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Globally, just 1% of refugees get to university.

Attending university is often listed as a primary aim of displaced students. It contributes to rebuilding the lives of individual refugees, is a tool of reconstruction in countries of origin and can enable refugees to contribute more to their host communities.

However, young refugees, asylum seekers and survivors of trafficking face a range of barriers when trying to progress to university, from varying eligibility for student finance and ‘home’ fee status to challenges validating previous qualifications. This means that those with the academic potential to go to university, are often unable to move forward. Read our report,"I Just Want To Study", to understand the issues further.


How RSN can help

Free helpline

Our national advice line is a great starting point for your questions about getting into higher education as a young refugee, asylum seeker or survivor of human trafficking. If you are a young person (aged 16-24), a parent, teacher, advisor, university staff member, social worker, or are dealing with this issue in any other way, please get in touch with us for personalised advice and signposting.

Call our advice line (07597583228 or 0800 331 7292) on Mondays 2-5pm or Thursdays 2-5pm (text us if you want us to call you back), or send an email to [email protected] with your questions and phone number and we will call you.

‘Thinking Ahead to Higher Education’ toolkit

With useful information about how to apply for university, eligibility for support, alternative funding sources and scholarships, and different education options.

Training for practitioners

RSN’s access to higher education (HE) training for university staff, student ambassadors, social workers, teachers and career advisors.

University scholarships

We work in partnership with the Schwab Westheimer Trust which provides university scholarships for young asylum seekers.


“I came to this country when I was 13, but there were complications with my case, and I had to wait seven years to get a decision from the Home Office.  Getting to university was a big challenge for me because they wanted to charge me international student fees. How would you feel if you had to sit at home and wait while your friends go to uni and get jobs?  It’s really important to have people who can help you with this.” (21 year old girl from Somalia)
Refugee Support Network is a charity registered in England & Wales under charity number 1132509 and company number 06879651 at 1st Floor, The Salvation Army Building, London NW10 4JJ. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website. To learn more, read our privacy policy.
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