REFUGE and asylum seekers are being encouraged to apply for a range of scholarships at the University of Reading.
The Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme was introduced in April last year for anyone with refugee, humanitarian protected or asylum seeker status.
The scheme offers up to 12 awards each year, providing opportunities for those taking pre-sessional, undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Applications for undergraduate and postgraduate courses starting in September this year are now open, with a deadline of Monday, July 4.
Applications for pre-sessional English courses are open until Friday, May 6.
The University originally launched a refugee scholarship scheme in 2018, but had just five applicants in 2019. None of the applicants met the correct eligibility status, so they were not granted the place.
It was revised and relaunched last year, welcoming 47 applicants, with seven being successful.
Adam Jacobs, whose name has been changed, was one of the successful applicants last year.
He traveled to the UK seeking refugee status in 2019 after the situation in his home country became too dangerous for himself and his young family.
“It changed my life,” Mr Jacobs said. “As a father and a student, it has given me the opportunity to do so much more. I don’t think I would have been able to go to university without the scholarship.
“When I received the funding, it changed everything. It felt like the pressure had finally been lifted after so many years.”
Paul Inman, pro-vice chancellor (International) at the University of Reading, said: “The Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme is one of many ways the University of Reading welcomes and supports sanctuary seekers within our community.
“We recognise that people fleeing violence in their home countries want to continue their education here in the UK, and this scheme helps them to do just that. It is fantastic to see the growing number of applications and scholarship awards since the first scheme started – I hope that this year will see even greater numbers.”
The scholarship is part of the University’s wider commitment to supporting the City of Sanctuary initiative and on-going partnerships with Reading City of Sanctuary and refugee organisations.
The university signed the national organizational pledge to the City of Sanctuary for the first-time last year and has also pledged its support to Reading City of Sanctuary.
It is now working towards achieving a University of Sanctuary award, which would demonstrate a commitment to the welcome and inclusion of sanctuary seekers on its campuses.
In June last year, the university launched a Sanctuary Coffee Bank initiative, which allows staff and students to donate so that sanctuary seekers on campus can access free hot drinks.