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.

Here's how RSN's HE team can help you:

Answers to frequently asked questions

Many young asylum seekers and refugees ask us the same initial questions about accessing university, so we've come up with the answers to the most frequently asked questions. Please check these FAQs before contacting our helpline. 

Find the answer to your question here

Higher education advice service

Our national advice service 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. Please do check to see if your question has already been answered in our FAQs.

You can contact our advice service in the following ways:

  • By email[email protected]
  • By chatting with us on WhatsApp -  please open this link using your smart phone's internet browser
  • By phone - 07716249158

Our helpline is not currently operating set hours so please leave a clear message with your name and number. The helpline messages are regularly checked and one of our team will call you back. 

If you have a more general question or fall outside the remit of our advice line (ie if you are over 25 or not in the UK) please check our FAQs first to see if your question is answered there.

Chat to our HE advice service on WhatsApp

Face-to-face advice sessions

Want to meet up with our specialist advisor for help with getting to university? We can provide face-to-face support sessions to help you map out your journey to university and get the help and information you need along the way. 

Find out more here

‘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.

Click here to find out more about the toolkit

Training for practitioners

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

Click here to find out more about our higher education training

University scholarships

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

Click here to find out more 

“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)

Want to find out more about higher education for refugees and asylum seekers? 

Here are some links you may find interesting:

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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