Thinking Ahead to Higher Education: a new resource for young asylum seekers and refugees who want to go to university

15 January 2014

We're delighted to announce the launch of our 'Thinking Ahead to Higher Education' Toolkit for young people living in the UK who are unsure about how their immigration status will affect their access to university.


A couple of years ago, RSN published "I just want to study". This report highlighted the enormous value of education for young people who have experienced crisis and displacement, ranging from its positive psychosocial impact to the way in which it serves as a durable solution, equipping young people for multiple possible futures.

 “I want to study at university to become a midwife. I want to work in a hospital in England, but also one day I want to go back to my country and be a midwife there. Really, when it is safe for me I want to go back for sometime to the refugee camp where I lived for many years, because there they do not have any midwives. I want to help them to have better health there.”  (Amina, aged 20, Somalia) 

'I just want to study' also identified the main barriers facing young people like Amina as they seek to access higher education and realise their dreams. The challenges of fee status categorisation and rising costs, varying eligibility for student support, immigration controls, and inadequate and inaccessible information and advice, have prevented many from progressing to university. We have heard story after story of disappointment and despondency. The recent story about Nida was just one example. 

“I arrived in the UK from Somalia when I was 13. I went to school and loved it. I studied really hard and did well in my A-Levels, but I had still not had an answer from the Home Office on my case, so I was classed as an international student. It was so hard to watch all of my friends that I’d studied with going to university and getting jobs, when I couldn’t do either. When you look to the future you can’t see anything ahead of you, even though you’ve worked so hard at school…what was it for if I can’t go to university or get a job?"  (Maryam, aged 20, from Somalia)

Over the past 3 years, RSN's Access to Higher Education programme has provided young people like Maryam and Amina with the information, training and support they need to tackle these barriers and move forward in their education.

Our new Toolkit brings together all the expertise and experience we have built up through this programme. Full of useful information and practical guidance, we hope it will enable young asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants to plan their progression into higher education and that it will be a useful reference tool for their teachers, careers advisors and support workers.

Toolkit contents:

•Thinking about your future

•Finding out your eligibility for Student Finance

•Applying to universities

•Waiting for responses

•Planning where to live

•Getting financial support

•Planning to start your course

•Alternatives to university

To order your copy of 'Thinking Ahead to Higher Education' simply download and email us this form.

Please tweet, like and share this information to help it make a difference in the lives of those who most need it.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and information.