Keele University’s first Article 26 student graduates

Student Cynthia Ariana who received a full scholarship under the Article 26 asylum seeker project graduated from Keele University last week.

Article 26 supports asylum seekers and forced migrants who wish to attend higher education in the UK but are unable to access funding via traditional routes.

Cynthia, 22, originally from Kenya, applied to study Psychology with Sociology at Keele University in 2014 through Article 26 and was awarded a full three-year scholarship.

Cynthia said: “My time at Keele was amazing, despite everything that was going on at home the support I received at Keele helped me to focus on my education. I made great memories, and met some of my best friends.

“I was also introduced to many people in my situation which made me realise I was not the only one affected. I also received further support from Keele University’s Student Services team with my visa renewal and with a hardship fund award after facing a setback.”

Cynthia now lives in Essex and is working as part of an Adult Health Team within a local council, and plans on going back to university to undertake a postgraduate degree in developmental or educational psychology.

Speaking about her experience with Article 26, she said: “For me the process was very straightforward. I contacted Keele University to find out if there were any available places, and later went for my interview. Everyone was very friendly and understanding - for once I felt like someone wanted to help me. The interview was a way for the panel to understand my situation and the barriers I have faced accessing education and what I did to overcome them.

“For anyone thinking of applying I would advise them to go for it. It is an amazing and life-changing opportunity that has been set up by a very supportive team, that believe in your ability and they understand how hard it can be when facing a difficult situation.

“Everyone at Keele was very supportive in encouraging me to succeed in my education. If I had any immigration problems there was an advisor there to make the process easier too.”

For more information about Keele University’s work with the Article 26 project please visit here.