A new fund has been launched by The Open University (OU) to support people displaced by conflict or crisis to build a brighter and better future.
The Open Futures Sanctuary Scholarships programme is designed to help refugees, forced migrants and people seeking asylum; those fleeing armed conflict, violence, or persecution in their home nation, including those currently affected by the War in Ukraine.
A time to engage with education and employment
The £240,000 per year fund offers 12 scholarships each year for the next three years, awarding a full fee waiver amounting to £20,000 per student. A further 50 fully funded places will be offered on OU Access Modules starting in Autumn 2022 with the aim of providing qualifying applicants with the skills and confidence to progress into Higher Education.
People arriving in the UK seeking refuge because of threats to their lives face many challenges, but they also have a chance to build a new life and a hopeful future for their families. It often means the first time they can engage with higher education and/or have access to meaningful employment.
The scholarships fund will provide a study starter pack and access to careers and employability services including bespoke guidance, online tools, events, and links to employers.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Blackman said:
“The plight of refugees whose lives have been upended due to conflict means we must act to support those coming to the UK.
“Education is a powerful tool for social mobility, improving people’s lives, and building better communities.
“Our Sanctuary Scholarships are one of the many ways in which we are mobilising our efforts to support people seeking refuge in our four nations.”
Rasha Mourd, 33, is a former refugee from Syria, currently studying with OU in Ireland for a BSc (Hons) IT and Computing. She is now settled in Northern Ireland. She said:
“I decided to complete my study at The Open University as it is an amazing opportunity to study in this country and because I knew if I study at the university that will reflect positively not only on me but on my family and the whole community also. Completing study was my dream for a long time but difficult circumstances obstructed me to do that.
“These scholarships are a really great opportunity to give people a chance to build a better future”
Find out more and apply online.
A new series of OU seminars surrounding the realities of forced migration are open to students, staff and guests. Information about the next events in May 2022, with booking details can be found on Eventbrite.