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Support for asylum seekers

We offer a variety of support for students who may be asylum seekers.

If you are ready for University-level study and you have been awarded a place on an undergraduate course with us, please read on to find out about what you will be charged for fees, how you can fund your studies with us and the support which is offered through a specialist adviser to enable you to be able to complete your studies.

If you are not yet ready for University-level study, have a look at the support available from our Widening Participation team. They offer free, Level 3 accredited community courses across Cardiff, in partnership with First Campus and the Continuing and Professional Education department:

For more information please contact us:


The Continuing and Professional Development team also offer standalone Level 4 and Level 5 courses, as well as Pathways to a Degree.

Tuition fee waiver

If you are eligible for a tuition fee waiver, your tuition fees will be reduced from the “international” fee to the “home” fee charged for your course. Please be aware that your fee status will remain as an “international” student.


You must:

  • be an asylum seeker or child of an asylum seeker
  • meet the academic programme requirements
  • study on a full-time undergraduate course, excluding Medicine and Dentistry and NHS-funded courses
  • provide proof that an application for asylum in the UK has been made before you applied to UCAS.

Assessment procedure

Assessments for eligibility will be undertaken by the University’s Admissions team. Completion of a fee assessment questionnaire is required, which must be returned with evidence of the application for asylum and confirmation that the asylum claim is still undecided.

Please note that if as an asylum seeker, you meet the above criteria you will be classified as an ‘international’ student but allowed to pay the ‘home’ rate of tuition fee, as a tuition fee waiver. Other institutions and funding bodies will make their own assessment and may not operate a tuition fee waiver. As you will be classified as an ‘international student’ under the fees regulations, you may not be eligible for tuition fee or maintenance loans. We would advise that you contact the relevant funding bodies directly with your details to establish your own entitlements.

Effect of Home Office decisions during your course

If you receive a positive asylum application outcome during your course of study at the University, your fee status will change to 'home' with effect from the following academic year and the tuition fee waiver will therefore cease to apply. A positive outcome is for those granted:

  • refugee status, or
  • humanitarian protection, or
  • discretionary leave is granted, or
  • your parents, spouse or civil partner are recognised as a refugee by the UK Government, or
  • their asylum application is refused but they are granted humanitarian protection, or
  • discretionary leave and you meet the ‘family condition’ on the date of the family member’s asylum application.

Please refer to the UKCISA website for full details of the conditions to be satisfied.

Funding is available from Student Finance if you receive a positive asylum application outcome.

If your asylum case is decided during your course of study at the University and refugee status, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave is not granted then your fee status will remain as ‘international’ and the fee waiver will cease to apply with effect from the following academic year and payment of the full ‘international’ fee rates will be required. The time limit on any visa or leave to remain will be monitored and applied in line with Home Office regulations.

The Fee Waiver Scheme is administered at the sole discretion of Cardiff University.

Opportunity Award

We are very aware that asylum seekers and the children of asylum seekers are often unable to access mainstream UK student funding. Therefore, we are making available two awards to students who are either asylum seekers or children of asylum seekers. Please see the Global Opportunity Award page for more information.

NHS courses

Unfortunately, NHS courses are not currently covered by the Opportunity Award but students who are asylum seekers and wish to study those courses can apply to the Schwab Westheimer Trust for support.

Funding is available from Student Finance if you receive a positive asylum application outcome.

Asylum seekers are not eligible for support through Student Finance. However, students with the following status may be eligible:

  • discretionary or indefinite leave to remain (if applying in Wales)
  • humanitarian Protection (if applying in Wales)
  • refugee status.

If your status changes to refugee status during the course, then you can get funding support from Student Finance from the next quarter of the year.

Those students with refugee status are immediately eligible for financial support.

Those with humanitarian protection, discretionary and indefinite leave to remain have to be ordinarily resident for 3 years before the start of the course.

Please see the UKCISA website for more information on eligibility for funding from Student Finance.

Dedicated contact

Elin Osmond is the dedicated contact for students with an asylum-seeking status who study at the University and acts as a first point of contact for any student in this situation. This support is primarily focused towards those students who are successful recipients of the Opportunity Award. However, she can be contacted by those students who currently have an asylum-seeking status and who are funding their studies through means other than the Opportunity Award.

Elin can help you in the following ways:

  • assisting with Home Office issues, including “no study” conditions
  • referral to trauma specialised counsellor
  • support with academic related issues including liaising with your academic department / course tutors
  • signposting towards other Cardiff University services, including support with applying for Student Finance if become eligible during your studies
  • signposting and referral to charities and other potential sources of funding
  • or simply just someone to talk to if you need to.

Elin Osmond