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Following calls from staff and students, University of Bath Senate has approved proposals to offer financial and welfare support, including scholarships, to refugees and others who have been forced to migrate to the UK.

The scheme, agreed at a meeting of Senate yesterday, will initially include two scholarships for Postgraduate Taught students, covering tuition and living costs, and bursaries to cover some living costs for one Undergraduate student. These will be provided on an annual basis from 2017/18.

We welcome the scheme as a positive step and are proud to be part of an inclusive university community that recognises education as a human right and that takes action to bring that ideal to life.

There are currently some restrictions, such as the exclusion of asylum seekers and those with ‘Definite Leave to Remain’ from the Undergraduate bursaries. Relaxing these would help the scheme to reach those in greatest need of support.

We want to thank all of the members of University of Bath Students’ Union, UCU, UNISON and UNITE who have worked so hard over the past two years to make a refugee scholarship scheme at our university a reality. Without your support we would not have seen the progress we do today. We also thank the University Executive for recognising the strength of feeling across campus and for agreeing to work together with us on this issue.

This year, students and staff have donated over £7,500 to the #Uni4Refugees crowdfund. A decision will be made shortly on how best to use the donations to augment the additional funding arrangements agreed at Senate.

We look forward to welcoming our new students to campus and to working collaboratively to ensure the success and growth of this scheme.

In solidarity,

Christopher Roche, UNISON at University of Bath
Alaa Al Khourdajie, University of Bath UCU
Chloe Smidt-Nielsen, University of Bath Amnesty Society
Adam Kearns, University of Bath Students’ Union
Walter Guy, University of Bath UNITE