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Sanctuary Scholarships

Sanctuary Scholarships

Apply for a sanctuary scholarship

Applications for 2021/22 now closed

Sheffield Hallam University offers two Sanctuary Scholarships per academic year (one for undergraduate and one for postgraduate study) to support talented students who have sought asylum in the UK. The scholarships are jointly funded by the University and through generous donations from former students.

In addition, in 2021/22 academic year we are launching The Helena Kennedy Centre Sanctuary Scholarship for the MA/LLM Applied Human Rights. The scholarship will enable you to study international human rights law and contemporary refugee studies whilst undertaking an internship in the Refugee Rights Hub and working towards completing a professional qualification with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

The undergraduate scholarship includes

  • A full-tuition fee waiver for the length of the course, up to a maximum of four years.
  • Funding of £4,000 for living costs per year of the course, up to a maximum of four years

The postgraduate scholarship includes

  • a full tuition-fee waiver for the length of the course, up to a maximum of 18 months
  • funding of £4,000 for living costs per year of the course, up to a maximum of 18 months

The Helena Kennedy Centre Sanctuary Scholarship includes

  • a full tuition-fee waiver for the length of the course, up to a maximum of 18 months
  • funding of £4,000 for living costs per year of the course, up to a maximum of 18 months

The scholarships are available for eligible full time or part time undergraduate or postgraduate courses leading to a degree. If you study part time, the scholarship will be pro-rated, according to the intensity of the course, therefore the maximum durations stated above will be increased proportionately.


If you have any questions on the application process, or you need additional support, please contact the SHU Progress Team: 
Tel: 0114 225 4777

The deadline to apply is 13 June 2021.

The Sanctuary scholarship is subject to the Sheffield Hallam University bursary guidelines.

  • Who is eligible to apply?

    You are eligible to apply for the scholarship if you meet all of the following criteria:

    1. You are currently residing in the UK

    2. You are an asylum-seeker or have been granted temporary leave as a result of an asylum application or a human rights application; or you are a dependant of any of the above status groups

    3. You have accepted an offer from Sheffield Hallam University as your firm choice and are planning to start an eligible course* in September of the next academic year

    4. You are not eligible for tuition fee or maintenance loans from Student Finance England (Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) at the start of the course

    * See FAQ 9 for the definition of an eligible course

  • How to apply

    Once you have confirmed your offer from Sheffield Hallam University as your firm choice, you should fill in and submit your Sanctuary Scholarship application form. You will need to attach all of the following items listed below. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. 

    1. Evidence of your current immigration status
    You must upload a copy of your immigration status documents to your online application. This can include: a copy of your ARC card / copy or your current visa / letters about your current application from the Home Office / letters from your solicitor or immigration representative confirming your current status.

    2. A statement from an eligible referee
    You must upload a supporting statement from a referee to your online application. Please read the guidance in the frequently asked questions, question 10, about who is an acceptable referee.

    3. A personal statement
    You must complete a personal statement within your online application. Please read the guidance in question 11 of the frequently asked questions section about how to prepare the content of your personal statement.

    Please apply by completing the online application.


    We will assess your application on the:

    • Strength of the personal statement and reference
    • Commitment of the applicant to undertake and complete studies at Sheffield Hallam University
    • Clarity of the applicant's future plans

    We will inform all applicants if they have been shortlisted. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for a meeting. Applicants who are interviewed will be informed of the outcome of their applications by September. 

  • Support for sanctuary scholars

    In recognition of the additional challenges you face, if you apply to Sheffield Hallam you also get:

    • Help with the application process through SHU Progress
    • Additional support at the start of your studies from a student mentor to help you settle into University life quickly
    • Contact from a nominated specialist adviser during your course
  • Frequently asked questions

    1. How do I access SHU Progress?

    • SHU Progress is a support scheme for students in their year of applying to Sheffield Hallam, whose personal circumstances might mean that they face barriers to going to University
    • The full information about SHU Progress is available online. The guidance contains information about who can nominate you to the scheme. This should be someone in the UK who knows you such as a teacher, tutor, careers/guidance adviser or social worker

    2. How can I access support for the Sanctuary Scholarship application?

    • We offer support through our SHU Progress Scheme. Please call us on 0114 225 4777 or email the team at 

    3. Do I need to provide evidence of my immigration status when I am applying for the University course? 

    • You will be required to provide evidence to the University to help us assess your tuition fee correctly

    4. How do I evidence my immigration status for the scholarship application? 

    You will need to provide a copy of your asylum seeker card and/or any other documents such as:

    • Home Office letter confirming your current immigration status and/or outcome of your asylum application
    • Passport and visa or biometric identity document
    • Letter from the Home Office confirming you have made an application and are awaiting a decision
    • A letter from your solicitor confirming your application to the Home Office

    5. If I am successful, when will the grant for living costs be paid? 

    • The living cost grant will be paid after enrolment, in two instalments in October and February. The payment is subject to maintaining continuous enrolment and engagement with your studies as a full-time or part-time student

    6. What happens if I have to repeat a year of my course?

    • You can only receive the scholarship once per year of the course
    • In exceptional circumstances and if you are affected by events outside of your control, your scholarship may be extended to cover a repeat year
    • If you have to repeat a year due to lack of academic process, you will not be eligible to receive additional financial support for any fees due, or for maintenance, for that year of study

    7. What happens if I have to interrupt my studies for some time? Will I still get the scholarship when I return to study? 

    • Only in exceptional circumstances and if you are affected by events outside of your control, you may be allowed a break in study
    • You need to discuss your situation with the designated adviser before you take a break in study

    8. What if my immigration status changes?

    • You must inform us if your immigration status changes at any point during the application process or after you start your studies
    • If we are informed by the Home Office that you should not be studying at the University, you will no longer be eligible for the scholarship
    • If, at any point of your studies with us, you become eligible for student funding because your immigration status has changed, we will discontinue the scholarship and you will be supported as a refugee student

    9.  Which courses are eligible for the Sanctuary scholarships?

    • Courses which lead to a degree qualification 
    • Courses which do not include a mandatory work placement, unless your immigration status permits work
    • Please note: All students undertaking a work placement as part of their course (even if unpaid) need permission to work in the UK. Most asylum seekers have no right to work in the UK. In exceptional circumstances an asylum seeker may apply for permission to work, however, a positive outcome is not guaranteed as strict conditions need to be met. For this reason, unless you already have permission from the Home Office to work, you should not be applying to do a course with a mandatory work placement because you may not be able to complete it
    10. Who is an eligible referee?

    • A referee must not be someone who is related to you. For example, we would not accept references from parents, family members or friends.
    • Your referee should know you sufficiently well enough to complete the supporting statement. Some examples of acceptable referees include (but is not limited to): your teacher; an employee from a charity assisting you (e.g. Refugee Council, City of Sanctuary, Red Cross); a representative from your faith/place of worship; a health professional.

    11. What do I include in my personal statement?

    The purpose of the personal statement is to understand why you are in need of the scholarship, and how you would benefit from it. It is important to the scholarship committee to know:

    • why you feel you are in need of the scholarship and

    • how the scholarship would benefit you now and after finishing your studies.

    Please answer the above two questions and include information about: your interests, your academic and career plans, your family circumstances, your financial circumstances, any special reasons why you think you should be considered for an award and any other information that you feel might be useful or interesting.  Please do not write more than 800 words.

    12. Are there any other sources of help and information for refugees and asylum seekers?

    A useful list of other universities offering Sanctuary Scholarships can be found here through the Student Action for Refugees charity. You can apply for other Sanctuary Scholarships but please do declare if you do this on your Sanctuary Scholarship to Sheffield Hallam University so we know your full situation. We do not advise on scholarships for other universities, and you should contact the university you are interested in applying to for more information about their scholarships.

    The Refugee Support Network also has lots of helpful information and advice about accessing Higher Education.

    The UK Council for International Student Affairs also has useful information about studying in Higher and Further Education as an international student.

    The City of Sanctuary is a movement to build a culture of welcome and hospitality for refugees and asylum-seekers. You can read more about the City of Sanctuary Sheffield information here.

  • What happens if I am successful?

    You will be notified of the outcome of your application by September.

    You will be asked to accept your Scholarship by agreeing to the Terms and Conditions sent to you when the scholarship is offered.

    Payments will be made directly into your bank account in instalments throughout the year, to be confirmed at point of award. You will be required to provide bank account details to enable the bank transfers. You are responsible for ensuring that the provided bank details are correct.

    You will continue to receive payments for the duration of your studies at the University for up to four years for undergraduate courses (8 years for part-time courses) or 18 months for postgraduate courses (36 months for part-time courses). This will exclude any placement or sandwich years.

    If you change your course, suspend your studies or withdraw from your studies, you will no longer be eligible to receive further Scholarship payments. In such case, you will be entitled to retain the part of the Scholarship already paid to you.

    The Scholarship is subject to your satisfactory academic progress. It may be withdrawn or withheld if you are required to repeat an academic year.

    If you accept the Sanctuary Scholarship, you will no longer be eligible for the Student Success Scholarship managed by Sheffield Hallam University.

    As a new Scholarship student of the University, you will be expected to keep up with your studies and report on your progress throughout your degree.

    You may also be asked to act in an ambassadorial capacity, to produce student case studies, and to attend Scholarship/recruitment events for Sheffield Hallam University as required. This is optional and we will always ask you for your consent to use your personal data for any marketing or fundraising purposes in line with the Student Privacy Notice which can be viewed in full on our website.

    For further enquiries about this scholarship, please contact with the subject "Sanctuary Scholarships" and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

    Updated January 2020

  • Appeals and general policy terms

    If you are unsuccessful in applying for a financial award at the University, you have the right to appeal if you have valid grounds to do so.

    The following are considered valid grounds for appeal:

    • There has been an error or irregularity in the assessment process
    • The decision was not in accordance with the published eligibility criteria for the scholarship or bursary
    • The decision-makers have not taken account of the evidence that was presented by you as part of your scholarship application by the deadlines provided. This does not include any evidence that is presented late or not available by the deadline for applications

    Please note that the following are not considered valid grounds for appeal:

    • Disagreeing with the eligibility criteria relied upon by the decision-maker for the attribution of the scholarship
    • Not being aware of or not applying in time for a scholarship
    • Disagreeing with the awarded amount

    Appeals and related evidence should be submitted online via the Bursary and Scholarship Appeals Form. You will need to log into your UniHub account to access this. The University will not accept appeals by any other means and will not enter into any other communication regarding the appeal whilst it is pending. All decisions are final.

    Deadlines for appeals

    All appeals must be made within 10 working days of the date of the email sent to you by the University that informs you of the outcome of your application.

    Our expectations

    • All students should be honest and transparent in any applications they make for financial support
    • All students should engage in a positive manner with support teams, in line with the University's standards of acceptable behaviour
    • A student who wishes to appeal a decision should present a clear and concise appeal statement, covering clearly all the grounds on which they wish to appeal
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