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York recognised as a University of Sanctuary

Posted on 25 September 2020

The University of York has achieved a 'University of Sanctuary' award in recognition of its sector-leading efforts to expand access for refugee and asylum seekers.

The award, led by the charity City of Sanctuary, recognises the efforts of the University's students and staff to welcome forced migrants into the community and promote a culture of inclusion.

Proud moment

Professor Saul Tendler, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, said: "This is a significant achievement for the University and a proud moment for all our staff and students.

“The University of York was founded on principles of excellence, equality and opportunity for all and this ethos of inclusivity is still at the heart of everything we do. We continue to nurture a diverse campus community and welcome students, staff and visitors from all around the world and all backgrounds.

“This award recognises our ongoing commitment to do even more to create a safe and welcoming space for those that are seeking asylum or who are refugees.”

York initiatives

The University has a range of measures in place to increase education opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers. Since 2016, York has offered Equal Access Scholarships for asylum seekers and has continued to increase the number of scholarships available. Eligibility criteria has also been widened in order to reach more people excluded from education, such as forced migrants.

The University also offers support in the form of bursaries for refugee students, and has dedicated advice and support resources for all sanctuary seeking students and applicants within the Student Hub.

Departments across the University are involved in research projects which aim to address the most urgent challenges facing sanctuary seekers and create real and tangible change.

Equal access

An Equal Access scholar who studied at the University between 2016 and 2020 said: “I am incredibly grateful and honoured to have been awarded the Equal Access scholarship. It is the unfortunate reality that refugees face many barriers and do not have equal access to education.

“I am hoping that the skills and the knowledge I have gained as a student at the University of York will enable me to contribute more powerfully to removing these barriers and empower other people”.

The City of York is also a member of the national network of Cities of Sanctuary, a movement to build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK.

To find out more visit: 

To donate to the Equal Access fund, please visit: 


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