This page will help you with the steps you need to take to apply and enrol at college.
Applying and enrolling at college
What is enrolment?
Enrolment day is your very first day at college. It is the day designed to assess your circumstances, check if you meet the minimum academic and non-academic requirements, register you on the course and show you where you are going to study. Some colleges will also issue your student ID on this day.
For asylum seekers and refugees, ask to speak to the widening participation coordinator or hardship fund coordinator to know about the available financial support and bursaries to meet your educational needs.
It is very important to take the right documents with you to prove that you have the right to study in the UK.
Proof of residency:
For asylum seekers and refugees, this is usually your Asylum Application Registration Card (ARC Card) or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
What documents should I take on enrollment day?
I do not have my ARC or BRP, what should I do?
If you do not have your ARC or BRP card, you should take a letter from your solicitor and any relevant documents (eg correspondence) from the Home Office. You should ask your solicitor to provide a letter authenticating your photograph and provide this alongside copies of your home office documents.
If the college still refuses to accept your status without an ARC card you might try and enrol at a different college.
If you are a professional working with a young person it is worth accompanying them to enrolment.
I have another form of ID, will it be accepted?
If you do not have an ARC card, but have another form of photographic identification - i.e. a provisional or full driving license - this can be accepted alongside your Home Office documents proving that the prospective student asylum application is in the process - dated 6 months ago.
For those with entry clearance visas in their passport e.g. those on family reunification or resettlement visas, your visas will be considered.
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
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.
I'm thinking about applying to college. What should I do?
If you are thinking about applying to study at college or sixth form start by visiting the college website. Read about the courses that interest you making a note about:
1. when the course starts.
2. what qualifications you will need to get on the course.
3. how long the course is.
4. if it is suitable for you in terms of your age.
Remember to think about whether the course you are interested in is free for you or whether you will need to find the funding yourself.
The academic year for all the main courses at further education and sixth form colleges runs from 31st August to the first week of July, depending on the college. FE colleges fill up their places quickly on popular courses and once they receive enough applications, they close down applications on their website for that year. This means you must submit your application online as soon as possible. Most colleges start accepting applications from January for courses that start in August of that year.
If you want to get more details about a course that you want to study and to check out the college facilities or even hearing from current students and teachers, it may be very helpful to book your space at the college's next open days.
Open days are free for anyone who wants to study. It is an opportunity to get a large amount of information about a college and can help you decide where and what course to apply for.
Top tip: Use the college website to research before you attend, this will help you think about so many good questions.
If you are nervous or feel like you may be overwhelmed about being in the spotlight or speaking to many new people in a short period, you can come along with your parents, friend or support worker.
College open days are a valuable opportunity to ask questions about courses that interest you. Current students (around the same age as you) will usually be there to provide an overview of the college and a general sense of student life. You can ask as many questions as you like - this is your day to set up a strong basis for your academic career.
What is an Open day?
What other documents can I go with on enrollment day?
To enable you to successfully enrol at college and if appropriate access a tuition fee waiver and other extra forms of support from the college hardship fund (including financial support for transport, free school meals and paying for course materials) the following documents are really important.
1. If you are seeking asylum and or receiving asylum support (NASS Section 95 or Section 4) and/or subsistence support, you should take:
Asylum support agreement letter - Ideally outlining the remit of your support.
Tenancy agreement - confirming student address
ASPEN Card / Subsistence support letter - ideally with ASPEN card.
2. If you are under the care of the local authority (regardless of your immigration status) you should take:
A letter from your social worker or personal advisor confirming support from social services - whether in care of local authority or a care leaver and the type of support provided (e.g. accommodation and subsistence etc.) is helpful.
3. If you receive public funds including section 95 and section 4 (NASS), a recently dated letter confirming the relevant support is needed - especially universal credit (UC), job seekers’ allowance, housing benefit, and child tax credit.
Proof of support
I have certificates from my home country, how can I get them translated?
If you have certificates of your previous qualifications from your home country, it is important to bring them to your enrollment appointment. This will help the college admissions team to make a good assessment of your current academic skills, saving you from having to study at a lower level of education than your ability warrants.
UK NARIC is the National Agency responsible for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills. They provide statements of comparability for people who have international qualifications and want to study in the UK. You can apply for this through their website, but please note there is a cost for this. You may be able to fund the cost of this through a small grant.
I have qualifications from my home country, but I do not have (and cannot retrieve) the certificates or transcripts. What should I do?
Many students from a forced migration background are unable to prove the qualification that they achieved in their home country because their certificates or transcripts have been lost or destroyed.
If this is your case, you should ask for the widening participation coordinator at the college you are applying to and explain your situation. They should have alternative ways of assessing your academic level and recommend the level of education that you can enrol on to in line with your core interest.