Expand scholarships for forced migrants at the University of Birmingham

Victory

Expand scholarships for forced migrants at the University of Birmingham

This petition made change with 651 supporters!
Balraj Jhooty started this petition to Vice Chancellor David Eastwood and

To the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham,

We recognise that the University has done great work to help improve access to university for forced migrants by providing them with a scholarship for undergraduate degrees and a living cost award each year. We believe it is necessary to build upon this great work by expanding the number of scholarships available from 1 per year to 5 per year, bringing us in line with other universities across the country. We also believe that postgraduate students should be allowed to apply for this scholarship.

Many forced migrants across the country have benefitted from these scholarships, and they all have their own stories. Fatima (name changed to protect her anonymity), a scholar at another UK university, fled from Syria to a refugee camp in Jordan, going on to seek a safe haven in Greece before arriving in the UK. Reflecting on the experience of moving here, she said

“I have experienced stigma and prejudice. I suffered from depression and anxiety. My life became a vicious circle. We had lost everything, we had no money, no rights and I couldn’t speak English. I then realised that nothing was going to change if I don’t motivate myself. I started to learn English and apply to Universities.”

She successfully applied for a scholarship aimed at forced migrants, and believes that this opportunity has given her new life.

“I can’t describe how grateful I am to the University for offering me a Sanctuary Scholarship, to support my almost forgotten dream to go to University as it was cut short when war broke out in Syria. I feel welcome and happy.”

Fatima’s story is just one of many, and we believe more forced migrants like her deserve the chance to study in the UK.

We believe that increasing the number of scholarships would build on UoB’s commitment to fair access, and would offer the following benefits to applicants:

  • Forced migrants often lack a support network of friends and family when fleeing persecution, but UoB provides a social environment with the opportunity to make friends and meet people, preventing their separation from their new community.
  • If a forced migrant’s asylum claim is accepted, a degree from the university would greatly help their future prospects.

While recognising that expanding scholarships would lead to greater expense, the proposed expansion is equivalent to just 0.03% of the University’s annual budget. For the sake of comparison, Newman University in Birmingham offers 2 scholarships in spite of its much smaller budget.

In summary, we, the Undersigned ask that

1.      The number of scholarships available for forced migrants expands from 1 per year to 5 per year

2.      Postgraduate students are allowed to apply for this scholarship too

Thank you for taking the time to read this petition and consider our proposal

Victory

This petition made change with 651 supporters!

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