Sanctuary Seekers

Applying and studying at university can be a challenge for any student, but for those who are seeking sanctuary or been granted refugee status in the UK, there can be many legal and emotional challenges as well. We work in partnership with local and national organisations to ensure that we can offer effective support for you.

All sanctuary seeking students, those with humanitarian protection and those with refugee status (not just Sanctuary Scholarship) can talk to a Specialist Adviser. Send us an email to get in touch at or call +44 (0)161 295 0023 (option 1, option 3).

Useful resources


Schwab & Westheimer Trust Scholarships and Educational Support

The Schwab & Westheimer Trust Scholarships offer educational support and grants for refugees. Currently, they have extended some of the deadlines for their scholarships. The deadline for the Westheimer scholarship and Emanuel scholarship - two of the four Schwab & Westheimer Trust scholarships offered this cycle - have been extended until 24th May 2024.

The Moser scholarship and Marks scholarship will close on 10th May 2024.


Sanctuary Scholarship

The University of Salford provides Sanctuary Scholarships to enable people seeking sanctuary/asylum or other forced migrant backgrounds to progress to higher education. We are proud to be one of the first of a growing number of universities to offer Sanctuary Scholarships. We have offered these scholarships since 2012 and all scholarship holders have been successful in finishing and gaining a degree. Sanctuary Scholarship applications are now closed for the 2024/25 academic year. They will reopen again in January 2025 for courses beginning in September 2025.

If you have any queries about the scholarship in the meantime, please email us at .

Sanctuary Scholarship Guidance

Background information

Successful applicants for the Sanctuary Scholarship will be provided with:  

  • Tuition Fee Grant: Successful students will be offered a tuition fee-remitted place at university until such time as they are awarded status that entitles them to access student finance.  

  • A Travel and Course Costs Bursary: Successful students will be offered a £1100 a year (for three years, paid in two annual payments of £550) bursary to help with travel and course costs.  

  • Personal Support: In addition to fee remission, support will be developed for each student to enable them to identify and overcome barriers to achievement on their degree programme and for their future careers.  

We will not be able to provide any financial support for accommodation or living costs unless the student is homeless in which case, we may be able to offer emergency housing at the University or with a partner accommodation provider for accommodation on a short-term basis only while we work with the student to find longer-term accommodation. Students should only apply if they are able to support these costs themselves during their university course.  

Eligibility criteria and the selection process

Before making an application for the Sanctuary Scholarship, please ensure that you meet our eligibility criteria as follows:  

  • An asylum seeker or the partner/dependant of an asylum seeker; or

  • An asylum seeker/partner/dependant who has been granted Discretionary Leave to Remain (DLR) or some other form of temporary status  

  • From another forced migrant background and not eligible to apply for Student Finance  

  • Have a conditional or unconditional offer from the University of Salford for an undergraduate course for September 2024 start. Note you need to apply for a Salford course via UCAS or in some cases, you can apply directly with the university. Please note that you will need to apply for more than one course/university on UCAS so please ensure that you apply for Sanctuary Scholarship universities only to increase your chances of getting a place that you can afford to take up. Please also note that you must apply for both your university place and for the Scholarship by completing the online application form. Do not assume that because you have an offer for a course at Salford that you will be automatically considered for the Scholarship because you will not.

  • Be currently attending a school, college, community or voluntary group which can provide a reference in support of your application. References from Educational institutions are preferable if possible.  

  • Be unable to access mainstream funding, e.g. student finance or a local authority grant. Those that are classed as care leavers (Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children) and previously were under local authority care can however apply but will need to attach a letter from your local authority detailing the support that they will offer you whilst studying.  

  • Live within commuting distance of the University of Salford (preferably in the Greater Manchester Public Transport Executive area) or are able and willing to easily move to the local area to start university in September 2024 with accommodation in the local area that you can afford. We will require evidence of this.  

  • Do not require support for living expenses or accommodation. 

Please note that in 2024/2025 all undergraduate courses are open for applications for the scholarship, apart from self-funding parts of degrees such as pilot studies.  

How to apply 

Sanctuary Scholarship applications are now closed for the 2024/25 academic year. They will reopen again in January 2025 for courses beginning in September 2025. When they re-open we will provide a link to the application form here.

You must also give your application to your supporting referee and ask them to complete a supporting statement. If you cannot upload your supporting statement to the form, please contact the Specialist Support Team at  as you may be able to send it via post or email instead. 

All application forms must be signed by the Principal of the school or college or a Senior Manager of the voluntary or community group supporting the student’s application.  

Completing the application form 

There are five sections to complete in the online application form. The information you provide on the form will be held and processed in accordance with our Data Protection Policy. Only the Specialist Support Team will be able to access these applications and they will not be shared outside the team without your specific consent. We may however need to share some information about your application with other teams at the University and/or with Article 26 to ensure that your application is seamless.

Notes on how to complete each question on the application form are provided below. Please read these to ensure you are giving the correct information.  As an applicant, you will need to complete sections one, two and three of the application form yourself. Additionally, you will need to get your referee to complete sections four and five. 

Section 1: Personal details   

  • Please complete the personal information section of the form – we need this information to contact you about your application.   

  • Please ensure that you put your name as you would want to see it on, for example, a certificate, with your first name in one box and your second name (or family name) in the other   

  • Please tell us which college, school or community or voluntary organisation you currently attend and which course or courses you are studying (if appropriate). If you are not currently studying, please give details of any qualifications that you hold.   

Section 2: Applicant’s Personal Statement   

When answering the questions in the personal statement section of the form please consider the following. In making a judgement about your application, the selection panel will base their assessment on:   

  • Your personal and family circumstances and the barriers that you have faced in continuing your education - with particular reference to your current status in the UK.  

  • Your ambitions for the future, why you have chosen your course of study and how the Sanctuary Scholarship will help you to achieve your ambitions.   

  • Your financial circumstances, including how you have managed financially whilst at college and how you will support yourself at university – the University of Salford cannot support living costs, such as accommodation and food - how will you support these costs whilst at university?   

  • What additional support will you need whilst at university? For example, do you have a disability? (Please note disclosure of this will not affect your application negatively. We welcome applications from disabled students, but we encourage you to disclose your disability, so you receive the right support.)   

Your application for the Sanctuary Scholarship is completely confidential and the selection panel will only be able to consider information that you provide on your application form. Whilst the selection panel does need some details of personal circumstances, we do not need to know about the circumstances that led to you seeking asylum in the UK if you do not wish to provide this information, although it may help in some circumstances. Your supporting referee will be asked to give a supporting statement about you but if there is any information that you feel should be taken into account when your application is considered you must include it here.   

Section 3: Declaration of eligibility and checklist   

This is for you, the applicant, to complete. 

  • Please confirm that, should your application be successful, you will inform the askUS team immediately if your circumstances change.   

  • Please confirm, by ticking the appropriate box, that you meet the eligibility criteria.   

  • Please confirm that all sections of the application form have been completed. Again, sections one, two and three should be completed by the applicant, and then sections four and five should be completed by the referee. 

  • Please confirm that you have attached your reference. 

  • Please confirm that you accept that the selection process is competitive and there is no appeals procedure; the selection panel decision is final. 

  • Please confirm that you have the right to study, with attached proof of this. 

  • Please agree to information sharing across the Specialist Support Team. 

  • Please confirm that all of the information provided is true and accurate. 

Section 4: Referee’s Supporting Statement   

The Referee’s Supporting Statement is an important part of the selection process. Applications will only be accepted for consideration if they are accompanied by the referee’s supporting statement and signature. The applicant should not complete this. 

Please be sure to include all the requested information and any other information that you believe should be taken into consideration by the selection panel. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide their referee with a copy of their personal statement.   

When completing the referee’s supporting statement please consider the following:   

  • The referee providing the supporting statement must provide their contact details and confirm that the school, college or community or voluntary group that they represent wishes to support the student’s application. Note that we may contact the referee without informing the applicant.   

  • The student’s application will not be accepted without a supporting statement.   

The Referee’s Supporting Statement should be no more than 500 words and should cover the following: 

  1. What are the applicant’s personal and financial circumstances and what barriers have they overcome to continue their education?   

  1. How well suited is the applicant to the higher education course they plan to take and how realistic are the student’s ambitions?   

  1. What contribution, to your knowledge, has the student made to a) college life and/or b) their community?   

  1. Is there any other information that you believe is relevant to the student’s application?   

  1. How do you think the student would benefit from the support offered by the University of Salford’s Sanctuary Scholarship?   

Section 5: Referee and Principal/Senior Manager declaration 

  • This section is for the applicant’s referee and the principal/senior manager of the organisation your referee works at to fill in to confirm true and accurate details have been provided. 

  • Please look through the items in the checklist carefully and tick to indicate that you have met all these requirements. Note that all boxes must be ticked to be considered for an interview.   

Informing you of the outcome of your application 

Please note that this is a competitive process and not all applications will be successful. Last year we had over 40 applications for four places. There is no appeals process; if you are not successful the panel’s decision is final. You are welcome to reapply next year if you are unsuccessful.  

Following the initial assessment, after the closing date we will contact you to let you know whether your application will progress to the next stage of the selection process. If your application is taken forward, you will be invited to an interview to verify the information you have provided in your application. If you are successful in being offered a Sanctuary scholarship award you will be informed within two weeks of your interview.  

Information about programmes can be found on the following pages:

We especially welcome applications for programmes in the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology as these are often underrepresented in the applications that we receive.

If you have any questions about support you can receive as a sanctuary seeking student, please contact our Specialist Advisers: