The Compass Project Fund

The Compass Project Fund provides 20 asylum seekers, who are not eligible for student finance, with a sanctuary scholarship to study a university-level programme at Birkbeck, University of London.

Birkbeck is committed to supporting those who have taken a less traditional route into higher education. The Compass Project Fund is focused on helping those who face difficulty in accessing other educational opportunities due to lack of documentation to demonstrate academic ability, or for those who have been out of education for a longer period of time.

The qualification gained through receipt of the Compass Project Fund, will act as a springboard to further opportunities at Birkbeck or other education institutions. 

Successful applicants will receive:

  • full tuition fee waiver for relevant courses
  • additional financial support to cover costs such as transport, childcare and books.


Relevant courses

Eligibility criteria

  • You must meet one of the following criteria:
    • have made a claim for asylum in the UK and not yet had a decision (asylum seekers)
    • have been granted temporary status as a result of an asylum claim (this includes DLR/LLR/Humanitarian Protection)
    • currently appealing an asylum decision and can evidence making a fresh claim
    • be a spouse/civil partner of a person meeting these criteria (must have been the spouse or civil partner of the applicant on the date of asylum application)
    • be a child of a person meeting these criteria (must have been under 18 years old and the child of the applicant or their spouse/civil partner at the time of asylum application).
  • You must also meet all of the following criteria:
    • You must be resident in the UK.
    • You must be ineligible to receive student finance (find out more about eligibility requirements for student finance).
    • You will need to demonstrate a good level of English language skills (eg mock test results, personal statement, certified English exams). For clarification of what this includes, please contact us
    • You will need to provide documentation to confirm your immigration status in the UK, such as:
      • a letter from a solicitor or the Home Office confirming your current immigration status
      • an ID card (ARC) confirming your immigration status. 

How to apply

Step One: attend a taster day

  • If you are interested in applying for the Compass Project Fund, please attend a Taster Day to find out more about studying at Birkbeck and how to apply for the project.
  • All prospective students are welcome to attend the Taster Day. The workshops are designed to ensure that individuals in the refugee and asylum seeking communities are given the right guidance and support to accessing higher education.
  • The Compass Project Outreach Programme is available to all students who have sought sanctuary in the UK, irrespective of whether you are applying for the Compass Project Fund.
  • Please  to find out the date of the next Taster Day, or to let us know if you are unable to attend and a member of the team will come back to you within 3-5 working days.

Step two: Apply for your course 

  • If you applying for a course as part of the Compass Project Fund, you should apply directly to Birkbeck and not through UCAS (as is usually the case for some university courses). If you are applying for the Compass Project Fund, you will not need to meet the 15 January deadline set by UCAS.
  • Following the Compass Project Taster Day, you will be asked to complete a short form detailing the course that you would like to study and a short paragraph explaining why. 
  • You will then be given tailored advice on how to apply for the course you are interested in. 

Step three: Apply for The Compass Project Fund 

  • Once you have applied for your course, you can start your application for the Compass Project Fund. .
  • You can apply for the Compass Project Fund even if you haven't received confirmation of your place. However, please note, you will only be able to receive the Compass Project Fund if you have been accepted on to your chosen course.
  • There is support available to help you write your application. Please with your details and we will send you information about up and coming events in which we can assist you. 
  • Please read our application guidelines for more information. 


  • You will need to send your completed application for the Compass Project Fund to us by Sunday 7 July at 23.59.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about the Compass Project, or have any further questions about the fund and applying to Birkbeck, please contact us