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Information for Students with Refugee Status:
HEI’s should apply regulations of tuition fees fairly and consistently.
Refugee students must be given clear information about financial support to which they will be entitled to.
A student’s entitlement to SAAS is dependent on a student’s status.
Those with Humanitarian Protection/ Leave to Remain are usually entitled to the same fees as Scottish students.
It is also important to recognise that in some circumstances is it possible for a student’s status to change throughout their studies.

Financial Support for students with Refugee Status:
o Those entitled to home fees will be able to apply for SAAS funded discretionary funds
o Prospective refugee students may also require advice regarding benefit entitlement
o It is also important to note the possible impact that additional financial support can have on the student’s entitlement to other sources of financial support

Asylum Seeker Students:
An asylum seeker is someone who is in Scotland (either recently arrived or have been residing in Scotland for a length of time).
They are not entitled to tuition fee support/ living cost support from SAAS in the same way that refugees are.
They may be subsequently charged the same tuition fees as international students.
If the asylum seeker is granted refugee status, Humanitarian Protection or Leave to Remain, they will become eligible for home fees and SAAS support.

While FE/HE institutions may not be adequately equipped with knowledge about this topic, they may be able to help a student access a suitable legal representative

Key Challenges

• Financial Hardships, due to ineligibility for SAAS and other key routes of student financial support

• Information and Advice. Due to the lack of familiarity with further and higher education institutions in Scotland, applications processes can be daunting and challenging to navigate. This is particularly significant if the student has suffered from a lack of guidance. This is often the case in schools and colleges as they are not adequately equipped with information due to the complex nature of the issue.

• Health and Wellbeing

Useful Contacts and Resources

UCAS flags

In November 2022 UCAS provided a good practice guide for staff working in HEIs, and supporting the use of the new UCAS flags for those who are refugee, asylum seeking or have limited leave to remain.

You can read this guidance, here.


Report from the Poverty Alliance: Education is supposed to be free for all 

The Poverty Alliance have shared their research, conducted with community researchers, in May 2023 about Asylum Seekers’ experience of accessing further and higher education in Scotland.

You can read the report on the Poverty Alliance webpage, here.

(added May 2023)


Refugees Welcome Guidance for Universities on Providing Asylum Seekers and Refugees with Access to Higher Education 2021 – Universities Scotland publication.

Higher education institutions are well placed to be able to provide wide-ranging support to people who are fleeing violence and persecution. They can and are supporting people and communities in different circumstances: in their home countries, in refugee camps, and when they are settled in the UK.

Universities have updated their 2016 report . This is a collaborative effort between the Scottish Refugee Council and Scottish universities to provide guidance for the sector to ensure there is an understanding of entitlements, and that any displaced person living in Scotland that wants access to higher education is not discouraged by the administrative procedure required to gain entry into higher education.

You can access this publication below

Refugees-Welcome-2021-final.pdf (


UK Council for International Student Affairs


Education and Schooling for Asylum-seeking and Refugee Students in Scotland: an exploratory study


Student Action for Refugees


STAR – Student Action for Refugees

0207 697 4130
Resource for London
356 Holloway Road
London N7 6PA


City of Sanctuary


Refugees and asylum seeker courses:
Reflecting on Transitions is an Open University in Scotland course co-created with refugees, asylum seekers and other new Scots, in partnership with Bridges Programmes in Glasgow. The course can help learners identify the range of skills and abilities you’ve gained from their personal experiences and plan their next steps into work or study.

OpenLearn has developed a collection for Refugee Week called Understanding Refugee Experiences including a section on Resources for refugees

FutureLearn runs regular ESOL courses by the British Council. Understanding IELTS: Reading and Understanding IELTS: Listening 

The RefER project identified a range of online resources for refugee learners and those supporting them. You can read the report here or access the interactive document with links to those resources.

If you are using open educational resources with refugees and asylum seekers, you or your learners are invited to share your experiences on the Refugee Learning Stories blog. This is an open space, so anyone is welcome to contribute and posts can be anonymous if you prefer. There are some interesting posts for you to browse – from using Whatsapp as a language learning tool to university scholarships for asylum seekers in Dublin.

The Scottish Refugee Council has produced a short film called I Hear You for Word Refugee Day 2020



SCAPP has set up a professional Community of Practice – The Sanctuary Group

Membership and purpose of this new Community of Practice

This network is aimed at practitioners (education, Third Sector or Statutory and public sectors) who work directly with potential or actual learners with lived experience of asylum, or colleagues who are responsible for developing resources, events and training.

The purpose of the Sanctuary Group is for members to share resources and best practice, communicate with colleagues in other institutions about emerging issues, practices and developments – in short, work collaboratively and informally in order to improve access to higher and further education for refugees and people seeking asylum in Scotland.

Contributing resources and other information to the Slack channel will be a responsibility shared by all members of the Sanctuary Group, and your support is appreciated to feed into this platform to keep it alive and relevant.

Where appropriate, this will also be complemented by a range of events and activities which arise as a result of conversations on the platform.

Using Slack as a communication platform

We are using the Slack platform which is easy to access from a web browser or an app, and is intuitive to use (we hope!)

The Sanctuary Group Slack will have various themed channels (such as ‘resources,’ ‘training and events,’ and ‘quick questions’), where colleagues can share questions and answers

If you would like to be part of a network and interest group to share experience, examine issues and challenges and develop appropriate best practice resources, please contact