Current students at the University of Hull

University of Sanctuary

The University of Hull was awarded University of Sanctuary status in June 2018.

Both the City of Hull and the University of Hull have a long tradition of welcoming and supporting those who seek sanctuary here.

We strongly believe in inclusive access to higher education, and we endeavour to continue reducing barriers and supporting people seeking sanctuary in realising their academic potential, as well as fostering a culture of welcome and support among staff, students and the wider community.

University of Sanctuary

“As the local MP for the University of Hull, and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Friends of the University of Hull, I am delighted and proud that Hull is a University of Sanctuary.

"It is important that those fleeing persecution should be able to access top-quality higher education and obtain professional qualifications in Hull. Both the City of Hull and the University have a strong record of welcoming and supporting all those who make their home here.”

Dame Diana Johnson, MP for Kingston upon Hull North


Guidance for people seeking sanctuary on applying to university

We want to make it as easy as possible for people seeking sanctuary to study at the University of Hull. We have gathered together guidance on applying to the University and other useful resources to help you explore the support that is available both on campus and in the city.


Financial support

The funding available to you will depend on your immigration status. Please see Refugee Education UK’s guidance to check what funding you may be able to access. If you need any further advice please get in touch with us by emailing or calling 01482 463002.

The University offers financial support to entrants seeking asylum in the UK. All new asylum seeker students at the University are eligible to receive a Sanctuary Fee Reduction, paying fees equivalent to the home rate rather than international fees.

We’re also pleased to be able to offer Sanctuary Scholarships for up to three new entrants each year. These Scholarships offer those seeking asylum in the UK a full tuition fee waiver, an annual £2,000 study grant, and tailored personal support for the full duration of a programme of study.

Our Undergraduate Refugee Scholarship provides financial support for students with Refugee/Humanitarian Protection status who, due to previous education undertaken outside of the UK, are not able to take out a tuition fee loan for all years of their study.


A welcoming campus

We are committed to ensuring that our campus is a place of welcome and are delighted to be able to offer people seeking sanctuary the opportunity to become members of our University Library and Sports Centre.

We are also pleased to offer the opportunity for sanctuary seekers to join the group of volunteers who help to maintain the University’s Botanic Gardens at Thwaite Hall.

Find out how to:

Sanctuary Champions

Our Sanctuary Champions, a network of staff and student volunteers from across the University, work together to foster a University-wide culture of inclusion for those seeking sanctuary, and lead projects to support the needs of people seeking sanctuary in higher education and the wider community.

We also work closely with Hull City of Sanctuary and sanctuary organisations across the city, such as Open Doors, Welcome to English, the Refugee Council and Hull Help for Refugees.

Examples of previous and current Sanctuary projects can be found below.

Talking Hull

Talking Hull offers open access English language classes, delivered by lecturers and students in the School of Education, and brings together members from a wide range of countries in twice-weekly informal discussion groups, supporting participants to develop their English language skills and to connect as part of the wider Hull community.

In the following article, members of Talking Hull reflect on the impact that the programme has had since it was established in 2018 and the source of mutual support it has provided as activities have adapted and evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more about Talking Hull.

Voices of Sanctuary

For Refugee Week 2021, we presented a podcast series exploring different perspectives on how we understand sanctuary and those seeking refuge.

The series features interviews with experts including a visual artist who works with those seeking sanctuary, a barrister and an academic working on the politics of sanctuary.

Episode 1

Dr Alexander Ornella and Dr Bev Orton in conversation with Lee Karen Stow.

Lee Karen Stow is a PhD student at the University of Hull and an award-winning photographer and visual artist who seeks to find new and innovative ways of allowing people to share their stories in authentic ways. Lee has worked with those who have sought sanctuary, and has a strong commitment to breaking down barriers in communication and understanding.

Food for Thought, an online exhibition by Lee Karen Stow, explores the stories of members of the Hull Refugee Council Women’s Group as they prepare traditional dishes from their home countries.

Dr Alexander Ornella is Programme Director for Sociology and a Senior Lecturer in Religion and Dr Bev Orton is a Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology at the University of Hull.

Episode 2

Professor Robert Dover in conversation with Dr Kelly Staples, University of Leicester.

In this episode, we explore the international politics of sanctuary, the gaps between academic, media and public perceptions, and how scholars should seek to represent the authentic and lived experiences of those seeking sanctuary.

Dr Kelly Staples is Associate Professor in International Relations at the University of Leicester whose research focuses on asylum, statelessness and sanctuary. Professor Robert Dover is Professor of Criminology, specialising in Intelligence and Security, and Head of the Department of Criminology and Sociology at the University of Hull.

To read more about the topics discussed in this episode:

Staples, K. (2019). ‘The problem with refugees’: international protection and the limits to solidarity. International Politics, 56, 158–174.

Staples, K. (2013). Fragile states, collective identities and forced migration. Forced Migration Review, 43, 20–21.

Episode 3

Professor Robert Dover in conversation with Professor Niaz Shah

The third episode in our Voices of Sanctuary series explores the fundamentals of refugee law, the rights and obligations on those seeking asylum, the international political perspective and the pushback against the norms of asylum and refuge.

Professor Niaz Shah is Professor in Law at the University of Hull and also practices as a human rights and asylum barrister. Professor Robert Dover is Professor of Criminology, specialising in Intelligence and Security, and Head of the Department of Criminology and Sociology at the University of Hull.

Episode 4

Professor Robert Dover in conversation with Robert Richardson

The fourth in a mini series of podcasts to mark Refugee Week 2021 – this episode sees University of Hull Professor Robert Dover chat to Robert Richardson, Head of the Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Team at the National Crime Agency. The NCA has been described by many as ‘the UK’s FBI,’ as its remit is national rather than locally defined, and because it aims to deal with serious and organised criminality.

The podcast offers a rare opportunity to hear a serving and senior member of the NCA discussing their role in modern slavery and human trafficking, an all too common outcome for those seeking sanctuary. The discussion explores the role of the NCA in supporting victims, how some refugees fall into the hands of gang masters and organised criminals, and how the public can help to reduce the numbers of victims through adopting some simple consumer behaviours.


Repairing Broken Lives

‘Repairing Broken Lives’ is a collection of songs and videos which aim to raise awareness of the experience of seeking sanctuary in the UK in the 21st century. Working with people seeking sanctuary in Hull, the project is a collaboration between the University of Hull, the Hull-based charity Open Doors and singer-songwriter Paul Field and is funded by the Ferens Educational Trust.

You can watch the music videos for the three songs completed to date below.

The Politics of kindness

Walking in your shoes

These 4 Walls 

Reflections on the project

Dr Nigel Shaw

Gathering the information for the music videos was often a distressing experience, hearing from the asylum seekers and refugees why they had to leave their homes, their journeys to the UK and Hull and their experiences of the UK’s ‘hostile environment’, designed to deter refugees from coming to the UK. However, it has also been an uplifting experience and a real pleasure to work with the asylum seekers on the songs, to see how talented and accomplished they are, and to meet and work with the volunteers and workers of the Open Doors project. I was also pleased to be able to provide some skills workshops at Open Doors, based on those that I normally offer for research students at the University.

My only regret is that the Covid-19 lockdown intervened in our work on a fourth song. But we will resume work to complete ‘We Are The Song’ once social distancing restrictions have eased sufficiently to allow us to record sanctuary seekers’ performances and their input to the music and visuals.

I was struck by the similarities between some of the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers and those highlighted in Stolen Lives, a previous collaboration between the University of Hull, the NASUWT and Paul Field which looked at human trafficking and modern and historic slavery. War and the uprooting of populations makes people so vulnerable to others’ greed and exploitation. I was honoured that the sanctuary seekers who participated in the project were willing to share with me their experiences of facing such vulnerability, and I pay tribute to their resilience and to the care and welcome they and the Open Doors staff and volunteers offer to others.

I hope the videos provide helpful prompts for reflection and discussion. We would welcome your thoughts and feedback on the project.

Nigel Shaw
Doctoral College
University of Hull