To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what procedures are in place to allow (a) asylum seekers under the age of 18 years and (b) asylum seekers who are 18 years old or over to obtain education and training; what guidance is given to universities; and if he will make a statement.
The children of asylum seekers have the same rights as all other children in the United Kingdom during the period of compulsory education. All 16 to 18-year-old asylum seekers are eligible for Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funding in respect of their attendance on a further education course in the same way as UK students.
Asylum seekers aged 19 or over are treated as UK students for the purpose of fees for further education where they have been legally in the UK for longer than six months pending consideration of their application for asylum or where they have failed in their claim but have been granted support under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This follows the granting of concessions to enable asylum seekers to access LSC funding in certain circumstances, for example for courses teaching English for speakers of other languages. Otherwise they are treated as international students, and may be required to cover the full cost of their course. However an FE college or provider has discretion over the level of fee that they actually charge.
Asylum seekers access higher education courses as international students and can expect to be charged the full cost of their course by the university concerned. However, universities have discretion over the level of fee that they actually charge. The Higher Education Refugees and Asylum Seekers network provides guidance on the detailed rules which apply.