By Zeus Simcoe
A petition on change.org is calling for University of the Arts London to create scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers.
The petition, which has already attracted more than 200 signatures, points out that most asylum seekers are not allowed to work, are barred from applying for student loans and live on state support of £5 per day plus accommodation, putting university out of reach for the vast majority.
The organisers are asking UAL to join the growing list of universities offering financial help to refugees seeking to enter higher education.
“As University of the Arts London students and staff, we believe that everyone should have equal action to arts education, regardless of nationality and life circumstances,” say the organisers. “We are calling on our university to fund a number of scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers covering tuition fees as well as a living allowance.”
The first British university to announce scholarships for refugees was the University of East London. It has since been followed by around 30 more institutions.
LSE has increased its funding of scholarships for asylum seekers and refugees to nearly £500,000 a year.
Goldsmiths is offering three undergraduate and three postgraduate scholarships for people affected by events in the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
The University of Sussex offers 50 scholarships, worth £10,000 each, to support Syrian refugees in preparing for university study.
“Our intention is to give these people the opportunity to pursue English for academic purposes in a welcoming environment and to restore their hope for the future by removing the language barrier to enable them to access higher education in the UK,” said Sussex vice-chancellor Michael Farthing.
Sussex’s Student Union supported the decision, with their President, Abe Baldry, saying: “Students at this university care deeply about the world around them and I know that the students who join us through this new scholarship will receive a very warm welcome from our community.”