Asylum seekers’ access to Higher Education

Created on: 15 Nov 2019

Asylum Seekers and those staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds because of their immigration status are not supported through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) which funds most Scottish students.

However, there is other support available such as scholarships and from other organisations who support asylum seeker students or those without immigration status.


Scholarships meet the cost of tuition fees and include an allowance for essential study-related expenditure. In seeking entry to a university on a scholarship basis, applicants should apply for their preferred course through UCAS.

Universities look at scholarship applications from potential students who:

  • hold a conditional or unconditional offer for study at the institution that they have applied for; and
  • have submitted, or are the dependant of someone who has submitted, an application to the Home Office for recognition as a Refugee under the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees (hereafter “The Convention”) and who has not yet received a decision from the Home Office on that application or the outcome of an appeal on that application; or
  • have been offered leave to remain in the UK on the grounds of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, provided that the student has not become eligible for Student Support from the relevant student funding body in Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland

Applications will also be considered from students who have already started their course of study but have subsequently applied for asylum and can no longer access their original funding. In these cases, it will be necessary to establish that the original funding for study is no longer available and applicants will be required to provide supporting evidence.

Scholarships for asylum seekers are available:

More detail on this scholarship can be found on the University of Strathclyde website.

More detail on this scholarship can be found on the Glasgow University website.

Fee waivers and home fees

The University of the West of Scotland and the University of Glasgow both consider fee waivers and granting of home fees on a case by case basis.

The Carnegie Trust is also a potential funding source for prospective students who have lived in Scotland for a while. The Carnegie Trust can help with fees if a university has agreed to consider granting home fees on an exceptional basis. 

Glasgow Refugee and Migrant Network (GRAMNet)

Glasgow University also helps asylum seekers through a group called GRAMNet.

You can email general enquires to David Wright, Network Administrator at: or

Or write to: 11 The Square, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ 

Advice on these matters and referrals for legal advice are available from the Scottish Refugee Council and/or appropriate UK agencies.