What is the vision of CRSC?
The Cambridge Refugee Scholarship Campaign believes that the scholarships would provide the much-needed opportunities and open new doors to those whose education have been interrupted by political and/or humanitarian reasons. We hope that these scholarships would empower the future leaders of many conflict-ridden nations and help build the foundation for lasting peace and justice around the world.
Official Statement: Changes to our Scholarship Funding Model (Updated on 14/02/2018)
Dear students and staff of the University of Cambridge,
The Cambridge Refugee Scholarship Campaign (CRSC) was launched in October 2017 in response to the devastating impact that the ongoing refugee crisis has had on the education of refugee students. CRSC hoped to implement a system of scholarships for refugees to study at the University of Cambridge that is funded by opt-out donations on student college bills. Our rationale for choosing this model was that the same donation scheme was pursued at the University of Oxford by the Oxford Students Refugee Scholarship Campaign (OxSRC), which has successfully funded seven refugee scholars to date. As a new campaign, CRSC recognised the need to learn from successful campaigns, especially one that succeeded in a university that shares strong structural similarities with Cambridge. We also believe the opt-out donation scheme would enable the entire student community at Cambridge to respond to the ongoing refugee crisis, and demonstrate that the students at Cambridge stand in solidarity with individuals whose education has been interrupted by reasons well beyond their control. During this time, we managed to pass motions at the J/MCRs of four colleges (Newnham, Peterhouse, King’s and Emmanuel) to support this scheme and worked closely with several others (including Gonville & Caius, Trinity and Sidney Sussex) to pass the motion in Lent 2018.
However, during the course of our campaign we were notified by college staff on uncertainties surrounding the legality of opt-out donations. This surprised us because the opt-out donation had numerous precedents in Oxford and Cambridge. As a result, we contacted a number of individuals with the relevant legal expertise for guidance on the matter. The consensus was that the strength of the legal grounds for an opt-out donation scheme is uncertain. After further discussions, we have arrived at the conclusion that we will need to adopt a different funding model because the legal uncertainties surrounding the opt-out donation could potentially compromise the sustainability of refugee scholarships. We have henceforth decided to lobby the university directly to provide scholarships for refugees, a model that has been implemented by many other universities across the UK.
We are calling on the university to commit to providing at least 10 scholarships every year that cover course and maintenance fees for refugees and individuals who have been granted international protection by the state in which they reside lawfully. “International protection” in this context means recognition as a refugee or a grant of complementary protection. Our intent is to pass motions in the JCR and MCR of every college to endorse this new model, to demonstrate that there is strong support among students and staff in making the university a more inclusive institution for refugee students.
There are 59 universities across the UK that now are offering scholarships, fee waivers and bursaries to refugees and/or asylum seekers. We are confident that Cambridge can be part of this growing movement that is providing the much-needed opportunities and opening new doors to those whose education have been interrupted by political and/or humanitarian reasons. We sincerely believe that these scholarships can empower the future leaders of many conflict-ridden nations and help build the foundation for lasting peace and justice around the world.
The Cambridge Refugee Scholarship Campaign