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University of Sanctuary

University of Sanctuary

The University of Exeter is committed to engaging with sanctuary seekers throughout its activities. This commitment builds on its institutional values, including the emphasis we put on building community at the heart of our mission statement. This involves working to ensure that our community, both within the university and outside it, is inclusive and diverse, and that we are working collaboratively and ambitiously in the service of others.

As a recognised University of Sanctuary, the University of Exeter:


  • Is part of the University of Sanctuary network, a UK-wide initiative aiming to ensure that universities foster a culture of welcome and inclusion for asylum seekers and refugees.
  • Endorses the City of Sanctuary charter.
  • Offers sanctuary scholarships and also partial fee waivers to undergraduate students who are seeking asylum.
  • Will make contextual offers to undergraduate students seeking asylum or with refugee status
  • Recognises 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 also have a network of students who have been forced to migrate that you can join by contacting Jim Price, Head of Student Immigration Services, even if you are not a sanctuary scholar funded by the University.
  • Actively researches asylum issues. For example our routes network uses interdisciplinary research to enable its members to engage collaboratively in investigation of all aspects of human mobility, migration and displacement.
  • Hosts a Community Law Clinic which includes the Exeter Immigration Clinic. This clinic aims to provide a specialist advice and immigration service for those who are otherwise unable to afford representation and develop local capacity and networks to support organisations working with those who require immigration advice.
  • Has strong links with the Universities of Sanctuary National Steering Group. The University of Exeter part-funded the Universities of Sanctuary Handbook, which was written by University of Exeter alumnus Abigail Grace. Two Exeter academics, Professor Nick Gill (Geography) and Dr Ben Hudson (Law), sit on this national steering group of the Universities of Sanctuary network.
  • Has embedded teaching on asylum and refugee matters across the institution.
  • Has active students groups such as Exeter Student Action for Refugees (STAR) and Exeter University’s Amnesty International Society working on sanctuary issues. For example, the STAR group hosts events, campaigns, socials and funding raising activities through the year.
  • Maintains strong links to our local partners, such as Exeter City of Sanctuary and Refugee Support Devon (RSD). The university of Exeter supports the charter of Exeter City of Sanctuary and Dr Ben Hudson (Law) is a Trustee of the Refugee support Devon (prior to that Professor Elena Isayev (Classics) was an RSD Trustee).
  • Supports the work of the Academic Freedom and Internationalisation Working Group (AFIWG) brings together academics from UK higher education institutions, who are supported by relevant civil society representatives and the All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG), to work on the protection of academic freedom and engage in advocacy for members of the academic community at risk across the world. Professor John Heathershaw is a member of this working group. See Exeter University news story here.


Further information about funding and support options for sanctuary seekers can be found here.  If you are an undergraduate applicant who is a refugee or asylum seeker or have been awarded Humanitarian Protection or Limited Leave to Remain (or are a relevant family member of someone with one of these immigration statuses), you will receive a contextual offer for your programme.  We will also take into account relevant mitigating circumstances when making offers to postgraduate applicants.

If you have questions about financial support or advice, please contact Claire Botham, Student Advisor and Widening Participation Specialist at the Students' Guild.