Welsh universities consider scholarships for refugees

Welsh universities consider scholarships for refugees

- in Education

Graduates

Some Welsh universities are planning to offer scholarships to refugees.

Aberystwyth University is discussing proposals for five scholarships, and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David said it had made commitments for a similar scheme.

Cardiff University already offers financial help to asylum seekers.

Mohammed Al Hadj Ali, chairman of the Syrian Welsh Society, said it was “very difficult” for people fleeing war to continue their studies in Wales.

“Medical students do not have very many options when you are trying to get funding for a very expensive course, £25,000 per year for fees and living costs, it’s not affordable for someone who can’t even apply for a student loan,” he told BBC Wales.

Aberystwyth University has held discussions with the British Council, the UK HE International Unit and Universities UK over the scholarships.

It will draw up detailed plans including financial implications over the coming academic year.

Cardiff University does not have a cap on how many refugees it will fund, subject to a budget of about £80,000 over four years.

Applicants must be able to prove they are an asylum seeker or the child of an asylum seeker.

Bangor University said it has a number of scholarships aimed at international students and can provide extra support in exceptional circumstances.

Glyndwr University in Wrexham said it had no plans to provide scholarships.

Swansea University said it was not offering any particular scholarships to refugees but that does not stop individuals from applying for any already on offer.

Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales have been asked what their plans are.

All 22 Welsh councils have pledged to take in refugees fleeing civil war in Syria. About 78 Syrians have been resettled so far.

‘Difficult’

Mohammad Haji-Saleh arrived in Wales as a refugee last year and has been living in Cardiff for a year. He had to leave his medical studies in Syria.

“I have passed the first two years [in Syria], I have applied for many universities but it is difficult. I’m still trying to continue my studies,” he said.

Dr Al Hadj Ali said finance was not the only barrier for students forced to abandon their studies when fleeing their country.

“Some of them are requested to provide documents which they could not get when they had to flee Syria,” he said.

“And some universities do not accept you on a course if you have been on a similar course somewhere else.

“They had to flee a war zone, they did not have too many options, it’s not like a student in Bangor applying for Cardiff because they have been fired from their course, so they should be treated in a different way.”

He said students can apply to observe at universities and become engaged more quickly in academia in the UK that way.

[Source:- BBC]