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Chiara Bruzzano

School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences

Forced migrants' experiences of preparing and applying for Higher Education

PGR Placement


This project seeks to explore forced migrants’ experiences of preparing and applying for Higher Education. Forced migrants experience several issues when applying for HE, including gaining proof of English proficiency, paying international student tuition fees and living costs, and providing relevant documentation, which can lead them to abandon their attempts to study in the UK. This research will feature interviews with current and past IELTS students of a support centre for migrants and with two of the centre’s managers.

The study will have societal impact for the centre, the University of Leeds (and the Higher Education sector more generally) and, ultimately, for forced migrants. The insights offered by the study will enable the centre to adapt and improve its provision of training and counselling services for migrants based on the issues emerging as key concerns from interviews. Further, the centre will be better placed to gauge what support is needed from the University to assist migrants in their applications. The University will in turn gain an understanding of the impact of application procedures on forced migrants and potentially consider alternative measures to widen their participation in HE, hopefully taking steps towards gaining University of Sanctuary status. Good practice could also be shared with other Higher Education institutions. Finally, I intend to use the findings to improve my IELTS classes.