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Mary Leishman

undergraduate education
m.leishman@uea.ac.uk

#UEAisUnited - Increase the number of scholarships for refugees

a joint blog with Malaika Jaovisidha, International Students' Officer

We’re calling on UEA to increase the number of scholarships it offers to refugees.

Over the past two weeks, the USA’s travel ban has had a devastating impact on migrants and refugees. It did nothing but foster hate and fear at a time where thousands of people are fleeing war and terror.

uea|su stood firmly against the travel ban, and we stand in solidarity with those affected. We were proud that the Vice Chancellor of UEA spoke out so openly against the travel restrictions ordered by President Trump, and reaffirmed the idea that ‘UEA is United’ against divisions over nationality and religion.

Thankfully, the US Courts fought the President’s executive order.

However, this dispute made us all reflect on the current state of immigration policy. When the refugee crisis first emerged, UEA set up two  scholarships to fund the tuition fees and maintenance costs of refugees who wanted to study here.

We spoke to a few of these students who are at UEA because of these scholarships, and they’ve told us how vital these opportunities are. (Read the full article here).

We want to ask UEA to increase the number of scholarships they’re making available to refugees. Though there are plenty of universities not doing anything, there are others doing a lot more.

For example, Sussex is offering 50 English Language Scholarships for Syrian Refugees. The Saïd Foundation has identified the language barrier as the biggest barrier to higher education, and the University of Sussex and the University of Sussex Students’ Union developed these scholarships in response. Each scholarship is worth £10,000 per student, and will give refugees the support they need, and the language skills, to prepare for university study.

Universities that don’t have the facilities to offer this kind of support are still doing their part. Kent offers four tuition fee waivers to undergraduate asylum seeking students. The London School of Economics offers ten fully funded scholarships for postgraduates who are asylum seekers, as well as three awards for undergraduate students who are asylum seekers (or children of asylum seekers). SOAS offers six undergraduate ‘sanctuary scholarships’ and one master’s scholarship.

We’re asking UEA to do more for refugees who want to study here. Where you were born shouldn’t affect whether or not you get to study, and we’re asking that UEA facilitates refugees in exploring their academic potential.

#UEAisUnited

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