Asylum Seekers


An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for asylum and is waiting for a decision from the UK government. If you have applied for asylum and received a decision, then you are technically no longer an asylum seeker.


Student Advice


Student Advice is a free, confidential and independent service available for students of Cardiff University. We are independent of the University and our role is to give you impartial advice and guidance and help you understand the options available to you.


If your circumstances are impacting your wellbeing and/or ability to study and perform at your usual level, we can


  • advise you on how to report Extenuating Circumstances to the University;
  • advise you on how to submit and Academic Appeal if you have missed the Extenuating Circumstances deadline, or you circumstances have been refused;
  • advise you on how to take an Interruption of Study and what you need to think about when deciding what to do;
  • advise you on how to submit a University Complaint if you feel you are being unfairly treated or discriminated against because of your circumstances;
  • signpost you to other support services.


Cardiff University dedicated support service for Asylum Seekers


Lena Smith is the dedicated contact for students with an asylum-seeking status who study at the University. She acts as a first point of contact for any student in this situation.

This support is primarily focused towards those students who are successful recipients of the Opportunity Award. However, she can be contacted by those students who currently have an asylum-seeking status and who are funding their studies through other means than the Opportunity Award.


These are some of things Lena can help with:

  • Assisting you with issues with the Home Office, including 'no study' conditions
  • Referral to trauma specialised counsellor.
  • Support with academic-related issues including liaising with your academic school and course tutors.
  • Sign-posting towards other University services, including support with applying for Student Finance if become eligible during your studies.
  • Signposting and referral to charities and other potential sources of funding.


You can also contact Lena if you simply just someone to talk to.


Contact Lena

  • +44 (0)29 2251 0022


Tuition fee waiver


If you are eligible for a tuition fee waiver, your tuition fees will be reduced from the “international” fee to the “home” fee charged for your course. Please be aware that your fee status will remain as an “international” student.




You must:

  • be an asylum seeker or child of an asylum seeker
  • meet the academic programme requirements
  • study on a full-time undergraduate course, excluding Medicine and Dentistry and NHS-funded courses
  • provide proof that an application for asylum in the UK has been made before you applied to UCAS.

Cardiff University currently offer a tuition fee waiver for undergraduate asylum seekers (whose cases haven't yet been decided) who apply for admission to the University.

Asylum seekers who qualify for the scheme will be eligible to pay the 'Home' rate of tuition fee while their application is under consideration by the Home Office. More information about the scheme and eligibility can be found here. 


Assessment procedure


To apply for a tuition fee waiver, you will need to complete a fee assessment questionnaire is send it to the University's Admissions Team. You will need to include evidence of the application for asylum and confirmation that the asylum claim is still undecided.


Please note that if as an asylum seeker, you meet the above criteria you will be classified as an ‘international’ student but allowed to pay the ‘home’ rate of tuition fee, as a tuition fee waiver. Other institutions and funding bodies will make their own assessment and may not operate a tuition fee waiver. As you will be classified as an ‘international student’ under the fees regulations, you may not be eligible for tuition fee or maintenance loans. We would advise that you contact the relevant funding bodies directly with your details to establish your own entitlements.


Opportunity Award


Students who are either asylum seekers or children of asylum seekers can apply to the University for an Opportunity Award. Please note that students studying Healthcare Sciences, Dentistry or Medicine are not eligible for this award.

Two awards are available. They will cover the cost of tuition and provide a non-repayable grant of £4,000 per year to support your living costs. You will also meet with, and receive support from, an adviser who can help you transition into Higher Education. More information can be found here.


Financial Assistance Programme.


Cardiff University may also be able to help you if you are experiencing financial hardship during your study at Cardiff University through the Financial Assistance Programme


Counselling and Wellbeing


Cardiff university  provides a free  counselling service, as well as guidance on other sources of support. 


Services for Asylum Seekers in Cardiff


Refuge Cardiff  provides up to date and easily accessible information on organisations, services and activities aimed at, or of benefit to, refugees and asylum seekers in Cardiff.


Seeking asylum whist studying at Cardiff University.


If during your time  studying at Cardiff University you decide to claim asylum in the UK  it is very important to get specialist advice from  an Adviser regulated by  Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Regulated Advisers can be found here.


Citizens Advice is a free advice service that  provides initial advice for people wishing to seek asylum and those who have been granted refugee status.


Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410