Group of students sitting at two small tables in a university foyer
Expressions of interest are invited from UK Higher Education Providers (HEPs) to participate in the Warm Welcome Scholarship scheme. ©

Mat Wright

UK higher education providers are invited to express their interest in participating in the Warm Welcome Scholarship Scheme: a new scheme to support eligible individuals in the UK with links to Afghanistan to access higher education. 

The Department for Education (DfE) is working in partnership with the British Council as the UK-wide delivery partner for the scheme. 

An outline of the Warm Welcome Scholarship Scheme is provided on this webpage. Further information for higher education providers (HEPs) will be released over the coming weeks.

Expressions of Interest are invited from HEPs to participate in the Warm Welcome Scholarship Scheme. Although the initial deadline of 11 May has passed, HEPs are still welcome to express interest. Please read all the information below before completing the EOI form

 

Warm Welcome Scholarship Scheme background and context

The UK Government announced ‘Operation Warm Welcome’ on 1 September 2021 to support those who have been relocated to the UK via Operation Pitting to access the vital health, education, and support into employment they need to fully integrate into society.   

As part of this support package, a Department for Education-funded Warm Welcome Scholarship Scheme has been established to support those affected to access undergraduate and postgraduate university scholarships in the UK.  

The Warm Welcome Scheme aims to meet the needs of different groups with links to Afghanistan in the UK, to help them to rebuild their lives, find work, pursue education, and integrate with their local communities through scholarships providing access to higher education. 

The scheme will target eligible individuals for whom an undergraduate or postgraduate degree will help rebuild their lives and use their skills to fully contribute to life in the UK or where desired, to support an eventual return to Afghanistan.  

Summary of the scheme offer 

The Warm Welcome Scholarship Scheme will run for a single cohort and will provide funding to scholars for the duration of their courses (for a maximum of three years, or four years for undergraduates in Scotland). 

Full Degree scholarships will be awarded according to the previous academic merit and/or professional skills of applicants.   

Additionally, the scheme will support students with links to Afghanistan already studying in the UK, but who are facing financial difficulties due to the situation in Afghanistan. This funding will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. 

The scheme is co-funded with the sector, whereby participating universities must agree to waive tuition fees and DfE provides the funding for a maintenance stipend to scholars for the duration of their course.  

Scheme details 

Warm Welcome Scholarships will support eligible scholars to undertake full-time in-person study at UK HEPs at the following three levels of study: 

  • Undergraduate: for a maximum of three years, or four years in Scotland 
  • Taught master's: for a maximum of one year 
  • PhD: for a maximum of three years 

There are two separate programmes in the scheme:

i. In-Year Scholarships 

A maximum of 100 scholarships will be awarded to eligible scholars who are currently studying in the UK. The scholarships will provide some funding for the current academic year and will continue until the course of study has been completed. 

The In-Year Scholarship awards will be split across the three levels of study.

ii. Full Degree Scholarships 

Around 200 scholarships will be awarded to eligible scholars who will begin their studies in September/October 2022. The awards will fund scholars until the end of their course (within the maximum durations provided above). 

A total cap on all scholarship awards has been set at 300, which will be allocated to ensure a fair balance across all educational levels.  

A scholar who is in receipt of an In-Year scholarship will not be eligible for funding from a Full Degree Scholarship. 

Scholar eligibility 

Eligible scholars for the programme are those eligible for a UK university place and who fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Afghanistan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) resettlement route
  2. Afghanistan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) resettlement route
  3. Those with links to Afghanistan who are already registered at a UK university and are experiencing financial hardship due to the situation in Afghanistan
  4. Afghan British Nationals (ABNs), described for these purposes as those that were evacuated during Operation Pitting and who entered bridging accommodation or who presented as homeless to a council, but hold British citizenship or some other status that permits them to remain and reside in the UK without the need to be granted leave to remain.   

Prioritised programmes of study 

Scholars will be able to choose any programme of study. However, for the Full Degree Scholarship programme, applications will be prioritised (but not limited) to the following list of subjects, which are associated with good outcomes for students in terms of employability and earnings potential, and/or target skills shortages in the UK. 

  • Agriculture, food and related studies 
  • General, applied and forensic sciences
  • Health and social care
  • Education and teaching
  • Biosciences
  • Materials and technology
  • Mathematical sciences
  • Computing 
  • Engineering 
  • Chemistry 
  • Pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy 
  • Physics and astronomy 
  • Medical sciences
  • Allied health
  • Nursing and midwifery 

Requirements for participating HEPs 

Financial 

The financial contribution required from HEPs is as follows:

In-Year Scholarships 

  • HEPs must be prepared to continue to support eligible scholars through to the end of their course of study without applying any conditions on their ability to pay tuition costs. 
  • HEPs may choose how many scholars they wish to sponsor at the point of their allocation for an award. Awards will be recommended on the basis of the order of receiving completed applications. HEPs may not prioritise awards on the basis of overall course duration. 

Full Degree Scholarships 

  • HEPs must be prepared to waive tuition and other course costs for scholars for the duration of their studies. 
  • HEPs may offer scholarship awards in just one of the three levels of study, in any two levels, or in all three levels.  

There is no minimum number of awards fixed at the current time, but HEPs are asked to consider waiving at least six years of study (or at least three years in the case of small specialist HEPs).

The following cohorts are suggested as examples, but not limited to: 

  • At least two PhD places 
  • At least three taught master's places plus at least one of either a PhD or an undergraduate place 
  • At least two undergraduate places 

When finalising their offers for the scheme, HEPs may suggest alternative mixes. However, we are keen to ensure that within the offer from each HEP, the available awards are not all concentrated on funding for one-year taught master's, in order that the scheme achieves its objectives to provide opportunities at all levels of study. 

Non-financial contributions from HEPs 

Other areas of support that are required from HEPs are as follows: 

  • Support and guidance to eligible scholars in their choice and selection of appropriate courses from amongst the available options at each HEP
  • Check and confirm financial eligibility of In-Year scholars
  • Confirm immigration status for Full Degree Scholarship applications 
  • Evaluation of applications received from eligible scholars, making offers and short-listing of preferred applicants as 'sponsored' applicants prior to their evaluation
  • Review of provisional allocations of scholarships prior to final confirmation
  • Designation of one member of staff who will be the contact point with the programme administration team
  • Management of scholar stipend payments at quarterly intervals (see below) and reporting on scholar progress 
  • Being the main point of contact for their sponsored applicants and eventual allocated scholars to inform of their success in applying
  • Appropriate well-being support for scholars throughout their studies.

Scholarship payments 

HEPs will:

  • Be responsible for administering stipend payments to scholars. Scholars will be paid quarterly in advance
  • Receive the funds for their scholar stipends in advance from the British Council
  • Be responsible for informing the British Council of any scholars who leave their course of study prematurely. They will amend their requests for future funding accordingly and will be expected to make all reasonable efforts to recover any overpaid funds if scholars abandon their studies prematurely. 

Timelines 

Planned key scheme milestones

Promotion and confirmation of participation 
25 April - 6 May 2022 HEPs support with communication of the scheme to current scholars eligible for In-Year scholarships.
HEPs confirm their participation for the Full Degree scholarship programme, including numbers of scholarship places that they can support. 
In-Year Scholarships 
9 - 20 May 2022  Application period for In-Year Scholarship
23 May - 3 June 2022  In-year scholarships confirmed with HEPs. HEPs sign agreements to confirm funding and receive payment of In-Year scholar stipends. 
By 25 June 2022 In-Year scholars receive first stipend payment from HEP (backdated to application date) 
Full Degree Scholarships 
From 9 May – 11 June 2022  Eligible applicants apply to HEPs 
13 - 25 June 2022 HEPs confirm offers to scholars and select to 'sponsor' those that they would be happy to see awarded a scholarship
27 June – 8 July 2022 'Sponsored' scholars submit application to British Council 
25 July - 13 August 2022 Full Degree scholarships allocated and confirmed with HEPs 
15 - 31 August 2022 HEPs sign agreements to confirm funding for scholars and receive stipend payments for first period
From 5 September 2022 Full Degree scholars receive first stipend payment from HEPs

Next steps 

Thank you to everyone who joined us for a Warm Welcome Scholarships webinar for HEPs on 29 April.

Recordings of the webinars are available to view:

29 April, 10.00

29 April, 14.00 

You can also download and view the HEP webinar slides.

Read our FAQs for higher education providers.

Please register to receive email updates for HEP providers

You can view previous editions of the email newsletter below:

HEP update 3 May 2022

HEP update 10 May 2022

HEP update 17 May 2022

HEP update 24 May 2022 (this newsletter was the final newsletter to be sent - we will now communicate directly with HEPs participating in the programme).

Expressions of Interest - HEPs

To aid programme planning, we asked for Expressions of Interest from HEPs by 11 May including indicative numbers of scholarships that they can support. Although the initial deadline has passed, HEPs are still welcome to express interest. This information should only be submitted by one designated contact at each institution. HEPs will be asked for indications of the number of scholarship places that they can offer.

The EOI form will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Contact 

HEPs may send enquiries to

Scholarships_HEPs@britishcouncil.org