Students attending a panel discussion hosted by CRSC earlier in the yearCambridge Refugee Scholarship Campaign

The University of Cambridge has committed to the creation of a studentship scheme for students whose education has been affected by armed conflict, as well as those granted refugee or international protection status.

At least ten students per year will be supported “in the long term” through the scheme, which aims to have “a broad eligibility criteria sensitive to the complexities of the humanitarian and/or political reasons” that may prevent students from coming to Cambridge.

In a post on their social media, the Cambridge Refugee Scholarship Campaign (CRSC) announced that the decision had been made following a meeting with the Pro-vice-chancellor for Education, Professor Graham Virgo, and the Director of Development, Aaron Westfall, last Friday.

CRSC was founded in October 2017, and has campaigned for the University to provide scholarships covering course and maintenance fees for refugee students and individuals who have been granted international protection by the state in which they lawfully reside. 32 college JCR and MCR committees passed motions in support of their campaign, with CUSU Council also passing a motion mandating CUSU to support CRSC’s lobbying efforts.

Earlier this month, Abdullah Kattineh, a Syrian student who had launched a crowdfunding page to fund his Cambridge place, was offered a full scholarship to the University following widespread publicity of his cause.

In response, the CUSU Access and Finance Officer, Olivia Hylton-Pennant, published an open letter with over 500 signatories to the Pro-vice-chancellor Graham Virgo. It called on the University to set up ten scholarships “for refugees and students whose education is severely affected by political and/or humanitarian crisis”.

Esther Ng, CRSC publicity manager, said that the announcement was a “significant step” towards making the University “more inclusive to those whose education have been hindered by conflict and/or persecution”. She added that Kattineh’s campaign had “powerfully demonstrated the real and urgent need for these scholarships”, with the open letter showing “that this was an issue that could no longer be ignored”.

At the meeting it was agreed that the scholarship should be available to “ not only legally-defined refugees but also others who are affected by events that are driving the refugee crises”, although Ng noted that this “may be subject to some changes in due course”.


Mountain View

Syrian student awarded full scholarship to Cambridge

Over 50 UK universities currently offer scholarships and bursaries for asylum-seeking and refugee students.