If you have refugee status, this information will help you understand your further education options.

I have refugee status: what are my options for further education?

As someone with refugee status, can I apply to go to college or sixth form?

Yes, if you have refugee status you are allowed to study at FE college or sixth form. 

 

With refugee status, you are treated the same as a British citizen in terms of funding for courses. This is true as soon as you receive your refugee status and it is incorrect that you need to have been in the UK for a certain period of time. 


If a college is telling you that you need to have been living in the UK for three years please contact us here.

How can I pay for college or sixth form? 

Most first Entry Level, Level 1 or Level 2 courses are free regardless of your age. However, you may have to pay for some courses. There are four primary ways to pay for a further education course: government funding, self-funding, LAC or Care leaver support and scholarships or educational grants.

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

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. 

1. Government funding

Provision (refugee status)

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

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)

- Loan-funded (previously achieved a full level 3 or above

-Co-funded

-Fully funded - unemployed

Fully funded

Fully funded

Fully funded

Loan-funded

Fully funded

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.

-Co-funded

-Fully funded - unemployed

You will still need to be assessed for eligibility for example, if it is your first full level qualification, proof of income/employment or evidence of receiving support. See the age categories below.

16-18 year-olds

19-23 year-olds

24 or above

  • The government will pay for any course you want to study at college if you are 18 or under when you start the course.

  • Some colleges may charge you a small fee to cover their 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).

  • Students with refugee status, who are aged between 19 and 23, can study their first full Level 3 qualification (for example A-levels or an access course) for free. 

  • If you have already achieved a Level 3 qualification you will be required to pay for your second qualification. In this case, you should apply for a 19+ Advanced Learner Loan to help pay for your course. The loan is only repayable once you get into employment and earn over £26,575 per year. Furthermore, If you complete a Higher Education degree following your Level 3 course, you do not have to pay back your advanced learner loan.

  • 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 grade 4 or above (previously A*-C).

  • The government may pay for your first full qualification at level 2 if you are unemployed, on a low income, or receive support from your Local Authority.

  • If you are 24+ and want to study a Level 3 course or above. As someone with refugee status, you are eligible to apply for the Government’s 19+ Advanced Learner Loan to help pay for your course. The loan is only repayable once you get into employment and earn over £26,575 per year. Furthermore, If you complete a Higher Education degree following your Level 3 course, you do not have to pay back your advanced learner loan.

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

2. Self-funding

3. LAC or Care leaver support

4.Scholarships and educational grants

Students with refugee status have the right to work and can earn money to pay for further education studies. Many colleges offer part-time and evening courses that allow you to work and study. It is important to remember that further education colleges are very strict and will require a good attendance record for a student to graduate.

If you are in care 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 from your college 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.

 

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.


If you have spoken to your PA and you are still unsure about what support you are entitled to contact us here.

Some charities also offer scholarships and bursaries to refugees and 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).

Other FAQ's for students who have refugee status