University offers 50 English language scholarships for Syrian refugees

Syrian refugees at Budapest Keleti railway station, Hungary. Photo by Mstyslav Chernov [CC BY-SA]

A new scholarship to support 50 Syrian refugees to prepare for university study has been established by the University of Sussex.

Each scholarship is worth up to £10,000 per student and will cover the full course tuition fees together with £100 per week contribution towards living costs.

The Sussex Refugee Scholarship will enable Syrians to take an intensive English language course in preparation for university study. The scholarship will be open to Syrian nationals aged 18 to 25 who are - or who will be - in the UK under the Government's Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme ('SVPRS').

Announcing the scholarship, Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Farthing said: “We want to do what we can to help young people displaced from Syria whose education has been destroyed or disrupted.

“Our intention is to give these people the opportunity to pursue English for academic purposes in a welcoming environment and to restore their hope for the future by removing the language barrier to enable them to access higher education in the UK.”

The language barrier to higher education has been identified by the Said Foundation as the most pressing need and these new scholarships are the University’s direct response to the Said Foundation’s call to partner universities for assistance.

The scholarships were developed following discussions with the Said Foundation, the University of Sussex Students’ Union and staff across the University.

President of the Union, Abe Baldry, said: “Students at this university care deeply about the world around them and I know that the students who join us through this new scholarship will receive a very warm welcome from our community.

“We want to play as big a part as we can in helping those affected by war and turmoil and are working very closely with University staff on a number of ideas.”

Courses are for five, 10, 16 or 28 weeks in preparation for university study. Duration depends on International English Language Testing System (IELTS) level at entry.

To be eligible for the Sussex Syrian Refugee Scholarship, as well as meeting the English language requirements, applicants must:

  • Complete the application form, which includes information on previous education and a personal statement, to a satisfactory standard
  • Provide evidence that they are in the UK as part of the UK Government's Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme for Syrian nationals ('SVPRS')  
  • Provide evidence that their visa awarded as part of SVPRS permits full time study at the University e.g. a EU Unified Format Form (EUUFF)
  • Be aged between 18 and 25 at the date of the commencement of the relevant English Language course

Full details of the application process will be provided once applications open.

This week the University is also launching a fundraising appeal to support its Hardship and Opportunities Fund, which has historically supported students from disaster or war-torn territories across the world. In recent years the Fund has provided a life-line to students returning from Thailand, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.

The Sussex Refugee Scholarship is just one of the ways that the University of Sussex is responding to Europe’s refugee crisis. Other activities include:

  • a recently launched postgraduate scholarship in partnership with the Said Foundation for students from Palestine, Syria and the wider Middle East commencing study in 2016.
  • a round-table event on 30 September, bringing together experts from the University’s Sussex Centre for Migration Research, Sussex Africa Centre, Sussex Asia Centre, and School of Global Studies. The speakers will cover the latest research at Sussex that is contributing to our understanding of the situation and explore what can be done in practical terms
  • ongoing collaboration with Brighton-based refugee group Sanctuary on the Sea, looking for ways that the University can support their work in the long term.

Last week the University also welcomed two undergraduate recipients of its newly launched 2015 Undergraduate Scholarship targeted to candidates with ‘Discretionary Leave to Remain in the UK’.

University of Sussex Media Relations contacts: Jacqui Bealing (01273 877437) and James Hakner (01273 877966) –


By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Wednesday, 25 November 2015