Asylum Seeker Scholarships

Applications are now closed. The information on this page relates to the 2021-22 award.

The University of Sheffield is offering four fully funded scholarships for those who have sought refuge in the UK. This page explains the eligibility criteria for the award and how to apply. Please read all of the information below before submitting your application.

The scholarships cover the cost of tuition and provide a £9,840 award to support living costs for each year of study. 


To be eligible to apply you must:

  • have been granted humanitarian protection or limited leave to remain in the UK, be a dependant or partner of someone with humanitarian protection or limited leave to remain, or you or your parent/guardian or partner are an asylum seeker and have submitted a claim within the UK for refugee status and have not yet received a decision from the Home Office on that application,
  • have applied for asylum on arrival in the UK, and before you have applied for a place at university,
  • be unable to access mainstream funding, for example from Student Finance or local authority grants - the exception to this is postgraduate taught students who have refugee status, who are welcome to apply,
  • currently attend a school, college or community/voluntary group who will provide a reference in support of your application,
  • hold an offer to study from the University of Sheffield to study an undergraduate or postgraduate taught course starting in September 2021,
  • be studying at degree level in the UK for the first time (applicable to undergraduate students only)*.

* Please contact the Fees and Funding Team if you have withdrawn from a previous course

You are not eligible to apply for the scholarship if:

  • you have exhausted all appeal rights and have not submitted a fresh claim for asylum or an application to remain in the UK under another immigration category - if your status changes at any stage of the application process you must notify us immediately,
  • you have a ‘no study’ immigration bail condition or a ‘restricted study’ condition that prohibits study in higher education.

How to apply

1. Complete the application form below:

**Applications closed Friday 2 July 2021** 

2. Provide a supporting statement from your referee from the school, college or community/volunteering group you currently attend. Please see further details below on what this must include.

Referee's statement

Your referee must provide their contact details and confirm that the school, college, community/voluntary group that they represent wishes to support your application. The supporting statement should be no longer than 750 words and should answer the following questions:

• What are the applicant's personal and financial circumstances and what barriers have they overcome to continue their education?
• How well suited is the applicant to the higher education course that they plan to take and how realistic are the student's ambitions?
• What contribution, to your knowledge, has the student made to college life and/or their community?
• Is there any other information that you believe is relevant to the student's application?
• How do you think the student would benefit from the scholarship offered by the University of Sheffield?

3. Send us all the documentation you have received from the Home Office in relation to your asylum claim and your referee’s statement.

These can be attached to your application, emailed or posted to us.

The deadline to receive complete applications is 5pm Friday 2 July 2021.

4. A panel of senior University staff will assess all eligible applications. This is a competitive process and applications will be judged using the selection criteria below.

Selection criteria

• Applicant has provided a clear rationale for applying for a course at the University of Sheffield.
• Applicant has clearly articulated future ambitions, these goals relate to the degree they have applied for.
• Applicant has outlined personal circumstances that have presented a challenge to academic progress and has detailed how any barriers have been overcome successfully.

5. All eligible applicants will be notified of the outcome of their scholarship application before Friday 16 July 2021.

If at any point during the application process or after you start your studies, we are informed that your immigration status has changed, such that you are no longer permitted to study at the University, you will no longer be eligible for the scholarship.

Frequently asked questions

I haven’t applied for a course yet, can I apply?

You must have received an offer for a course at the University of Sheffield to be able to apply for a scholarship. You can contact our Admissions Service for advice about how to apply, the courses that are available and the entry requirements:

I don’t have evidence of my previous qualifications, what can I do?

If you are unable to source evidence of previous qualifications please contact us.

My asylum application has been rejected, but I am appealing the decision. Can I still apply for the scholarship?


If your appeal results in a new immigration status with leave to remain, we will then be able to consider your application.

I need to improve my English and have taken an IELTS test. My score is below the course requirement. Can I still get the scholarship?

You will only be eligible to apply for the Asylum Seeker Scholarship if you have a place on a course at the University of Sheffield. To find out what the minimum IELTS requirement is, please visit the relevant course web page.

If you do not have the required IELTS score, and the University will not accept you on the course, you will not be eligible to receive the scholarship.

The English Language Teaching Centre offer a scholarship to help students improve their level of English.

What are my chances of getting the scholarship if I apply?

There are four scholarships available, and we receive a high number of applications. The scholarship is very competitive and you should complete your application to the very highest standard.

Student Finance England have told me that I’m not eligible for student loans, but I’m appealing the decision. Can I still apply for the Asylum Seeker scholarship?

If you are not eligible for loans from Student Finance England (or equivalent funding body), and meet the other criteria, you can apply to the Asylum Seeker Scholarship. If you appeal against their decision not to fund you, and are subsequently successful in receiving government loans, your scholarship application will not be considered.

I am currently studying at another UK university, but would like to transfer to Sheffield and apply for the Asylum Seeker Scholarship.

We only accept applications from students beginning a new course at the University of Sheffield. You cannot apply for the scholarship if you are transferring to Sheffield.

Am I able to apply for the Asylum Seeker Scholarship if I get a place at Sheffield through clearing or adjustment? No, we are not able to consider applicants who are coming to Sheffield through clearing or adjustment.

I would like to apply for the scholarship, but I cannot afford the UCAS application fee to apply for my chosen course. Do you offer any funding for the UCAS application?

No, unfortunately there is no funding available for this.

I will be a PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield. Can I apply to the Asylum Seeker scholarship?

No, you cannot apply if you are undertaking a research degree. Only those studying undergraduate or postgraduate taught courses can apply for the scholarship.

See also