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As part of Solent’s commitment to becoming a University of Sanctuary, in May the University delivered two events aimed to inform and support refugees and asylum seekers interested in studying at a university and community groups, volunteers, and professionals who work with people seeking sanctuary.

21st May 2021

At the start of May, through our community partnership with local radio station Unity 101, we took part in their community hour, discussing our journey to becoming a University of Sanctuary and what it means for our local community.

Geeta Uppal, Senior Access and Widening Partnership Officer at Solent, hosted the community hour with Caroline Barfoot, Head of Student Experience, representing Solent. We were delighted to be joined by Dan Steel from Southampton Schools of Sanctuary network and Maryam Taher from the City of Sanctuary charity. You can listen to a recording of the broadcast online.

Ram Kalyan, Station Manager said: “Unity 101 has a long standing relationship with Solent University and we’ve been delighted to work with staff and students in delivering projects that enable our communities to exchange knowledge and come together to share their life experiences. Southampton, like the University, welcomes everyone that arrives here and I’m delighted to hear that additional support, through this scholarship, will now be provided to those seeking sanctuary in our community."

This week, we also welcomed refugees and asylum seekers interested in studying at a university, and their support network, to an online event to break down barriers to accessing higher education. At the Get Ready For Uni event, we introduced our friendly staff who can support people seeking sanctuary through the process and advise on everything, from finance to applications. Maryam Taher from the City of Sanctuary charity also shared her own story of being a sanctuary scholar and her journey to higher education with attendees.

At the event we promoted the new Solent Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme, a full three-year undergraduate scholarship, including an annual fee waiver and £3,000 grant, to a person seeking sanctuary. Applications close on 18 June. To find out more and apply, visit our scholarships page.

We also spoke about our contextual offers scheme. The scheme uses additional information gained through contextual data to support our admissions process. We will identify disadvantaged students, their achievement and their potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience, encourage application and make lower offers to support access. People seeking sanctuary are eligible for the scheme.

For more information about Solent becoming a University of Sanctuary, visit

Becoming a University of Sanctuary is just one example of the University’s commitment to public engagement. Public engagement at Solent University is formed of two strategic priorities from the 2025 strategy, ‘Engaging with our communities’ and ‘Research and knowledge exchange’.