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The University of York is a welcoming and safe place for refugees, asylum seekers and other people who have been forced to migrate.

York was founded in 1963 on the principles of excellence and opportunity for all. By 1974 we welcomed students from 34 countries around the world because our recruitment strategy welcomed those who had been excluded. This ethos of inclusivity has endured to the present day.

The University is now home to students from over 150 countries. Our Centre for Applied Human Rights also brings Human Rights Defenders, who risk their lives to fight global injustice and strengthen democracy, to York to share their expertise. We are always working to build on this inclusive environment and we became a University of Sanctuary in September 2020.

There are number of ways that you can support this cause at a local level, by contacting the City of Sanctuary organisers. Staff and students at the University can also get in touch with us at to find out more or to support us as a University of Sanctuary.

Access to University

We help sanctuary seekers access a university education by offering a range of financial support. This includes three Equal Access scholarships offered annually to asylum seekers who wish to undertake both undergraduate and postgraduate study. We also offer an enhanced bursary to students who are refugees.

Success at University

We recognise that refugees and asylum seekers may face considerable challenges in their study and everyday life. We are committed to helping students overcome these challenges and we encourage students to make use of the full set of support offered by the University. We have a dedicated Student Adviser located in the Student Hub, to assist with any problems with money, housing and progression.

York, a City of Sanctuary

We are located within York, which is a member of the national network of Cities of Sanctuary, a movement to build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK. As well as promoting an environment of compassion in the city, an active team of volunteers work with individual refugees or asylum seekers in and around York. We share the City of Sanctuary's vision, as set out in its charter, that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all, proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.

Supporting the local community

We offer free online English lessons to asylum seekers and refugees in York and the surrounding area to improve their English skills in order to be able to access services and the community of our city more easily.

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