Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>York Unlimited>Our Priorities>University of Opportunity>Equal Access Fund

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

Stand with asylum seeking students

Like Nazia, 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 have been closely monitoring the humanitarian crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan, and support has been provided to help students and academics like Nazia 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.

Supporting those in crisis

Thanks to the support of donors, we have been able to support 6 students fleeing Afghanistan since August 2021. 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.

We have also provided emergency assistance for 9 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.

Support students in crisis

When the Taliban took over their main target was women. Every day they would announce new decrees that would restrict women’s rights, for example the right to work, the right to education, the right to express themselves in public life. Leaving my home was the only option left for me. Without the support of the International Team and the Equal Access Scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to come to York and pursue my dream.

Nazia, LLM International Human Rights Law

Equal Access Scholarships

Nazia, Equal Access Scholar

Equal Access Scholarships enable students seeking asylum to access a York education and fulfill their hopes of contributing to the community. 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; this includes overseas students and those coming through the UK schooling system.

It is thanks to the support of staff, alumni, current students and friends 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 today.

Make a gift today


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 and Rinolsa, Equal Access Scholars

Sam Thorpe, Regional Manager of International Recruitment, Partnerships and Mobility

“The most rewarding experience of my job has been right here on campus, meeting face-to-face with the Afghan Equal Access scholars upon their safe arrival. Following their journeys out of Afghanistan was nerve wracking at times. We didn't know if they were going to make it out of the country. I have seen how the Equal Access Scholarships can positively change the lives of people who, due to no fault of their own, may find themselves in an extremely vulnerable position. Education and the stability that this scholarship provides enables a person to rebuild their life and make a home.”

If you would like any more information, please email