Equal Access Scholarships for undergraduates

We're pleased to offer two Equal Access Scholarships for undergraduate students who are seeking refuge in the UK. Please note that you must have applied to the University of York before submitting an application for this scholarship.

  • Funding: £12,300 living costs plus a full fee waiver
  • Academic year: 2023/24
  • Open to: International (non-EU) students
  • Qualification level: Undergraduate
  • Number available: 2
Applications for 2023/24 are closed.

The scholarship provides:

  • a full fee waiver (you will not need to pay any tuition fees)
  • a maintenance award of up to £12,300 to help with living costs.

We are thankful that the University of York achieved a 'University of Sanctuary' award in 2020 in recognition of our efforts to welcome refugees and asylum seekers into our community. 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.

Our Equal Access Scholarships support asylum-seeking students to access higher education, and we also provide bursaries for refugee students and dedicated advice and support for all sanctuary seeking students and applicants.

'Getting accepted at university through the Equal Access scholarship has been the most positive highlight in my life, and impacted my life in ways that I will never forget! I am eternally grateful for each and every person that supports this scholarship because I know just how life-changing it can be.'

Maryam Taher, Equal Access Scholar


Open to International (non-EU) students only.

To be considered for the scholarship you must:

  • have a conditional or unconditional offer from the University of York for 2023
  • have applied for asylum before you have applied for a place at university
  • not have access to mainstream funding eg student finance or a local authority grant.

If you are an asylum seeker and have not already done so please apply to the York Access Scheme after submitting your application to the University.

Your current immigration status can be described as one of the following:

  • Discretionary/Limited Leave to Remain (DLR/LLR)
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
  • Humanitarian Protection (HP) and do not have access to mainstream funding
  • awaiting a decision on an application for refugee status
  • leave as an Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC leave)
  • Refused Asylum Seeker - your application for refugee status has been refused and you have submitted an appeal or a fresh claim
  • a dependent or partner of any of the above status groups

If you have already been granted Refugee Status or Humanitarian Protection Status, you may be eligible for financial support from Student Finance England (gov.uk).

You will not be eligible if you:

  • have already completed an undergraduate degree
  • are applying to study at the Hull York Medical School
  • are applying for the two-year LLB (Hons) Law (Senior Status)
  • are applying for a course which includes work placements and you do not currently have a right to work in the UK.

Before applying to study at the University of York you should carefully consider the documentation you have received from the Home Office in relation to your asylum. Please be aware that some programmes require you to undertake work placements that may not be permitted under the terms of your documentation. If you require any advice, please contact us at equal-access-scholarships@york.ac.uk

Asylum seekers without permission to work are advised to seek legal advice if they are considering undertaking a course which includes a work placement. It is very unlikely that the asylum seeker will be able to undertake a placement as part of a course, whether that placement is unpaid, paid, or has an attached training allowance, without first obtaining permission to work. In any case, they should not start the course without obtaining the advice of their immigration lawyer or Home Office case owner, as they might need to have the conditions changed and/or any allowances might have an impact on their entitlement to financial support.

How to apply

Application deadline: Tuesday 25 April 2023, 9am BST

Step 1. Apply to the University of York to study an eligible undergraduate course

Please see our 'eligibility' section to see courses exempt from the scholarship and advice on courses with work placements eg nursing, midwifery, and social work. 

For guidance and support around applying to the University of York visit our undergraduate applications page.

We would encourage you to share information about your circumstances in the ‘more about me' section of your UCAS application. This will help us to support you better. Your UCAS application will also be looked at by our scholarship awarding panel.

Step 2. Complete an Access Scheme application if you are an asylum seeker

If you are an asylum seeker and do not yet have refugee status, please also complete our Access Scheme application form as this will help us to support you and ensure your circumstances are considered when making you an offer.

Step 3. Apply for the Equal Access Scholarship 

You must apply online for this scholarship using our scholarship application form.

As part of the application, you will need to provide:

  • your UCAS personal ID (this is ten digits long and can be found on your offer letter)
  • your York Application ID (this is nine digits long and can be found on your offer letter)
  • evidence of your asylum status, for example, your biometric residence permit
  • answer three supporting questions which will be assessed and help our scholarship awarding panel learn more about you. See the ‘how we allocate’ section for guidance on what our panel is looking for and how these are assessed. 

After applications have closed you may be invited to an informal interview with our scholarship awarding panel. We will contact you directly if we require this.

Step 4. Your application outcome

If you are eligible to be considered for the scholarship, we’ll be in touch by email with the outcome of your application by 31 May 2023.

If you are successful, you must make the University of York your firm choice university on your UCAS application in order to receive the scholarship.  

If you receive any notification of a change to your immigration status during the application period or before commencing your course, you must email equal-access-scholarships@york.ac.uk.

How we allocate

This is a competitive process. Two applicants will each receive the undergraduate award.

A panel from the University will select the successful scholarship awardees.

When assessing your application, the panel will consider:

  • whether you meet the eligibility criteria as outlined above
  • your application to the University including any personal statements or references
  • your responses to three supporting questions.

This helps us to understand a bit more about you, your qualifications and provides some context to your scholarship application. 

Supporting questions

Your answers to the three supporting questions are a key part of your application and our panel will consider these alongside your application to the University itself. Your answers will be marked out of four and we have provided some guidance on what our panel will be looking for so please read this carefully to support you in writing your answers.

We recommend that you prepare your answers on a separate document and copy these into your application form. Each answer should be between 1,000 and 1,500 characters (approximately 250-300 words).

1. Why do you want to study your chosen course? (4 marks)

Our panel are looking for responses that show:

  • evidence that you have researched the course, particularly at the University of York and understand what the course entails. For example, is there a particular part of the course that interests you?
  • your enthusiasm and suitability for the course. Why do you want to study the course? What inspired your decision to study this course? Do you have any previous academic or career experiences with the subject?

2. Why do you want to study at the University of York? (4 marks)

Our panel are looking for responses that show: 

  • evidence that you have done some research into studying and student life at the University and that you have thought carefully about why it is the right choice for you.
  • what is it about the University of York that makes you want to study there? For example, is it a particular course? The facilities or a staff member the department has? Or maybe it's the college and support systems? Is the University near where you currently live?

3. Please provide an example of a success you have had in your previous studies, career or a voluntary position. What qualities or skills did you bring which made it a success? (4 marks)

Our panel are looking for responses that show:

  • your personal strengths. These might be personal qualities like being highly motivated or having a positive outlook or skills such as problem solving, good communication or ability to work with or lead others. The panel wants to know more about you as a person so don't be afraid to write about a few of these and why they helped you to succeed in the example.
  • your ability to overcome challenges, show resilience or solve a problem.
  • what you learned from this experience and how might you apply this learning, your personal qualities and skills to be successful in your future studies?

After applications have closed you may be invited to an informal interview with our scholarship awarding panel. We will contact you directly if we require this.

Terms and conditions

While studying at the University 

You must inform Tracey Clarke, Student Support Services at student-hub@york.ac.uk immediately if you receive any notification of a change to your Asylum Status during your time at the University. We will contact the successful undergraduate applicants to provide an annual update on their residency status each spring.

If you receive a notification of a change in your Asylum Status which means that you become eligible for student financial support from the UK government, you must make an application for support for the next academic year. For example, if you start a course with Asylum Status in September and are then granted Refugee Status in November, you must apply for UK government student financial support for all future academic years of the course. The Student Support Hub can provide you with support and advice for applying for Student Finance for the first time.

If you receive notification that you are liable to be detained, your scholarship will be suspended for the duration of your detention. We will support you to help you resume your studies if your status enables you to continue.

Your scholarship will be renewed for each year of your course providing you satisfactorily progress through to the next year of study and you maintain your registration as a full-time student.

If at any point during the application process or after you start your studies, you are informed by the Home Office that you should not be studying at university, you will no longer be eligible for the award. We will deem you withdrawn and you will be expected to leave your studies immediately.

Contact us

Got a question about applying to York? Email our friendly International Team for advice and support.

If you've already applied to study at York please use You@York to upload any documents. Please do not email documents to us.

+44 (0)1904 324 000