Tuition fee RESIDENCY Rules
Life changing decisions
Written by - Zizi Orji
We believe everyone living in Scotland should have equal rights and opportunities,
regardless of their immigration status.
· On arriving in Scotland seeking asylum, people are keen to contribute to life here. Professional qualifications gained in our home country are often however not recognised.
· Many of us wish to further our studies either in a new sphere or to ratify our existing qualifications. SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland) funding is available to pay tuition fees and more for those who have settled status as set out in the Immigration Act 1971.
· However, although the Home Office has given us limited leave to remain in the UK, many people discover they are not able to take up offers of Further and Higher Educations as they do not qualify for SAAS funding due to their immigration status.
· This has been the case for those who have not yet been granted indefinite leave to remain by the Home Office and are on the long residence (10 year settlement) route and must reapply for permission to stay every 30 months.
According to SAAS, to apply for funding applicants must have settled status as set out in the Immigration Act 1971. This excludes all apart from those awarded leave to remain as a result of an asylum application.
· Although immigration status is determined by the Home Office, the Scottish Government has control over Education and has the power to change the policy of who qualifies for SAAS funding.
· There are no UK legal impediments or prohibitions against extending access to funding.
In In our recent campaign we have been asking that the Scottish Government lives up to its laudable human rights commitments and extends access to SAAS funding to those granted limited leave to remain on the 10 year settlement route who are required to renew their leave to remain at 30 month periods.
Hundreds of students from migrant families has been affected by tuition fees residency rules including myself, Glory and Olivia.
For many years, we have been campaigning, doing surveys and newspaper publications and also working alongside the PTC. Several productive meetings were organised and held with the minister of higher education where we discussed inequality in education and barriers that existed for people with certain immigration status, asylum seekers and adults who wants to continue their studies.
The fact that these has been campaigned on for many years and people were not listened to, the Scottish government continued to introduce schemes that favoured other categories such as Ukrainians and Syrian interpreters to get funding.
Studying, gaining qualifications and pursing ambitions are a major part of rebuilding our lives after a long wait for the Home Office response.
Glory was also backed by JustRight Scotland to call for SAAS funding to be made available to everyone like her.
The highlight of the campaign was that even if the home office determined the status of individuals the Scottish government has the power over education and can change the policies.
Recently myself , Glory ,Olivia and Elaine had a meeting with the Scottish Government and SAAS and a payment scheme has been drawn out to cover payments to students in the year 2021-2023, and hopefully it goes on in the near future.