LUU should lobby the UoL to do more to increase the accessibility and publicity of refugees studying at UoL

Passed: March 2020 (17th)

What do you want? / Why do you want it?

Our University describes itself as a “truly multicultural and international institution” and hails itself as historically welcoming students of all faiths and backgrounds.

Asylum seekers face yearly international fees of £19,500. Refugees face home fees, with often no access to student finance. This clearly doesn’t align with A26 of the human rights act: “HE should be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit”

UoL currently has 3 sanctuary scholarships. For this academic year, there were 110 applications for these scholarships. 46 were eligible, 8 were interviewed. Schools were asked if they could reduce the cost of the courses but refused to in every case. Compared to the demand, this is a pitiful amount of scholarships awarded. The Universities of Manchester and Bristol offer 5 and 10 places respectively. We should be at the bare minimum matching these. Meetings in March 2019 expressed targets for more scholarships, but the grant money remained the same.

University of Sanctuary Awards are offered by the City of Sanctuary. The award celebrates the good practice of universities welcoming refugees and fostering a culture of inclusion for all. A motion passed almost 2 years ago, calling for UoL to gain this award. Our university already fulfils a significant part of the criteria for the award but evidently student pressure is crucial to gaining it.

14 other UK universities are universities of sanctuary, and more join every year. Everyday we haven’t gained this award, we show we’re falling behind on our treatment of refugees.

IELT English tests currently cost up to £200 in some countries. It’s yet another barrier for refugees seeking higher education. For the many refugees here who live off £37 a week, this is unattainable, and hardly the first impression that UoL wants to create. STAR is in contact with individual refugees in Leeds we know want to study here but cannot even start the process because of this initial fee.

We believe the university should:

  1. Award 10 Sanctuary Scholarships for the academic year beginning Sep 2021. The university should be actively seeking further funding from external sources to allow this.

  2. The committee for making UoL a University of Sanctuary should make its timeline public and complete the process by the end of 2020

  3. The IELT English test should be made free or reimbursable to anyone eligible for a sanctuary scholarship (regardless of if they eventually receive this scholarship)

Expires: March 2023 (17th)

Submitted By: Joe Shotton (on behalf of Student Action for Refugees)

Officer: Union Affairs / Education / International

Area of Work: Access to Education


November 2021: A lot of this work was unfortunately put on hold across the pandemic, but there has been a recent very positive update. The University are currently in the process of putting together a University of Sanctuary Working Group. The hope is for this group to lead their work towards gaining Sanctuary status. They have administrative support for the meetings, as well as funding for a position to do the audit work needed. They're hopeful that they'll be able to move quite swiftly. An LUU Exec Officer will be on the group, likely the International & Postgraduate Officer, as well as representatives from STAR.

November 2020: Political Engagement Team, Union Affairs Officer and STAR have been invited to future working group meetings- date of next meeting is to be confirmed.

June 2020: Unfortunately there are no major updates to this work over the summer as a result of lots of LUU staff being furloughed (ongoing), as well as the LUU building and campus being closed. As staff return to work and the new Officer team settle into their roles this will be picked up again.

May 2020: You can see additional updates on our University of Sanctuary policy page.

March 2020: New Policy - proposers are already part of the University of Sanctuary Working Group, and in communication with the Political Engagement Manager who also sits on that group.