Sanctuary Scholarship

Level of study
Postgraduate taught masters, Any Undergraduate
Subject area
Arts and Law, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Life and Environmental Sciences, Medical and Dental Sciences, Social Sciences
EU, Overseas (Non-EU), UK
Type of Award
Deadline for applying
Closed 30/04/2023 (Note: competition closed for this year)

Award Description

The University of Birmingham is pleased to be able to offer five Sanctuary Scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students starting at the University in 2023 who have sought refuge in the UK. We are committed to providing a welcoming environment for asylum seekers and we are passionate about being a University of Sanctuary. 

Value of Award

Sanctuary Scholars receive a full tuition-fee waiver and £5,000 per year of study to help with living costs. The University will also offer a fully funded place in University-owned accommodation to all Scholars for the duration of your course. You will also receive a welcome pack on starting at the University, which will include useful resources to help get your studies off to a great start.

Eligibility Criteria

The Sanctuary Scholarships have been established to help prospective students who have sought refuge in the UK and are unable to access student loans or other sources of statutory funding available in the UK, due to their residency status.

To be considered for a Sanctuary Scholarship you must be able to demonstrate that you meet the following conditions at the point your application for the Scholarship is made: 

  • You must be unable to access mainstream UK student funding due to your residency status at the point your application for the Scholarship is made. 
  • You must have submitted, or be a dependant* of someone who has submitted, an asylum application in the UK OR you need to have already been granted discretionary leave, at the point your application for the Scholarship is made. 
    • *To be classed as a dependent, spouses/civil partners must have been the spouse/civil partner on the date which the asylum application was made. Children/step-children must have been aged under 18 on the date on which the asylum application was made.
  • You must have made an application to study at the University of Birmingham for a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate taught course beginning in September 2023.  
    • Please note that an application for the scholarship is not an application to study at the university. A separate application for admission to the University of Birmingham needs to be made before you make an application for the Sanctuary Scholarship. If your application to study is rejected, we will be unable to consider your application for the Scholarship. 

If your status changes after you have made an application for the Sanctuary Scholarship, at any point prior to or during your studies, it’s really important that you get in touch with us to discuss the issue as quickly as possible by emailing us at

We know that understanding if you are eligible for these awards can be difficult, so we have provided some answers to the questions we are most asked. The answers to these questions are only about your eligibility to apply for the Sanctuary Scholarship and do not confirm that you will receive an award:

Can I apply for the award if I am not currently living in the UK?

No, you must be currently living in the UK to be eligible to apply for a Sanctuary Scholarship.

Can I apply with limited leave to remain?

Yes, if the limited leave to remain has been granted on the grounds of humanitarian protection and not in relation to other immigration categories (such as Spouse, Skilled Worker, Tier 5, etc.).

Can I apply if I have been granted humanitarian protection?

If you have been granted humanitarian protection but have been told that you are not eligible for student finance then you can apply for a Sanctuary Scholarship.

Can I supply a reference from an organisation or institute outside of the UK?

Yes, you can supply a reference from any professional who knows your circumstances and can comment on your academic background.

What if my asylum application is under consideration?

You can be considered for a Sanctuary Scholarship if have an asylum application under the correct category that is still under consideration, so long as you meet the other eligibility criteria.

I am from Ukraine, can I apply?

In most cases, those from Ukraine under the Ukrainian Schemes will not be eligible for the Sanctuary Scholarship. This is because Ukranian students are able to access student funding from the UK Government, and we hope to give the opportunity to those who cannot access public funding. There is more information on the support that Ukrainian students can access on the Government website - Support for students from Ukraine in UK higher education.

In some circumstances, we will consider those from Ukraine for the Sanctuary Scholarship. These would be those who are unable to access public funding from the UK Government. For example, if a student already has a masters degree, this would make them unable to access student finance, and therefore we would consider their application.

How to Apply

To make an application for the scholarship you must: 

1. Make an application to study at the University of Birmingham – Applications to study at the University of Birmingham are separate from applications for the Sanctuary Scholarship. There are different ways to make an application to study at the university. You can read about how to apply for foundation, undergraduate or postgraduate study on our website. If you are having issues your application to study at the university, please contact our Admissions team at

2. Complete the letter of authority form – The Letter of Authority form gives us the authority to confirm your status with the Home Office and for us to discuss your case with them. You need to complete this section first for us to be able to consider you for an award. Once you have submitted this first section of the form, you will then be able to access the main scholarship application form through the link provided in the submission confirmation message at the end of the letter of authority.

3. Main Application Form - The final step is to complete the main application form. The application form will ask some questions about your current situation, a reference (if possible), and then some short personal statement style questions. You will need to complete all the sections of the form to be considered for an award. 

You can apply for a Sanctuary Scholarship through our online application form, which will close at 23:59 on 30 April 2023.

It’s important to remember that the availability of awards is limited and as such not all applications will be successful. Applicants will be informed of the outcome by the end of June.

The selection process is as follows:

  1. After you’ve completed the online application form, Funding, Graduation and Awards will check your application and contact you if we need any further information.
  2. Your application will then be reviewed by the University’s International Student Team (IST) to check that you meet the edibility criteria for an award. The University will need to contact the Home Office on your behalf, so it’s important that you complete the authorisation form as part of your scholarship application.
  3. If your application is taken forward, it will be shared with the University’s Sanctuary Scholarship panel, who will identify the applicants that we would like to invite for an interview. 
  4. For those who make it to this stage, the interviews will take place in the week commencing Monday 29 May 2023 either at our Edgbaston campus or on-line.
  5. Successful candidates will be identified at the interviews and notified of the outcome by the end of June. All awards are made at the discretion of the panel and there is no appeal against a decision not to award a scholarship.
  6. If necessary, the successful candidates will then be invited to an IELTS testing day, hosted by the Birmingham International Academy (BIA), for English Language testing in either late June or July.


Application Support

We are hosting a range of support sessions for those interested in applying to the Sanctuary Scholarship.

Online Information Session

On Thursday 30th April 2023, from 5pm - 6pm, we are hosting an online session that will provide insight into the application process for the Sanctuary Scholarship. For this talk, there will be a 30 minute panel presentation from Funding, Graduation and Awards, the International Student Team, Admissions and Accommodation. Following, there will be 30 minutes to anonymously ask any questions you may have about the Scholarship.

Open Day

We are also hosting an in-person open day at out Edgbaston campus on the 19th April 2023, from 12pm - 3pm. The Open Day will be tailored for those who are interested in the Sanctuary Scholarship. The day will begin with a talk from a panel of including Funding, Graduation and Awards, the International Student Team, Admissions, Accommodation and the Birmingham International Academy (BIA). Following there will be a taster lecture from a University of Birmingham professor, and a tour of our campus. This allows you to ask any questions that you may have about applications, the scholarship and life at the University of Birmingham. We will also provide lunch and refreshments for the day.

Further Support

If you need any support with your application, please contact us at and we will do our best to help. 

You may also find the following organisations useful:


Funding, Graduation & Awards