Asylum seekers and refugees

The University of Leicester is a University of Sanctuary. We have a Sanctuary Seekers Unit in our Centre for International Training and Education (CITE). If you are a refugee or asylum seeker you may be referred to our Sanctuary Seekers Unit through the City of Sanctuary Team.

If you have applied to us independently it can be a bit of a challenge for us to identify if you are an asylum seeker or refugee. We will check your student finance information when you register with us and contact you if it shows that you are not eligible for student finance and do not have a sponsor. Someone from our Student Welfare Service will contact you when we have these details to confirm your situation, make sure you are aware of all the support you can access and help you with any concerns. If you want to speed up this process or have questions before you apply or make your decision you can contact the Student Welfare Service ( directly and they will be happy to help.

There are some scholarships on our scholarships page for asylum seekers and specifically for students coming through the Afghan Citizens Relocation Scheme.

The Student Welfare Service will also discuss your specific circumstances with you, how they can help with accommodation, travel, parking or finances depending on what you need. Your designated contact will check in with you during your studies to make sure things are all going as smoothly as possible.

The Student Welfare Service provide a range of support for students regardless of their circumstances. If you are not sure if you qualify for specific support, you are more than welcome to chat to them to see how they can help you.

Student Finance and scholarships

If you are a UK resident or have settled status you will be eligible for student finance to cover your fees and living costs. If you are not sure if you are eligible, you can check on the Student Finance website.

In some cases you may receive extra student finance to help with day to day costs. For example, if you have children, a disability or financially support another adult. When you complete your student finance application you will be asked questions that will identify if you are eligible for the additional support. There is also a specific disabled students’ allowance. 

There are also scholarships and bursaries that we give out depending on your circumstances or based on an application. Check the deadlines as some of these scholarships are applied automatically and some you may need to apply for. You can stack these scholarships if you are eligible for more than one!

There are also come external agencies and websites that have more opportunities to apply for scholarships and bursaries. These websites are separate to the University so we are unable to advise you on what is on offer or help with scholarship outcomes. 

  • ButtleUK grant for young people under 20 who have experienced a crisis that has recently had a significant and enduring impact on their social and emotional wellbeing and educational engagement (applications must be via a professional support worker)
  • See Turn2Us guidance on benefits and grants
  • The Scholarship Hub has scholarships depending on your circumstances.

If you are not able to take a student loan, you may be eligible but are not permitted to take loans with interest, the National Zakat Foundation may be a good place to look for a suitable solution. 

If you have the time and energy during your course, you may also want to sign up with Unitemps. This is an on campus employment agency that caters for students. They have part-time roles that fit around your studies. 

Career Development Service

When our Student Welfare Service contact you, they will also link you up with a named Careers Advisor from our Careers Development Service. Every student has access to this service and we make sure that everyone gets careers advice as part of their course and after your graduate. Your Careers Advisor will be there to make sure you can get appointments to help with your CV, work experience, paid internships and other opportunities to give you the best start when you leave University.


Every first year student is guaranteed a place in our student accommodation if you apply before 1st September. You can also choose to stay in the University managed accommodation throughout your course.

There are a range of contracts available, so you are able to choose a contract that best suits your needs. Our accommodation is open 24/7 365 days a year, and there are many student who stay with us over the holiday and vacation periods. Support, events and activities are always available If you want or need a longer contract than the 42 or 48 weeks shown on the Accommodation website, then the Student Welfare Service can help arrange this with our Accommodation Team.

If you are a care leaver from Leicester, are studying elsewhere and would like to return to the area in the holidays, we will have space for you too. Get in touch with our Accommodation Team ( and they will see what is available for you. More universities around the country are making rooms available for local care leavers in this way, so if you are from outside of Leicestershire and thinking of spending your summer in your local area, check with the nearest university to you or mention this to your name member of staff.

If you live at home and are commuting into University, then we can also offer some short term accommodation if you need it. You might decide that staying with us during exam or assessment periods would be beneficial or you might be offered some respite time and want to stay local. If you mention this to your Student Welfare Advisor they will be able to help.

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