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 who are applying for asylum

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 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.

NOTE: If you are a child (18 and under) or an asylum seeker in care, 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.

NOTE: The 'no recourse to public funds' condition does not make you ineligible to receive educational government funding because 'public funds' does not include education funding. 

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: 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 further 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

Education workshops

If you want to learn more about your education options in the UK, you can attend a workshop. The workshop explains how education works and your possible routes through the system. 

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:

1) you have appealed against a decision made by the Home Office and no decision has been made in the six months since you appealed;

2) if you have been granted support under NASS section 4;

3) or if you are a care leaver or are receiving local authority support.

 

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.

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. Please refer to the government contribution table below for the ESFA funded Adult education budget (and for 16-18) funding for more details about which provision is funded.

16-18 year-olds

24+ unemployed

19-23

year-olds

Learning 3 adult offer

Level 3 legal entitlement (learners first full Level)

Learning aims to progress to a full Level 2 up to and including Level 1

First full Level 2 (excluding English and Maths and Digital)

Essential Digital Skills Qualifications up to and including Level 1

English and Maths, up to and including level 2

Fully funded

Fully funded

N/A

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Some are fully funded, others are co- funded. See note to the right and below for scholarships and bursaries.

Fully funded

Fully funded

N/A. Loan funded. (If ineligible for a loan, see below for scholarships and bursaries)

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 on enrolment day.

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.

Notes

Notes

Must be delivered as part of the legal entitlement qualifications

Must be delivered as part of the legal entitlement qualifications list

Must be delivered as part of the Digital legal entitlement qualifications list

Must be delivered as part of the legal entitlement qualifications list

First full Level 2 must be delivered as part of the legal entitlement qualifications. Level 2 provision from the local flexibility offer will not be funded for 19-23-year-olds who do not have a first full Level 2

Fully funded for those eligible through unemployed or on a low wage. Co-funded for those who do not meet the definition of unemployed or do not meet the eligibility criteria for low wage. 

Must be delivered as entry or Level 1 provision from local flexibility

Fully funded for those eligible through unemployed or on a low wage. Co-funded for those who do not meet the definition of unemployed or do not meet the eligibility criteria for low wage. 

First full Level 3 must be delivered as part of the legal entitlement qualifications

All 24+ learners who are not eligible for the level 3 adult offer must refer to Advanced Learner Loans

Learners without a full Level 3 or above can access a qualification on the Level 3 adult offer qualification list

Learners without a full level 3 or above accessing a qualification on the level 3 adult offer qualifications list

ESOL learning up to and including Level 2

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

Fully funded

Some are fully funded, others are co- funded. See note to the right and below for scholarships and bursaries.

Fully funded for those eligible through unemployed or on a low wage. Co-funded for those who do not meet the definition of unemployed or do not meet the eligibility criteria for low wage. 

Some are fully funded, others are co- funded. See note to the right and below for scholarships and bursaries.

Fully funded for those eligible through unemployed. Co-funded for those who do not meet the definition of unemployed or do not meet the eligibility criteria for low wage. 

Fully funded

Some are fully funded, others are co- funded. See note to the right and below for scholarships and bursaries.

Fully funded for those eligible through unemployed. Co-funded for those who do not meet the definition of unemployed or do not meet the eligibility criteria for low wage. 

Some are fully funded, others are co- funded. See note to the right and below for scholarships and bursaries.

Fully funded for those eligible through unemployed or on a low wage. Co-funded for those who do not meet the definition of unemployed or do not meet the eligibility criteria for low wage. 

Important information

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Evidence of the support you receive is essential. Be ready to provide original copies on your college enrollment day. As above - link to enrolment section.

  • Courses that are funded by the government change every year, prioritises seem to be given to 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.

Provision 

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.

If you are in care (ie a looked after child) or a care leaver make sure you let the college know because you may be eligible for a fee waiver.

 

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.

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).

1. Government funding

Please refer to the government contribution table below for the ESFA funded Adult education budget (and for 16-18) funding for more details about which provision is funded depending on your age. 

2. Bursaries and financial 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.

3. Scholarships and educational grants

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).

4. LAC or Care leaver support

If you are in care (ie a looked after child) or a care leaver make sure you let the college know because you may be eligible for a fee waiver.

 

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.

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Refugee Education UK is a charity registered in England & Wales under charity number 1132509 and company number 06879651 at 24 Picton House Hussar Court, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO7 7SQ. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website. To learn more, please read our privacy policy. 
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