Article 26 Sanctuary Scholarships

Article 26 Sanctuary Scholarships

Article 26 of the Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”

In line with the UN Declaration, the University of Kent believes that everyone has the right to higher education. We are working to ensure that asylum seekers and students from a forced migration background are able to access Higher Education.  

Sanctuary Scholarships

The University of Kent, in partnership with the Article 26 Project offers each year up to five Sanctuary Scholarships for undergraduate entry. These awards are aimed at helping those seeking asylum in the UK to progress to higher education. The benefits of the Sanctuary Scholarship award are:

  • Each recipient’s tuition fees will be waived for the duration of their programme of study or until they are able to access Student Finance England funding at the University of Kent (undergraduate programmes only).
  • The recipients will be eligible to receive financial support from the University of Kent to cover the cost of travel (to the University or for group support), books, equipment, etc. This is a bursary payment of £2000 at the start of the academic year.
  • The Students will be allocated an Adviser from Student Services to support them during their studies and to help access any support services and this will be a chance to check in and get extra support when or if it is needed.


I am the first person to go to university in my family. Without your kind donations I would not be here. Coming from a low income background the scholarship has made a massive difference to my life."

Fathima Zainab Riyaldeen Sanctuary Scholarship Recipient

Scholarship value

Tuition fee waiver


5th May 2024, 23:59 BST


To meet the eligibility criteria of the Award, applicants must:

  • Have refugee status, be an asylum seeker or the partner/dependent of an asylum seeker; OR an asylum seeker/partner/dependent who has been granted Discretionary Leave to Remain (DLR) or some other form of temporary status.
  • Have a conditional or unconditional offer of undergraduate study from the University of Kent, having applied through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).
  • Be currently attending a school, college, community or voluntary group which can provide a reference in support of their application.
  • Not have access to mainstream funding, e.g. student finance or a local authority grant.
  • Live within commuting distance of the University of Kent (i.e. within the county of Kent).
  • Be able to cover their own living expenses and accommodation costs.

Unfortunately the following courses are not currently available on the Sanctuary Scholarship at Kent: Courses dependent on NHS funding, Dentistry, Foundation degree programmes, Medicine and Pharmacy. 

Case Studies

Fathima Zainab Riyaldeen 

Fathima was a recipient of the Sanctuary Scholarship  Fund who sought asylum in the UK in 2010. She studied Accountancy and Finance and graduated in 2019 with a First from Kent Business School.

"I was not able to apply for a student loan because of my immigration status. The Article 26 scholarship gave me the opportunity to come to this university and get a degree.

"By the time I had graduated, I knew I wanted to mentor students in my area. I live in one of London’s poorest boroughs and I hope to encourage the kids in my neighbourhood to go to university.

"The Article 26 Scholarship has literally changed my life."

Dr Saeed Akkad

Dr Akkad from Syria undertook his PhD research into Cancer-related nano-therapeutics at the University of Kent through the work of CARA (Council for At-Risk Refugees).

Dr Saeed speaks of his gratitude to the University and to CARA:

“I had always wanted to do a PhD and so after talking to CARA they said that the University of Kent would be happy to accept my proposal… The more I heard about it [the University], the more I loved it. I loved it even before I arrived.

“If it wasn’t for CARA I wouldn’t be able to do the research I do.” Watch his full interview on YouTube.

Ajay Thakuri

Ajay, originally from Nepal, studied for a BA in Social Work at the University through an Article 26 scholarship. Ajay describes how we was unable to continue his studies due to a personal setback and that the scholarships were the opportunity he was looking for:

“I kept asking myself: am I good enough? But there were a lot of people supporting me. There were times when everything was going wrong.

“On my interview day I felt very anxious. However, when I was in front of the panel, I felt very comfortable. They just said to me: ‘Tell us what you know and why you want to study and what you want in the future.’ That made me more comfortable. Everything eventually worked out… 

The University of Kent made my life very easy while I was doing my course.”