Sheffield Hallam University announces scholarships for asylum seekers on World Refugee Day

Sheffield Hallam University is launching a new scheme to improve access to higher education for young people who have sought sanctuary in the UK.

From September 2019 the University is to offer two scholarships to asylum seekers – one for undergraduate and one postgraduate study. The scholarships are jointly funded by the University and through generous donations from former students.

Sheffield Hallam University is proudly positioned at the heart of the city and the Sheffield City Region and takes its civic responsibilities seriously, having this year signed a Civic University Agreement pledging to support the city in which it is based.

Announcing the scholarships on UN World Refugee Day, Thursday June 20, Sheffield Hallam University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Chris Husbands, said: “We are committed to transforming the lives of young people living in the city of Sheffield – the original City of Sanctuary, which has welcomed resettled refugees and asylum seekers since 2004.

“Education is a fundamental and universal human right. It provides children and young adults with skills they need to fully participate in their communities and we want to support young asylum seekers to be able to do that.

“Young asylum seekers are not eligible for student finance and face significant financial barriers which prevent them from studying. This means that young asylum seekers in the Sheffield City Region are being prevented from realising their ambitions and are missing out on the opportunity to get a university degree and fulfil their potential.”

One of the two scholarships has been made possible thanks to the contributions of hundreds of former students of the University to the Hallam Fund, the University’s annual fundraising appeal. The Hallam Fund exists to support students in need across the university and the campaign has distributed over £200,000 since it started in 2016.

James Johnston, head of development and alumni engagement at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Our graduates share our belief in the power of education to transform lives and have shown this through their incredible generosity. We want to thank every single person who has donated to make these new scholarships possible.”

The new scholarships build on the support Sheffield Hallam already provides to refugee academics as an institutional member of the Council for Academics-at-Risk.

Since 2017 the University has hosted a refugee PhD researcher from Syria who is carrying out research in engineering, and a second phD student is currently being recruited under the scheme.

The Helena Kennedy Foundation, set up by the University’s Chancellor and renowned human rights lawyer Helena Kennedy QC, has raised awareness of the barriers to higher education faced by asylum seekers and refugees, through its Article 26 project and has made recommendations on how universities can improve access to education for young people who have sought sanctuary in the UK. 

The applications for the new Sanctuary scholarships will open in July. Successful applicants will have their tuition fees paid and an annual maintenance grant of £4,000.

Sheffield Hallam University is committed to working towards safety, prosperity and social inclusion for all.

Every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.

The United Nations’World Refugee Day takes place every year to highlight the plight of and show support for those who have been forcibly displaced and mobilise political will.

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