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Sanctuary Scholarships

Sanctuary Scholarships

Apply for a sanctuary scholarship

Applications closed for Sanctuary Scholarship 23/24

Sheffield Hallam University is proud to be a University of Sanctuary. The University offers three Sanctuary Scholarships per academic year 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. The scholarships are intended to meet study costs, such as travel and study materials.

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 costs associated with your studies, such as travel and study materials

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 costs associated with your studies, such as travel and study materials

The Helena Kennedy Centre Sanctuary Scholarship is:

  • a full tuition-fee waiver for MA or LLM Applied Human Rights course, up to a maximum of 18 months
  • funding of £4,000 for costs associated with your studies, such as travel and study materials
  • the scholarship will enable you to study international human rights law and contemporary refugee studies whilst undertaking an internship in the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice

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.


You can apply if you:

1. You have made an asylum application in the UK prior to applying for the Sanctuary Scholarship. You must have an immigration status connected to your asylum claim. You must be residing in the UK.

2. Are not eligible for funding from Student Funding England (Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland) at the start of your course of the next academic year

3. Hold an academic offer (or are awaiting a decision) to study at Sheffield Hallam University for an eligible course starting in September

How to apply

1. Read the eligibility criteria, shortlisting information and the guidance for applicants before applying

2. Complete an online application form


Applications closed for Sanctuary Scholarship 23/24


If you have any questions on the application process, or you need additional support during this application year, please contact the SHU Progress Team. Please note they cannot advise on your eligibility for the Sanctuary Scholarship.

SHU Progress is a support scheme for students in their year of applying to Sheffield Hallam, whose personal circumstances might mean they face barriers going to University. Students from refugee backgrounds are welcome to join the scheme. The full information on the support you may be eligible for is available online.

Tel: 0114 225 4777


1. Immigration Status

To be eligible for the Sanctuary Scholarship you must be able to demonstrate your immigration status is connected to an asylum application that is ongoing or you have made in the past prior to making your Sanctuary Scholarship application. You must be residing in the UK.

You must hold one of the following immigration statuses at the time you make your sanctuary scholarship application:

  • Asylum seeker – a person who has made a claim within the UK for refugee status but has not yet received a final decision. You are eligible if you are an asylum seeker whose application has been refused and you are appealing, and have not exhausted all your appeal rights;
  • Humanitarian protection
  • Limited leave to remain granted as a result of an asylum claim – this could include, for example, trafficked persons
  • Discretionary leave to remain granted as a result of an asylum claim
  • Unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) who have reached majority age;
  • Refugee – a person who has been granted refugee status by the UK Home Office;
  • Calais leave
  • Stateless leave
  • Section 67 leave
  • Indefinite leave to remain – if this was granted as a result of an initial asylum claim
  • Dependants of any of the above status groups, in recognition that they are also from asylum-seeking or refugee backgrounds. This includes dependants who have arrived on a family reunion visa.

You must provide evidence of your immigration status with your scholarship application. This includes a copy of your current visa and home office decision letter. You will be ineligible:

  • if you are not residing in the UK and/or
  • you have an immigration status which is not connected to an asylum claim made in the UK

2. Ineligibility for Student Funding

The Sanctuary Scholarships are only available to students who are ineligible for funding through Student Funding England (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) or any other type of UK Government funding or grants. Your eligibility for UK government financial support depends on many factors, such as the level of course you are applying to, your residency status and whether you have studied in higher education before.

You must check your eligibility and read about the funding rules here.

We recommend you use the Refugee Education UK toolkit to assist you to determine your eligibility.

We request applicants to apply where possible to Student Funding England and get a funding decision so we can be sure you are ineligible for Student Funding.

3. Academic offer and eligible courses

You must have applied for an eligible course at Sheffield Hallam University and hold a conditional or unconditional offer for one of the following courses beginning in September.

Undergraduate Sanctuary Scholarship:

  • A full-time degree course which lasts up to four years: (BSc, BA)
  • part-time degree course.

Postgraduate Sanctuary Scholarship:

  • full-time degree course course which lasts up to 18 months (LLM, MA, MSc, MRes, PGCE)
  • or part-time postgraduate degree course

Helena Kennedy Centre scholarship:

  • MA or LLM Applied Human Rights courses only
  • Full time or part time route

Conditional course offers:

  • You must meet all the conditions of the academic offer before enrolment deadlines in order to be eligible for a scholarship
  • If you defer your course entry start date in order to achieve your offer conditions, you will have to apply again for a Sanctuary Scholarship for your new year of entry.

If you meet your academic course conditions but are not awarded a Sanctuary Scholarship, you can still start your studies on a self-funded basis.

Part-time courses

If you undertake an eligible course of study on a part-time basis you are eligible to apply for the Sanctuary Scholarship, on the condition that:

  • your chosen course offers a part-time option;
  • your studies take no longer to complete than twice the length of its full-time equivalent (eg a one year full-time master's undertaken part-time over two years);
  • the scholarship you are awarded will be adjusted to reflect the intensity of study you are undertaking in each academic year.

Courses with placements (in the UK or abroad) and study exchanges

You are eligible to apply for a Sanctuary Scholarship if you have an offer of study for an eligible course that includes:

a) A placement in the UK or

b) A placement abroad, or

c) Study exchange


  • the course lasts no more than four years for an undergraduate course, or 18 months for a postgraduate course (or the part time equivalent) and
  • your immigration status at the time of applying for the Sanctuary Scholarship would allow you to study or work abroad.

It is your responsibility to check you are eligible to undertake the placement or study exchange, according to your immigration status and permitted work.

You will only receive scholarship payments for any time spent on placement or study exchange if you are permitted by the University to undertake your placement/study exchange and your immigration status permits work.

Any salary from a placement, or any other funding entitlement you may be eligible to receive, will be taken into account when calculating the level of Sanctuary Scholarship award you may receive during your placement or study exchange.

Any additional funding you may require if you need to extend your studies will only be paid at the discretion of Sheffield Hallam University and is not guaranteed.

Ineligible courses

You are not eligible for the Sanctuary Scholarship if you are applying to study:

  • A Foundation course
  • A course which does not lead to a degree
  • A degree course lasting more than four years for an undergraduate course, or 18 months for a postgraduate course (or the part time equivalent)


Your level of Sanctuary Scholarship funding will be determined by whether you study full-time or part-time. The scholarship is intended for costs associated with your studies, including travel and study materials.

The Sanctuary Scholarship covers the full regular duration of your studies. It will be renewed each year provided that you continue to meet all the following conditions:

  • satisfactory progress to the next year of study;
  • continue to be registered on your course at the time of each payment;
  • continue to have a right to reside in the UK;
  • continue to have a right to study in the UK.

There is a finite budget used to fund the Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme. The University will do all it can to ensure that this budget is fully utilised to support the maximum number of eligible students.

  • 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 progress, you will not be eligible to receive additional financial support for any fees due, or for maintenance, for that year of study

If you are given a scholarship 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.


We will assess each application on the:

  • Eligibility criteria. Ineligible students will not be shortlisted.
  • 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
  • The number of obstacles the student is facing to entering higher education

Each year we receive more applications than we have scholarships available. We currently typically receive around 30 applications each year. For this reason the University may exercise its discretion where necessary to prioritise applications from students who live locally to Sheffield in order that the scholarship achieves maximum benefit to the student.

We will consider the financial resources of each student and make reasonable assumptions as to how far in the future each student may become eligible for Student Funding or other types of funding in the future, which would enable the student to fund their degree without needing a scholarship. To do this we will consult information provided in the application form and information from Refugee Education UK.

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.

How to apply

You must complete an online application (currently closed)

Evidence and documents

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 proof of your immigration status documents to your online application. This must include:

  • a copy or your current visa or your ARC card AND
  • the decision letter about your current immigration status from the Home Office or letters confirming your asylum application status

You must provide evidence that your current immigration status is connected to an asylum claim you have made in the UK. This should be evident from the Home Office decision letter or other evidence (e.g. letter from your solicitor).

For example, if your current visa or BRP simply states ‘limited leave to remain’ you must also provide the home office decision letter which gives details of why this status was given as a result of an asylum claim. It is your responsibility to attach the necessary decision letters which confirm when and why your current immigration status was granted.

2. A statement from an eligible referee

You must upload a supporting statement from a referee to your online application.

We rely upon and carefully consider the information provided in the statement in consideration of your application.

  • 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.
  • Your referee should include information about:

how they know you; your strengths; the obstacles you have faced in your education history and in getting to university; their judgement about how they think the scholarship will benefit you and your plans for the future.

3. A personal statement

You must complete a 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. The scholarship panel will consider each student’s statement carefully.

It is important to the scholarship committee to know:

  • why you feel you are in need of the scholarship
  • what barriers you are facing to starting your degree studies
  • how the scholarship would benefit you now and after finishing your studies.

Please make sure you answer those questions and you can include information about: your interests, your academic and career plans, your family circumstances, your financial circumstances or any reasons why you think you should be considered for an award and any other information that you feel might be useful or interesting. The information you provide will be kept confidential. We do not expect you to give details of your asylum claim, but we do seek to understand the barriers into education you have faced/are facing and the likelihood that you will be able to successfully complete your studies.

Other sources of support

A useful list of other universities offering Sanctuary Scholarships can be found here through the Student Action for Refugees charity.

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.

Refugee Education UK also has lots of helpful information and advice about accessing Higher Education.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs 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.

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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