The university’s laconic response, “Tough. Jog on.” has received widespread support from students and alumni, and from other universities with similar programs such as the University of York, and refugee education support providers such as IIE PEER.
The institution has also pointed out that it has a provision of scholarships and bursaries to support UK/non-refugee students.
The tweet quickly went viral and received extensive coverage, including some criticism for the language used in the tweet.
The University confirmed it is “proud and unapologetic” of its decision to offer scholarships to refugee students, and defined the program as another practical step to welcome and integrate all people into the community.
“Universities are places for people from all over the world and from all walks of life. We welcome to Reading those fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries and we value the contribution those seeking sanctuary can make to the University and the town in general,” pro-vice-chancellor Robert Van de Noort said in a statement.
“We are proud and unapologetic to offer these scholarships, joining with institutions around the country offering support for refugees to access education, which is a welcome addition to our existing range of scholarships available for a variety of students.”
The scheme was developed in partnership with Reading Refugee Support Group and Reading University Studens’ Union.
It will provide up to five scholarship for pre-sessional English programs, up to two partial scholarships and one full scholarship at each level – foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate.
The institution and its students’ union are part of the Student Action for Refugees, a charity welcoming refugee students to the UK.
The university is also involved in a number of initiatives to support refugee students and academics internationally.
It supports the work of the Council for At-Risk Academics and its International Study and Language Institute has helped to develop and deliver an English for Academic Purposes program for scholars who have been escaped to safety in Turkey.