Skip to content Accessibility statement

York expands scholarship scheme

Posted on 16 November 2016

The University of York has announced the expansion of a scholarship scheme which allows students fleeing conflict an opportunity to study at the University.

The Equal Access Scholarships provides an annual living costs bursary of £10,660 and is matched by the University with a complete fee waiver.

The University already has three students enrolled on the scholarship, but has now agreed to expand the scheme and help fund an additional five students in 2017/18.

The University will offer full fee waivers for all five students and aims to provide bursaries for their living costs through philanthropic funding.

Justice and equality

The scheme was set up by the University in response to Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis and is supported by a range of donors including alumni and staff. 

The University of York’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, said:  “Our commitment to helping asylum seekers reflects the university’s core values of justice and equality.

“We are facing a major refugee crisis in Europe and the University of York will play its part in providing a safe and secure environment for displaced people to study, research and prosper.”


The University welcomed its first Equal Access scholars this October. Donations of all sizes funded two, whilst a third was funded by two generous alumni donors.

Maryam Taher, 19, is studying for a Masters in Biomedical Sciences and is originally from Iraq.

She said: “This is an amazing opportunity for me. The scholarship is life-changing as it has given me an amazing opportunity to continue my education and pursue my dreams.

“Everyone is treated the same, there are no differences between us. I feel at home and welcomed by everyone.”

Maryam hopes to specialise in haematology after completing her studies at York.


Afra Al Sabbagh, 26, is studying Politics with International Relations and is originally from Syria.

She said: “I fled for my safety as the situation in Syria is so dangerous, day after day it is getting worse.

“I wanted to pursue my studies in Syria but that was not possible, but who knows, one day I may be able to go back there but I’m really happy to be part of York and enjoying my time here.”

The Equal Access Fund is also enabling Dr Tamim Chelati, a Syrian refugee, to undertake a Research Fellowship at the Department of Chemistry.  

Further information:

To find out how you can make a difference visit

Media enquiries

Alistair Keely
Head of Media Relations

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153