International students
Judith Petts

Welcoming asylum seekers and refugees

“An important part of our University is the value we place on being a diverse and inclusive community, where we learn and benefit from our rich variety of backgrounds and beliefs. This in part is why the University of Plymouth is such an enriching place to work and to study.”
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Plymouth 
The University of Plymouth is committed to eliminating barriers in access to Higher Education for asylum seekers and refugees and are a proud supporting organisation of the City of Sanctuary movement. As we work toward full accreditation as a University of Sanctuary, these pages outline our dedicated approach to supporting all students from asylum seeker or refugee backgrounds in benefiting from a University of Plymouth education. 

Through our award-winning Law Clinic working on refugee family reunion to our Sanctuary Scholarships and membership of the , every part of our University has a role to play in ensuring equality of opportunity for all students, regardless of their immigration status.
Graduation 2016

Sanctuary Scholarships

Our generous financial support package will enable more people to benefit from a University of Plymouth education and achieve their dreams regardless of immigration status. There are three scholarships available every year and they include full fee-waivers for the duration of your course plus financial help toward study costs. Find out more and apply for a scholarship.

Bursaries and mentoring

If you don't qualify for a scholarship or are already a student at the University, you may qualify for one of our bursaries or mentoring opportunities. Take a look at our commitment to addressing employability gaps in Higher Education.

Support for students

Sanctuary Student Group

If you identify as a 'Sanctuary Student' (from a refugee or asylum seeker background) you can join the University's dedicated Sanctuary Student Group to meet other students just like you. This peer support group is here to offer advice and support as well as make friends and social connections with students from across the University and they meet regularly throughout the academic year as well as regular information sessions with staff and services from the University. 

If you're interested in joining the group then simply email in confidence.

Students taking part in the English for Global Communication module giving presentations to clients for whom they have carried out consultancy work.

Global Buddies

Global Buddies is a group for international students that provides a chance to meet other international students and make social connections. The group discusses things like life in the UK, stories of people's home countries, university life and how to address any difficulties international students may be facing. The group is facilitated by three of our doctoral students who are excited to meet you all.

The group meets every Wednesday from 15:30–17:00 in the Pastoral and Spiritual Support Centre, 1 Kirkby Terrace.


START (Students and Refugees Together) recognises the skills and experiences that refugees bring to the city. As a learning organisation, START uniquely utilises the student placement as a resource which together with the strengths and skills of the community, work out what support is needed and how to achieve it. START works with students, refugees and asylum seekers on multiple projects including one to one support, cultural kitchen events, walking groups and creative groups.

If you are a refugee looking for support or would like advice on supporting refugees, .

Support for staff

Asylum Seeker Awareness Training

All staff are invited to engage with Asylum Seeker Awareness Training through a new dedicated portal to enable us all to better support our refugee and asylum seeker students. The portal contains videos, case studies, internal information and links to external learning and can be revisited so staff can look through resources at their own pace.

 (University log-in required)

Council for At Risk Academics

The University is a long-standing member of the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA). In partnership with universities and research institutes, learned societies and other like-minded organisations, as well as many academics and other individuals, CARA offers academics who are at risk of arrest or even death practical and financial help, and assistance to reach a place where they can continue their work in safety.

Community resources

British Red Cross

  • Advice and support for refugees and asylum seekers in the local area including a welcome project for new arrivals and a women's group 
  • Call +44 1752 831619 /

City of Sanctuary

  • Local City of Sanctuary group for Plymouth, endorsed by the University of Plymouth and Plymouth City Council

Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support

  • Advice, support, education, access to IT equipment and community groups for refugees and asylum seekers in the local area
  • Call +44 1752 265952 /

Diversity Business Incubator

  • Business support for BAME businesses in the region and support for refugee-owned start-ups
  • Call +44 1752 651010 /

Devon and Cornwall Race Equality Council

  • Support and advice for local people to eliminate racial discrimination and training and education for local businesses on race equality. 
  • Call +44 1752 224555 /

Give Back Project

  • Refugees and asylum seekers giving back to the local community through community projects and services.
  • Email: /

ODILS Learning Foundation

  • Language education, employability guidance and social integration support 
  • Call +44 1752 258770 /

Plymouth Hope

  • Social inclusion projects through sport, volunteer work and an annual festival.

Plymouth Pride

  • Social group for LGBT+ asylum seekers and refugees and annual Pride celebration

Refugee Integration Service (PATH)

  • Resettlement, housing advice and developing independence for Plymouth-based refugees.
  • Call +44 1752 255889 /


  • Cross-city projects bringing students and refugees/asylum seekers together through volunteering.