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The scholarship scheme and pledge strengthens Solent's commitment to engaging with our communities and public engagement.

13th April 2021

Following the launch of a new strategy in January, Solent University has confirmed its strategic commitment to engaging with our communities and public engagement through signing the City of Sanctuary pledge and launching a new scholarship scheme.

Solent University welcomes people seeking sanctuary, including asylum seekers and refugees, into its community. Since 2017 Solent has offered a scholarship to Syrian national refugees as part of Southampton City Council welcoming 25 families into the city.

The signing of the pledge and new scholarship were announced at a virtual meeting of Solent’s University of Sanctuary network on 12 April. The network brings together students, staff, alumni and external organisations seeking to foster a culture of awareness and inclusivity.

Members of Solent's University of Sanctuary network on a Zoom call

The new Solent Sanctuary Scholarship Scheme offers a full three year undergraduate scholarship, including an annual fee waiver and grant, to a person seeking sanctuary. The scheme will run annually and in 2021 there is one scholarship available. The scheme is now open for applications until 18 June. The successful applicant will start with Solent in September 2021. To find out more and apply, visit our scholarships page.

In signing the pledge and launching the scholarship, Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen Stanton said: “Solent has a strong history of working with our local community and people seeking sanctuary are a vital part of our community. The University has published its commitment to working in partnership with our alumni, local, business and global communities to maximise the value of our work to the wider society and deliver our Civic Charter.

“I am delighted that through our new scholarship, we can show a clear commitment to supporting equal access to higher education which is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our work does not stop here and the University, working with external partners, will be taking clear steps to ensure Solent and Southampton is welcoming to people seeking sanctuary.”

Maryam Taher, University of Sanctuary Programme Coordinator for City of Sanctuary, said: "I am excited to be working with Solent University and proud to support their commitments to widening their welcome and access to people seeking sanctuary. At a time when this is needed most, Solent is a great example of a university working collaboratively with their community to learn about the barriers people seeking sanctuary can face and working together to overcome them. We look forward to learning from Solent and welcoming them into the network"

Solent University’s ambition is to join the small but growing number of universities achieving a University of Sanctuary status in 2022. The award aims to recognise and celebrate the good practice of universities welcoming sanctuary seekers into their communities and fostering a culture of welcome and inclusion for all.

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’.

Ram Kalyan, Station Manager, Unity 101 and Honorary Doctor of Arts 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.”

For more information, please email

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