What is Equal Access at Bath?
The Equal Access at Bath Campaign is a student led initiative campaigning for undergraduate level scholarships and tailor-made financial and support packages to be provided for asylum seeker students. We are working with the SU and the University to achieve this.
We are aiming to raise £7,500 (or more!) as a first step in establishing support for the campaign. Our efforts build on the University's excellent support for refugees, pre-university level and postgraduate level asylum seekers. Our aim now is to fill the remaining gap: providing support for undergraduate level asylum seekers at Bath. Through this campaign, we hope to support the creation of an undergraduate scholarship for asylum seekers.
Why do Asylum Seekers need our support?
Asylum seekers are individuals who have been forced to leave their country of residence due to fear of persecution or threat to their safety in their home country.
In 2020, there were over 38,000 claims for asylum in the UK, and just under 13,000 were granted ‘asylum seeker’ status by the Home Office. These individuals have often faced unprecedented challenges along the road to residing in Britain. Asylum seekers are one of the most marginalised groups in Britain as this immigration status means that they have extremely limited access to citizenships and human rights within our borders.
This creates immense barriers to economic and social inclusion, one of which being their inability to access the financial means to attend higher education. This group cannot access student finance and are therefore extremely unlikely to be able to attend higher education without additional support. Consequently, less than 1% of asylum seekers are enrolled at university in the UK.
Wider support for this cause
International and national context - The UN Declaration of Human Rights states that "Higher Education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit". The right to education is both a human right and an enabling right: it transforms lives, paving the way to better work, health, and livelihoods (2010 UN Resolution). In response to this, the UNHCR calls for these programmes to be ‘scaled up’ (UNHCR). This is what our campaign is seeking to do.
University of Sanctuary (UoS) - Bath recently received a ‘University of Sanctuary Award’, demonstrating the excellent work done so far to support forced migrants, at the University and in the local community. They similarly identified one remaining gap to be filled: “there is a missing bridge between the outreach work and the PG scholarships" (University of Sanctuary Panel, 2020). The UoS Committee recommended that we now expand our horizons, offering more assistance to prospective undergraduate level scholars with asylum seeker status. Taking their expert advice onboard, we are seeking to bridge this gap.
How our campaign developed
Bath Amnesty Society and Bath Student Action for Refugess (STAR) submitted a proposal to the University outlining how an undergraduate level programme of support should be implemented and what benefits it would bring to these individuals and the University. This was deemed too financially difficult at this time by the University committee.
We set up a working group meeting with management, staff, students and SU representatives to discuss how we might overcome any barriers in the way of implementing this scheme.
To raise £7,500 (or more) as our first step in the campaign, we are reaching out to members of the local community, students, staff, alumni and wider society, to support us in our aim to create genuine equal access at undergraduate level at our university.
In the voice of Lionel, a 19-year-old asylum seeker
We chatted to Lionel, a 19-year-old asylum seeker, living in South Wales. He was unable to go to university last year due to being denied student finance, despite achieving the grades required. Recognising that scholarships were the only reliable way to access higher education, he wrote that:
"As an asylum seeker, you are not able to work to earn money so you can't pay for the fees and living costs. Most asylum seekers/refugees are classed as international students and their fees are much higher than home students”.
He went on to express the benefits this would personally bring him:
“Personally, attending higher education will help me to rebuild my life but also enable me to contribute back more into my host community."
The success of Bath’s Postgraduate Scholarships
Our university has been successfully providing postgraduate scholarships for asylum seekers for several years now. We have seen the multitude of benefits of this for both the individuals involved and the University itself. We asked some of the previous scholarship recipients about their experiences, who all agreed that higher education had been extremely valuable in building their capabilities and opening opportunities for the future. They noted that without the additional funding and support they would not be able to study.
How Will Your Gift Be Used?
Whilst we are living through uncertain times, the trajectory of our campaign remains consistent. Our goal is to create a scholarship fund, to support an asylum seeker through their undergraduate degree. Raising £7,500 will provide a strong base to continue towards this goal.This campaign is ever evolving, and these funds may be used to finance any stage of this process. These donations will hugely contribute to successfully closing the gap in our support for undergraduate level scholars at Bath. If for any reason we are unable proceed with a full undergraduate scholarship, any funds raised in this campaign will be used towards increasing support for prospective undergraduate asylum seekers at Bath.
Follow our social media pages to keep up to date with our campaign. We will be posting regular updates including quotes, videos, financial updates, further information, resources and more:
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/equal_access_at_bath/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/EqualAccessBath
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/EAABCampaign/
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/76323047
Help us succeed!
We would appreciate any donations, large or small. Not only will your donation help us achieve our goal, but you will also ultimately be helping asylum seekers get the best possible start to their new lives in the UK. Even if you are unable to give any money to this amazing cause, please share this page and our social media posts as far and wide as possible. Anyone can give to this cause and you never know on whose timeline your retweet or share will end up on.