bath in 2023, subject to terms and criteria.
In addition to supporting all refugee and asylum-seeking students whilst studying at Bath, the University has worked closely with current students and charity partners, to develop a set of resources for those from forced migration backgrounds considering studying at Bath.
The University has launched an E-mentoring scheme where prospective students who have experience of forced migration can talk to a current or former student who has been through a similar experience before coming to study at Bath. The University’s Student Experience webpages also provide an insight into life at the University and tell the stories of some of its students, helping those considering studying at Bath.
Mohammad, a previous Post-Graduate Sanctuary Scholar at Bath, is now using his experience to support potential future students.
He said: “I am currently working in a pathology department at an NHS hospital as a medical laboratory assistant. We process thousands of samples in our department each week which are essential for diagnosis of illnesses and monitoring patients’ health.
“The sanctuary scholarship gave me a chance to study at university and gain some laboratory experience, which helped me to be selected for this role. I didn’t have any other options to improve my career prospects, as I was not allowed to work and did not have access to a student loan.
“The sanctuary scholarship helped me continue my education and follow my dreams of becoming a scientist, otherwise I would have been left far behind and would probably come to a situation when it was impossible for me to achieve my goals. The scholarship helped me feel accepted into society and motivates me to work hard and contribute to improving people's lives.”
Professor Cassie Wilson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience), said: “We are really delighted by the passion of our students and staff to support this new scholarship.
“We know that for some students, who have faced the most challenging of circumstances, a safe and welcoming place to study can offer them the opportunity to change the direction of their lives and pursue their dreams.
“I am incredibly proud of our University of Sanctuary status, and of this continued investment in supporting those seeking refuge in the UK.”