Last week, RASA (Refugee Action St Andrews) shared via their Facebook page that the University of St Andrews now appears on the STAR (Student Action for Refugees’) list of scholarships for forced migrants.
Last year, RASA proposed a motion asking the University to change the status of asylum seekers applying to the University from “overseas” to “home”, as well as establish several scholarships to financially assist refugees and asylum seekers.
Previously, asylum seekers who applied to the University were classified as international students, meaning that forced migrants and refugees would have to pay tuition fees of at least twenty thousand pounds per academic year. There were also previously no scholarships available to forcibly displaced people who applied to the University of St Andrews.
However, RASA have announced that from September 2020, asylum seekers will be classified as home students and there will be eight scholarships offered to refugees and asylum seekers by the University.
Alongside sixty-eight other higher education institutions in the UK, the University now appears on the list as offering fee waiver and maintenance scholarships to help those who have claimed asylum in the UK access higher education.
In their Facebook post, RASA commended University staff for their “tireless” contribution to the achievement, including University of St Andrews Refugee and Forced Migration Network. Among those mentioned was Tashi Tahir, former President of RASA, who sought asylum in the UK with her mother in 2004 and graduated from St Andrews this past June.
Through the motion, the RASA committee were able to provide students with a voice that could be heard by the University.
They thanked all students who signed the Equal Access Petition last year to put the motion into practice. The petition, which received over seven hundred signatures from University of St Andrews students, was in support of the Equal Access Campaign, run by STAR and the National Union of Students (NUS). The campaign seeks to open access to colleges and universities across the UK for refugees and forced migrants.
It was also recently announced that the University was awarded Sanctuary Status by the City of Sanctuary. The Sanctuary Status has also been awarded to ten other higher education institutes in the UK and St Andrews now joins them “as a place where everyone feels safe, welcome and able to pursue their right to education.”