Sanctuary Scholars are students living in the UK from refugee and asylum-seeking background who have received a scholarship from the university.
These students can find themselves facing study bans from the Home Office or ongoing asylum claims which have associated legal fees. Currently the average living cost for a student in Bristol is up to £14,500 per year and the scholarship just meets this figure. The Sanctuary Scholarship also disqualifies students from applying for legal aid in most cases as the individual has to meet specific criteria.
Last academic year, there were multiple cases of Sanctuary Scholars at Bristol dropping out of studies or taking loans to pay for their ongoing Asylum Claims. This culminated in the Home Office's decision in Summer to place a Study Ban on two sanctuary scholars, who were forced to rely on crowdfunding and free legal representation secured by a Law professor to appeal their cases.
Students from Bristol SU’s Amnesty International and STAR (Student Action for Refugees) have combined forces with Bristol Students’ Union to set up a new Sanctuary Scholar Legal Fund of £25,000 which will be accessible by Sanctuary Scholars who don’t qualify for legal aid for any legal costs they may incur relating to their immigration status.