Refugees and Asylum Seekers

As an instiution, QMUL is committed to providing support for those who have either been granted refugee status, or a different status as the result of an asylum application, or who are awaiting a decision on their asylum application, so that you can access university and achieve your potential when you are here. This web page explains what QMUL support is available, who to contact for further advice, as well as giving links to some external organisations who can provide support.

Support at QMUL is largely delivered by Welfare Advisers working within the QMUL Advice and Counselling Service.  One of the Welfare Advisers will be your dedicated key contact for support during your time at QMUL. You are encouraged to contact us to access this support before you start at QMUL - ideally before you apply for your place at university or soon after. However you are also welcome to contact us at any stage of your course. 

Applying to QMUL
Tuition Fee Status
Funding your studies
QMUL Article 26 Bursary
Additional Funding
Cost of living and planning your budget
How to access support at QMUL

Applying to QMUL 

If you are applying for an undergraduate programme, you will apply through UCAS. Postgraduate students apply directly to the university: there is more information online

The QMUL online course finder has information for each course including the course content, entry requirements, and learning and teaching information. It also lists contact details for each course for any enquiries you may have:

QMUL also has open days where you can find out about studying here and student life. 

As long as your immigration permission permits study, you will be able to enrol at QMUL. If you are not sure whether your immigration permission permits study, or to check what documents you would need to show in order to enrol at QMUL, you can email with a copy of your most recent Home Office documentation confirming your status and also see the QMUL Permission to Enrol webpage. 

STAR (Student Action for Refugees) has a webpage about applying for university, which includes a list of organisations who may be able to offer you advice and support. 

Tuition Fee status

Universities have two rates of tuition fee - a 'home' rate for students from the EEA (including the UK) and an 'overseas'rate for international students from outside the EEA. We have a web page which explains how the decision is made about which rate of tuition fee a student is liable for. The tuition fee for each programme is listed on the online course finders: undergraduate course finder and taught postgraduate course finder.


If you have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection by the UK government, or you are a relevant family member of someone who has been granted one of those statuses, you will be entitled to pay the 'home' rate of tuition fees if you meet certain criteria. These are explained on the UKCISA web page (click on number 9 'Refugees and family' or number 10 'Those granted humitarian protection, and family' in the list of categories). If you or your relevant family member is recognised as a refugee after the start of the course, you will be entitled to 'home' fees from the start of the next academic year if you meet the requirements on the UKCISA web page.

Asylum seekers

If you have made a claim for asylum but it has not yet been decided, you will normally be liable for the overseas rate of tuition fee. However, QMUL is pleased to offer a tuition fee concession to all asylum seekers or children of asylum seekers who meet certain criteria, so that you will pay the 'home'rate of tuition fee while your asylum application is under consideration by the Home Office. This fee concession will be available to all undergraduate students on all programmes, except those offered by the School of Medicine and Dentistry that lead to qualified status as a doctor, dentist, or dental hygienist or therapist. It is important to be aware that if you get the fee concession, you will still need to secure funding to pay your tuition fees at the home rate, as those who have made an asylum claim but not yet had an outcome are not normally eligible for Student Finance from the UK government (see next section). 

Full details of the fee concession including the eligibility criteria and application process are available here. If you have already applied for an Article 26 Bursary (see next section) you will be considered for an asylum seekers fee concession automatically if you meet the eligibility requirements and do not need to submit a further application form. 

Funding your studies

Student Finance

Student Finance is the system of financial support for students, provided by the UK government, through an organisation called Student Finance England (SFE). If you normally live in England, the three main elements of Student Finance for full-time eligible undergraduate students are:

  • Tuition Fee Loan
  • Maintenance Loan for living costs
  • Supplementary Grants for students with particular circumstances, for example if you are a parent, or if you have a disability or ongoing ill health

We have written an advice guide for QMUL students and prospective students which explains what undergraduate funding is, who is eligible, how much money you might get, how to apply, and how the loan repayments work. If you are a medical or dental student, there is a separate advice guide

There are also Student Finance loans for Master's and Doctoral programmes. These loans are non-income assessed. There is information about these in our Postgraduate Funding guide, including eligibility criteria, and how to apply. 

Eligibility for Student Finance

It is important to check whether you are eligible for Student Finance before you come to university. If you are not eligible, you will need an alternative source of funding to pay your tuition fees and living costs.

The UKCISA web page lists the 11 categories of people who are eligible for Student Finance, in accordance with government regulations. If you have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection by the UK government, or you are a relevant family member of someone who has been granted one of those statuses, you will be eligible to apply for Student Finance if you meet certain criteria, which are explained on the UKCISA web page (click on number 9 'Refugees and family' or number 10 'Those granted humitarian protection, and family' in the list of categories). If you or your relevant family member are granted refugee status after the start of your course, you may become eligible for Student Finance in the following academic year, if you meet all of the requirements listed on the UKCISA web page - please check with a Welfare Adviser. If you have been granted Discretionary Leave to Remain, check category 11 'Long Residence' on the UKCISA web page, and contact a Welfare Adviser if you need help checking whether you meet the eligibility criteria. If you aren't eligible for Student Finance, please see the QMUL Article 26 Bursary section below. If you are awaiting a decision on an asylum application you are not normally eligible for Student Finance - please see the QMUL Article 26 Bursary section below. 

Applying for Undergraduate Student Finance

If you are under the age of 25, unless you meet the criteria below, SFE will usually need income information from your parents, because an income assessment is needed to assess Maintenance Loan and Queen Mary Bursary entitlement. See our Undergraduate Funding guide for more information about the income assessment.

However, if you are alone in the UK without parents, you need to apply to SFE (Student Finance England) to be assessed as an independent student. This means that SFE won't expect you to provide parental income as part of your application for Student Finance: you would then be eligible for the maximum amounts of funding (unless you have a partner whose income is included in the SFE assessment). If you don’t apply as independent, and you cannot provide parental income information, you would only receive the minimum amount of Maintenance Loan, which would mean it would be very difficult to pay for your living costs. The different rates of Maintenance Loan are explained here. 

SFE have various categories of eligibility for being assessed as an independent student. We list all of those in our Undergraduate Funding guide. Which one you apply under will depend on our circumstances (you only need to fit into one of the categories):

  • If you came to the UK as an Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child, you were probably placed in the care of a Local Authority. If you were looked after by a Local Authority throughout any 3 month period ending on or after the date you reached your 16th birthday and before you start your university course, as long as you were not under the charge of your parents during that 3 month period, you can apply to SFE as an independent student. SFE will ask you to provide evidence that you were looked after, or have been given accommodation by your Local Authority. Usually you'll be asked to send a letter from your local council or care authority - you can ask your social worker or support worker for this. This letter should confirm you were under the care of your Local Authority, have now left the care of the Local Authority, and are a care leaver as defined in the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. You will only have to provide this evidence once, at the start of your course. If you can’t provide the evidence asked for, please contact a Welfare Adviser. Please also read our separate web page for Care Leavers.
  • If you are alone in the UK but you don't meet the criteria in the previous point, but your parents are either deceased, or their whereabouts are unknown or it would be impractical to contact them, then you can apply as independent
  • If you are estranged from your parents, which generally means you are not in communication with your parents, and this situation is unlikely to be reconciled, we have additional information on our Estrangement webpage

You can arrange to meet confidentially with a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service to discuss your situation, and they can help you to think about how you can explain your situation so that SFE will understand it, and what evidence you will need to provide. If you have already applied to SFE and your application was unsuccessful, a Welfare Adviser can advise you on appealing against this decision.

QMUL Article 26 Bursary for those not eligible for Student Finance

If you not eligible for Student Finance, and you or your parent are an asylum seeker or you hold Discretionary Leave to Remain, QMUL has two Article 26 Bursaries for the 2018/19 academic year. Bursary receipients will have their full tuition fee waived, and they will also be given a non-repayable bursary for living costs of either £11,354 if you live independently, or £7324 if you live with parents, plus £1700 regardless of where you live. The Bursary will be paid for the normal duration of your course.  

To apply, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be an asylum seeker, the child of an asylum seeker or hold Discretionary Leave to Remain

  • You must be ineligible to obtain funding from Student Finance England

  • You must have firmly accepted a place on an undergraduate course in the Faculty of Science & Engineering or the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • You must not already hold an equivalent or higher qualification than the one you will be studying at QMUL

  • You will need to submit a completed Article 26 Application form with all relevant documentation (this is listed on the application form) by the deadline of 29 June 2018.

If you would like help completing the application form, please contact a Welfare Adviser. 

If your Article 26 Bursary application is unsuccessful, then unless you have access to alternative funding for your tuition fees and living costs, you would normally need to ask to defer your university place and wait to start university when you are eligible for Student Finance, or you could also try applying again for the Article 26 Bursary in the next academic year.

Additional Funding

If you are eligible for Student Finance, you will need to consider whether that will be enough to pay for your expenses, or whether you will need any extra money (we explain how to do this in the next section on budgeting). If you identify that you need extra money, please read our advice guide 'Additional Sources of Funding' which explains some possible options. One of these is the University Financial Assistance Fund. If you are assessed by Student Finance England as an independent student under the age of 25 (see previous section) you can apply to the University Financial Assistance Fund for a grant to help with your living costs over the summer holiday, if you are paying rent. Please contact a Welfare Adviser for advice about this. 

Cost of living and planning your budget

It is very important to plan your budget carefully for university, so that you understand the costs of living and tuition fees, and where you will get your money from to pay for those costs.

We have prepared an example of an undergraduate student budget on our website, so you can see what kinds of expenses you will have and how much money you might need for a whole academic year. The cost of living does vary a lot according to lifestyle, so the budget planner is just an example which you can download and fill out for yourself, to create your own personal budget plan. 

By planning a budget you will be able to work out whether university is going to be affordable for you. It will also enable you to be more in control of your money as you will know your total income, and your total expenses, as well as when you’ll receive your income during the year, and when you will have to pay for expenses. It will enable you to identify in advance any gap between your income and expenses, so you can think how to either reduce your spending or increase your income.

A Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service can help you to plan your budget, either before you join QMUL or at any time during your course.  They can also help you check whether you have applied for all of the funding you are eligible for. There may be sources of funding you have not considered yet – see our advice guide Additional Sources of Funding for details. If you are worried that you won't be able to afford the cost of university, please contact a Welfare Adviser as soon as possible, so that we can advise you.


You will need to decide which accommodation works best for you, according to your circumstances. If you have been in Local Authority care, please see the Accommodation information on our separate web page for Care Leavers.

First year students can apply for a room in QMUL halls of residence. You can find detailed information about this here, including types of accommodation and prices. Priority is given to students who live outside the Greater London area, but please contact a Welfare Adviser and we can discuss whether a place may be available if you already live in London.

It is also possible to apply for QMUL housing over the summer vacation, but this may mean changing residences - you can only apply for summer housing in March during the academic year in which you want the summer housing.

How to access support at QMUL

If you are a prospective student, or a current student, you can book a confidential appointment with a Welfare Adviser in the QMUL Advice and Counselling Service. You can contact us via our website to book this appointment. 
Your Welfare Adviser will be able to support you with a whole range of welfare, financial and practical issues. And where someone else is better placed to help you, your Welfare Adviser will be able to help you make contact with the right person. Once you have had an initial appointment, you will be able to contact your Welfare Adviser if you need any further support at any time, including before you start and throughout your course.