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Equal Access Fund


The daily allowance for asylum seekers in the UK

Only three

Equal Access Scholarships awarded each year


Annual scholarship award


Help us support more students

Opening up opportunity for all

Many students who have been forced to flee their homes know that an education is vital to securing a better future.

This has never been more important than right now. We are closely monitoring the growing humanitarian crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan, and support has been put in place to help students and academics directly at risk.

We are also continuing our commitment of welcoming students with asylum-seeking status. Asylum-seeking students cannot access student finance and are classed as overseas students, meaning they have to pay the higher overseas rate of tuition fees. Such barriers place any hope of higher education completely out of reach as they are forced to live on as little as £5.66 per day.

Mithila Roy, BSc in Interactive Media and Uchenna Osigwelem, BEng in Electronics Engineering, Equal Access Scholars

Supporting those in crisis

We are responding to current events, and we are continuing to do everything we can to support those affected by the unfolding crisis in Ukraine and students who have recently fled Afghanistan.

Thanks to the support of both the University and donors, we are able to provide emergency assistance for up to 10 prospective students affected by the Russia-Ukraine crisis; offer-holders both in Ukraine and Ukrainian nationals residing in other countries. We have offered full scholarship support and an annual fee waiver, as well as help with travel and accommodation needs. But there is more that we need to do.

Since August 2020, we have also supported 6 students fleeing Afghanistan. By maintaining direct contact with our Afghan students and keeping in pace with a fast-moving situation, we were able to offer urgent scholarship funding and a fee waiver in addition to individual welcome packages and accommodation support.

Support students in crisis

With the sudden fall of the international community-backed government in Afghanistan, I lost my job and the savings that I secured in the bank for my family's needs and to invest in my education in the future. This scholarship ensured my survival as my life was completely in danger back in Afghanistan.

Afghan Equal Access Scholar, MA Public Administration and Public Policy

Equal Access Scholarships

Maryam Taher, Equal Access Scholar

Equal Access Scholarships enable students seeking asylum to access a York education. Each Scholarship provides an annual living costs bursary of £12,300 funded by donations and is matched by the University with a complete tuition fee waiver. Since 2016 we have supported over 20 asylum-seeking students to study at York.

It is thanks to the support of many alumni, friends, current students and staff that we’ve been able to increase the number of scholarships available to meet demand and now aim to offer two undergraduate and one postgraduate scholarship every year. Please join them by making a gift.

Make a gift today


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

University of Sanctuary

The University has a long history of being a place of safety for people caught up in conflict and in need of refuge.  In recognition of our sector-leading efforts to expand access for refugee and asylum seekers, we were awarded ‘University of Sanctuary’ in September 2020.    

Our responsibility as a University of Sanctuary means that we are committed to being a ‘University for All’. One of the ways we continue to demonstrate this commitment is by providing Equal Access Scholarships for students from displaced communities.

Find out more

Butshilo Nlyea and Rinolsa Lataj, Equal Access Scholars

Professor Simon Parker, Donor to the Equal Access Scholarship, Co-Chair of the University of York Migration Network

“I think the University of Sanctuary is very important for the University because it is an acknowledgement of the very real strides that we have made as an academic community in creating equal access scholarships and bursaries which have really been life changing for those who have been able to benefit from them. But it also recognises York’s achievement of City of Sanctuary status that a number of staff and current and former students have been centrally involved in, as well as the donations of money and time that members of the University and alumni have made in order to create a culture of welcome and support for people with refugee backgrounds in the city and university.”

If you would like any more information, please email