UL to offer scholarships worth €1.8 million to refugees and asylum seekers

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

UL to offer scholarships worth €1.8 million to refugees and asylum seekers

UL to offer scholarships worth €1.8 million to refugees and asylum seekers

THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick has announced that it will offer 15 new undergraduate scholarships to refugees and asylum seekers starting in September.

This is in addition to 15 one-year mature student access certificate scholarships, which were first introduced last year for people living in Direct Provision.

Marking the United Nations World Refugee Day, this will be bring the Sanctuary Scholarship cohort total to 60 at UL.

In total, the University is to offer 30 scholarships in 2018 and in 2019 worth a total of €1.8 million to refugees and asylum seekers.

The announcement comes after UL was awarded University of Sanctuary status on World Refugee Day 2017 and announced the introduction of its Sanctuary Scholarships programme.

“UL is very proud of its University of Sanctuary status and is committed to continually broadening access to higher education across the entire population. We hope to enable as many students as possible who have the potential to go to university to make it there, in this case by removing insurmountable financial barriers,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Engagement at University of Limerick, Professor Kerstin Mey.

This year there will be 15 one-year MSAC and 15 four-year undergraduate arts and business Sanctuary Scholarships offered. For the first time, this includes fee waivers for Leaving Certificate students who have applied through the Central Applications Office (CAO) to two of UL’s largest programmes, Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS).

“Of course, we are delighted to be in a position to offer scholarships to mature students again this year on the MSAC one-year programme. However, it is really exciting to extend UL’s programme of scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers and offer young people, who are attending secondary school, the opportunity to carry on their studies at university with the security of knowing they have the support for the four-years of their undergraduate programme,” said Dr Máiréad Moriarty, Chair of the University of Limerick's Sanctuary steering committee.

“Without a scholarship, many young refugees and those young people seeking asylum and living in Direct Provision would not have the means to pay international fees to attend university in Ireland. UL is providing 10 fee waivers for mature applicants and five for Leaving Cert applicants to two of its most popular programmes. The BA and BBS offer our widest range of module choices and offer work placement opportunities as part of the Cooperative education programme here providing graduates with a wide range of skills and career opportunities,” Dr Moriarty continued.

Sikhulekile Ruth Ndlovu, an asylum seeker from Zimbabwe who has been living in Ireland since 2015 and was a Sanctuary Scholar on the MSAC programme in 2017/2018 said it "allowed me to experience student life and helped me to prepare for further education if it is something I am in a position to pursue. 

"I came to Ireland three years ago and I had not attended third-level education at home in Zimbabwe," she explained.

"There were challenges such as personal issues but with determination to better myself, I managed to graduate with a Mature Student Access Certificate (MSAC) with top grades, something I am very proud of.”