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University of Sanctuary

Students from the STAR society at the Refugee Rhythm event
Students from the STAR society at the Refugee Rhythm event. Photo credit, Noah

We are committed to making our university a safe and welcoming place for forced migrants and asylum seekers.

Our campus offers a diverse and truly international environment attracting the best students and staff from around the world. Over 7,000 international students from over 100 countries now call Cardiff their home.

City of Sanctuary organisation pledge

city of sanctuary supporting organisation

“We support the ‘City of Sanctuary’ vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.

We endorse the City of Sanctuary Charter and agree to act in accordance with City of Sanctuary values and apply the network principles within our work (as far as our specific context enables us to).

We recognise the contribution of people seeking sanctuary. Sanctuary seekers are welcomed, included and supported within our context. We expect our branches or local groups (if any) to support their local City of Sanctuary group if one exists, and will facilitate contact between them and their local City of Sanctuary group.”

University of Sanctuary

We are in the process of pursuing University of Sanctuary status, an initiative that recognises the good practice of universities in welcoming, supporting and empowering people seeking sanctuary.

This status promotes a culture of welcome, and brings together existing work to support forced migrants and asylum seekers, as well as further develop support for displaced individuals.

Our University of Sanctuary working group consists of students and staff who are responsible for collection information on our existing work in this area. The group will continue to meet once the application has been submitted, ensuring we continue with plans to further develop our support for people seeking sanctuary.

Below are some of the related initiatives we will be highlighting in our application for University of Sanctuary status.

Asylum seekers opportunity award

We know that asylum seekers and the children of asylum seekers are often unable to access mainstream UK student funding.

Our Asylum Seekers Opportunity Award covers the cost of tuition fees and provides a non-repayable grant of £4,000 per year to support living costs. Each year the award is given to two undergraduate students holding an unconditional or conditional offer to study at Cardiff University. We accept applications from those who are either asylum seekers or children of asylum seekers.

Supporting student life

We have dedicated members of staff within Student Life Services who will provide specialist advice and counselling support. Staff are based in the new Centre for Student Life.

Chaplaincy, faith and religion

We provide a place for friendship, hospitality, reflection, prayer, support and dialogue, offering opportunities for you to engage socially and to explore faith and spirituality. Meet our chaplains.

Widening participation and outreach

We offer a wide range of programmes and outreach events that have been designed to break down the barriers to higher education and to support you through your educational journey. We're here to support your journey to university.

Our role is to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion by supporting students from specific groups to access and prepare for university.  We recognise the benefits that a diverse and talented student community can bring.

We can offer you information, advice and guidance for your university application, and tips to help you prepare for university.

Read more about our widening participation strategy which focuses on developing a culture of welcome.

The Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA)

Our long history of supporting refugees goes all the way back to 1914 when a group of 300 Belgian refugees arrived in Cardiff. Our institutional archives show that staff in the Education Department provided schooling, supplies, and even a Christmas party for the children who made the city their home – many living with local residents.

Today we are proud to be a long-standing supporter of the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA). Our work continues via their Researchers at Risk Fellowships, which are being organised in association with the UK National Academies.