If you are an asylum seeker, this information will help you understand your further education options.

I am an asylum seeker: what are my options for further education?

Other FAQ's for students with refugee status

As an asylum seeker can I go to further education (FE)?

Yes, as someone claiming asylum you are allowed to study unless:

 

  • You have a “no study” bail condition on your Bail 201 letter. Click here for some more information about a “no study” bail condition.

 

However, your course will not be free and you will need to find alternative funding for your course unless:

 

  • It is over 6 months since you submitted your asylum claim to the Home Office and no decision has been made

 

When you apply to a college, admissions staff will check if you meet the residency requirements, your previous qualifications and if you are receiving support from your Local Authority and the Home Office.

 

If you are an asylum seeker in care or if you are a child, you can enrol in education at any point and do not need to wait for six months.

As a refused asylum seeker, can I go to further education (FE) or sixth form college? 

Yes, if your asylum case has been refused by the Home Office you are still allowed to study unless:

 

  • You have a “no study” bail condition on your Bail 201 letter. Click here for some more information about a “no study” bail condition.

 

However, your course will not be free and you will need to find alternative sources of funding to pay for your course unless:

 

  • You have appealed against the decision made by the Home Office against granting you refugee status and no decision has been made six months after you appealed.

  • You are receiving NASS Section 4 (National Asylum Support services) accommodation and/or financial assistance.

  • You are receiving support from your local authority because you are in care or a care leaver.


Go to the enrolment section for more information about this. Evidence of the support you receive is essential. Be ready to provide original copies on your college enrollment day.

Other Educational

Options

  • New Citizens Gateway (formerly Barnet Refugee Service) - Volunteering, English Classes(ESOL), counselling and emotional support, gardening project, homework club, emergency food support and befriending and advocacy group activities.

  • Paiwand - Immigration advice, youth activity project, ESOL, semi-independent accommodation, and community advocacy.

  • English Express - English classes at affordable prices. Note- This is a private school and all students have to pay.

  • British Red Cross - London Refugees and befriending (RnB) projects, weekly activity sessions and annual trips to build life skills, aid personal and social development and enable young refugees to meet other young people and improve their English

If you live anywhere in the UK:

  

  • The Children's Society - Online befriending project for 14-21 year-olds.

  • Hope for the Young - Education grants and mentoring project.

  • Refugee Council: Chiara: Group activities open for referrals, no waiting list, ESOL and maths, youth activities for boys and girls under 18. Age 14-17. Girls group partnership with Young Roots, 14-17. Open for referrals. Can go up to age 21.

  • Refuaid - Access to language tuition, education, finance and meaningful employment.

  

  • The Bay Tree Centre - In-year education provision (girls only).

  • CARAS - ESOL provision for young people.

  • Young roots - Mentoring online 1:1 on zoom focusing on English.

  • Breaking Barriers - Education programme offering English classes and IT online.

  • DOST - Running in-person activities since July, including sessions in parks, day trips to outdoor swimming, Brighton, canoeing, cycling etc. Since September 2020, offering different sessions, 4 times a week: kickboxing, 2 football sessions, volleyball and cricket and online English, Maths and Science homework.

  • Springboard Youth Academy - Seasonal ESOL provision and partnerships with schools/colleges.

  • You can always invest in your English: look for local courses, such as free English classes offered by charities or by language colleges. For example international House London.

If you live in London:

Here's more information

Click here to return to our main Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for more information about higher education

Contact us for advice and guidance

Click here to find out how REUK's Educational Progression team can help you reach university through advice, guidance, workshops and funding opportunities

Training for practitioners

Join our training to understand the barriers to university for refugee and asylum-seeking students and to get the skills and confidence you need to move forward.

If I cant study at college right now, what are my other educational options? 

You may find yourself waiting for months to hear from the Home Office about your asylum application or appeal. This can be hard but there are things you can do whilst you wait.

 

Remember that whatever you do now - whether it is more study, volunteering or something different - will all be helpful for your future.

 

 

You could think of other ways of moving forward in your education. See below for your options. 

I'm an appeal rights exhausted (ARE) asylum seeker, can I study at further education or sixth form college?  

No, if you are an ARE asylum seeker you are not allowed to study at FE college or sixth form college unless you are a care leaver.

 

If you are a care leaver, it is your local authority's duty to continue providing advice and support and to review your education pathway plan until you are 21 years old (or until you are 25 if you are in full-time education). Speak to your Leaving Care team to give you a letter explaining your situation and the support that you receive. Colleges will use this letter to support your discretionary bursary application.

 

Talk to your personal advisor or Leaving Care team, or the charity Become or talk to us here for more information.

 

Some ARE asylum seekers who are receiving NASS Section 4 support may be able to study at FE college or sixth form college. 

As an asylum seeker, how can I pay for my course?

You may have to pay to study a course at college. The cost of your course will be found on the course webpage of the college you are applying to. What you have to pay will depend on your age, the course you want to study, the college, and the support you are already receiving.

English and maths courses (such as Functional Skills or GCSEs) are free for all ages as long as you have not yet achieved a grade 4 (previously a grade C) or above in the relevant subject.

There are four primary ways to pay for your course: government funding, bursaries or support from the college, scholarships or grants from organisations and LAC or Care leaver support. See below for further details.  

1. Government funding

The UK government funds some courses depending on your age.

Provision (asylum seeker)

16-18 year-olds

24+ unemployed

19-23

year-olds

Learning aims up to and including level 2, where the learner has already achieved a first full level 2, or above

English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) learning up to and including level 2

Level 3 (First full level 3 must be delivered as part of the legal entitlement)

Learning to progress to level 2

Level 2 (excluding English and maths) (First full level 2 must be delivered as part of the legal entitlement)

English and maths, up to and including level 2 (this must be delivered as part of the legal entitlement)

Fully funded

Not fully funded - see below for scholarships and bursaries

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded* (first and full)

Fully funded (up to and including level 1)

Fully funded* (first and full)

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Not fully funded - see below for scholarships and bursaries

Not fully funded - see below for scholarships and bursaries

Fully funded

Legal entitlement: *Not all courses are in scope to receive full funding. Some commercial and training courses offered by colleges are not funded by the government, in that case, you will be required to pay full course fees. This can be confusing as they often have similar names to fully funded courses. Be aware of this and ask the college if you are unsure of what you will pay.

Use this tool if you would like to know which courses are funded by the government. This can be discussed further with your college admissions team on enrollment day.

16-18 year-olds

19-23 year-olds

Important Information

24 or above

  • The government will pay for any course you want to study at college if you are 18 or under on the first day of your course.

  • Some colleges may charge you a small fee to cover costs such as materials, trips, printing, internet access. Speak to the college hardship-fund coordinator to explore the available financial support to cover these extra costs.

  • The government will pay for your course if you are studying functional skills, english or maths (from entry level up to level 2) and GCSE english and maths if you have not previously gained GCSE grade 4 or above (previously A*-C).

  • The government will pay for your first full qualification up to level 2 if it is an approved course (see below).

  • You will be funded for your first full level 3 course. If previously achieved, see here(hyperlink) for more information about other ways to fund your study.

  • If you have been told that you have to pay for your course, get in touch with us or click here for a list of charities you can apply to for funding for your studies.

  • The government will pay for your course if you are studying functional skills, english or maths (from entry level up to level 2) and GCSE english and maths if you have not previously gained GCSE grade 4 or above (previously A*-C).

  • The government will pay for your first full qualification up to level 2 if it is an approved course (see below).

  • You will be funded for your first full level 3 course. If previously achieved, see here(hyperlink) for more information about other ways to fund your study.

  • If you have been told that you have to pay for your course, get in touch with us or click here for a list of charities you can apply to for funding for your studies.

  • Courses that are funded by the government change every year (legal entitlement), this is because the government now prioritises courses that lead more directly into employment). The government publishes a list of these courses each year, so you should first speak to the student services department at college to see whether your course is funded and/or use this search function to check for yourself.

  • Some courses offered by colleges are not funded by the government (not part of the legal entitlement), in which case, you will have to pay full course fees. It is important to check in advance whether you will have to pay for the course you want to study. It is worth looking at different colleges because similar courses will be free at one college and not at another.

  • Top tip: Evidence of the support you receive is essential. Be ready to provide original copies on your college enrollment day.

2. Bursaries and financial support 

3. Scholarships and educational grants

4. LAC or Care leaver support

FE and sixth form colleges often have financial support (sometimes called bursaries) for students who do not have a lot of money. You may be able to apply for this depending on your age, the course you are studying, your college and any other financial support you and your family receive. 

 

You should ask student services at your college if there are any bursaries you can apply for. Some colleges may choose not to charge you any fees or to reduce your fees - it is always worth asking if this is possible.

Some charities also offer scholarships and bursaries to asylum seekers who are struggling to pay for their course. 


Here is a list of education grant providers that you can apply to. Not all the suggestions on this list will be suitable for everyone so make sure you look at the criteria for the different charities (i.e. some may only fund people of particular ages, particular religions, studying particular subjects, with particular immigration status etc).

If you are in care (ie a looked after child) or a care leaver make sure you let the college know because they may charge you less fees.

 

If you are in care or a care leaver you can apply for a 16-19 bursary to help with any costs that you have from going to college. This bursary is worth up to £1200 per year. If your course is shorter than a full academic year, the bursary will be offered to you on a pro-rata basis.

 

If you are a care leaver , you should also talk to your Personal Advisor for information about additional care leaver support for young people in education. Local councils often have a range of financial support for young people who stay in education and training.