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Education funding options for young refugees and asylum seekers

An overview of providers of grants to support young people's education, including the cost of fees, travel, resources and equipment. Please visit each provider's webpage to confirm eligibility criteria and application deadlines.

This grant search tool allows students to enter their postcode to access information on grants they could apply for.

The Black Heart Scholars Programme awards several annual bursaries to candidates to advance their educational goals and life aspirations, where they might otherwise not have been able to do so. The programme is open to students at different stages of their education.

This fund awards grants to undergraduate Muslim home students in significant financial need, particularly those suffering unexpected hardship. Grants can be made up to £2,000 per annum, but most are between £500-£1,000. Grants are processed on an annual basis (in October).

Lawrence Atwell’s Charity awards grants of up to £1,500 to young people aged 16 to 26 to help with courses (up to level 3) that will help them move into employment. Funding can be given for course fees, buying equipment, travel and educational resources.

Hope for the Young provides support for refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented young people to complete their education. Grants of up to £4,500 are provided to those who have no access to government funds or who are facing significant financial hardship. Grants are processed on an annual basis (in April).

Helen Kennedy Foundation provides support, in the form of a bursary usually up to £2,250, to assist with higher education costs. This grant is part of a wider package of support, including personal and practical support and opportunities to support young people’s transition into and through higher education.

Specific Circumstances

Depending on the student’s personal circumstances and the institution that they will be studying at, they could also consider applying for the following grants:

Care Leavers

If the prospective student is a care leaver, they could consider applying to the following grants:

The Mary Trevelyan Hardship Fund provides grants or loans of up to £1,000 available to students in London who have found themselves in unexpected financial difficulties during their studies at a higher education institution in London.

The National Zakat Foundation Education Fund provides grants for education and training to help Muslims who can demonstrate a high level of commitment to community service, to help them to better serve Islam and Muslims in the UK. Grants can be made of up to £10,000 per year, but the amount made available depends on financial circumstances and the course selected to complete, up to £10,000 per year.

Ruth Hayman Trust provides regular, small grants throughout the year to support the education and training of adults who have come to settle in the UK and whose first language is not English. These grants are particularly helpful for ESOL fees and are generally up to around £400.

Thomas Wall Trust provides grants to support motivated adults living in the UK and experiencing financial or other challenges to undertake education and training (up to level 3) that will increase their chances of employment. Eligible applicants will have been unemployed for at least 6 months within the last 2 years. Grants of up to £1,500 are offered.

Schwab Educational Grants provides grants of up to £2,000 for education resources and materials to young people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds.

City and Guilds Bursary Programme

City and Guilds bursaries to cover the cost of a (vocational) training programme for up to £6000. These training courses include Construction & building services, Health and social care courses, Hospitality, Engineering, Manufacturing, Skills for work and life, Digital and IT. This is for adults aged 18+, and registrations open in spring, autumn and winter.

Buttle UK awards grants of up to £2,000 to estranged young people (who receive no support from their parents or guardians) aged 16 to 20 for support with education, employment and training, setting up home, and improving emotional and physical wellbeing. Applications should be made by statutory or voluntary organisations on a young person’s behalf.

Family Action distributes grants to individuals over the age of 14, looking to unlock their educational potential by participating in further education. Note that the education institution needs to have an established partnership with Family Action in order for the prospective student to be eligible.

The Prince’s Trust awards grants for young people aged 17-25, working fewer than 16 hours or in education for fewer than 14 hours per week, to help with getting into work, education or training. Loans are also on offer to help young people start a business.

The Capstone Care Leavers Trust awards grants of between £300 and £2,000 to care leavers aged 17-25 for education courses and equipment (including travel), driving lessons or tests and household items.

The Care Leavers’ Foundation awards grants of up to £400 to care leavers aged 18-29 for things like household items, emergency living expenses, education costs, medical needs, training and employment.

The Rees Foundation may be able to help care experienced people with grants for training courses to help them get into employment.

Unite Foundation provides scholarships to students under the age of 25 who are care leavers/experienced or who are estranged from their family. The scholarship gives these students a free student bedroom in a purpose built United Students building for a maximum of 3 years during their university life - covering all costs (rent and bills). Note, prospective students must be applying to study at a Unite Foundation partner university.

The Spark Foundation awards grants of up to £600 to care leavers up to age 25 for setting up home, education or employment, skills and interests.

The Schwab & Westheimer Trust works with a number of generous donors to offer a range of scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. These scholarships are for students with a background of forced migration who are not eligible for student finance because of their immigration status. Please check the website for full eligibility criteria. 

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