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UK reveals Ukrainian student support package

The UK government has announced £4 million in extra hardship funding for Ukrainian students at English universities. Scotland’s devolved assembly has already announced a package of support for those at Scottish institutions.

Scotland created a new £1 million International Students’ Emergency Fund in April. Photo: pexels

The European Higher Education Area previously called on its members to offer support for Ukrainian higher education

In an open letter to Ukrainian students, Higher and Further Education minister Michelle Donelan said the new funding is on top of the “significant” wellbeing and financial hardship support English higher education providers have already offered.

“I cannot imagine ever having to balance studying against the backdrop of an unprovoked war on my country. We need to stand united with Ukraine,” the minister said in a statement.

“That is why at this difficult time, we are providing Ukrainian students in higher education with the support they need to complete their courses.”

Donelan added that the financial support for Ukrainians currently studying at English higher education providers will help them to continue their studies and “reduce the impact of any adverse financial implications of the conflict on [their] ability to learn”.

Scotland’s government announced on April 14 that displaced Ukrainian students settling in the country would be given access to free tuition and living cost support, subject to parliamentary approval.

Existing students experiencing hardship would be eligible to apply for immediate financial assistance through a newly created £1 million International Students’ Emergency Fund.

“By extending home fee status and living cost support to students arriving from Ukraine we hope to provide some stability and assurance at this deeply troubling time and ensure those forced to flee their homes can live safely and comfortably in Scotland for as long as they need to,” Scottish minister for Higher Education and Further Education Jamie Hepburn said at the time.

Those studying in England and are on the Home Office’s three schemes for Ukrainians will also have access to home fee status, tuition fee caps, Advanced learner loans or other learning support, Donelan added.

Steve West CBE, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of UWE Bristol, said UUK was pleased to welcome the announcement.

“From the beginning of this crisis our members have been determined to find new ways to help their Ukrainian colleagues and friends. This funding offers practical, financial support for Ukrainian students affected by the conflict who are already studying here, as well as those feeling violence and terror. Our message to those individuals is simple: you are welcome here,” he said.

“The UK’s higher education sector can and must play a pivotal role [in this crisis]”

“The UK’s higher education sector can and must play a pivotal role in ensuring that Ukraine’s citizens, educational institutions and cultural capital can not only survive this crisis but emerge stronger.”

The European Higher Education Area and members of the Bologna process – of which Ukraine has been a member since 2005 – previously called on its members to offer support for Ukrainian higher education.

Suggested measures to support the country include financial support for institutions, intensified cooperation and enabling students to continue their studies – including foreign students – if having to flee Ukraine. Contact and cooperation with any central government agency of Russia should be ceased, but members are urged to recognise those in Russian civil society who are engaging in protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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