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Underrepresented groups and specific communities

Our diverse student population means our students may have varying or specific needs. The guidance below can help you to support them in navigating their particular situation. It's important to acknowledge that students may belong to one or multiple groups, so be aware of this in your conversations with students. 

Refugee/asylum seeker students

Definitions

  • An asylum seeker is a person who has left their home country to seek refuge and whose claim to stay in the UK has not yet been assessed by the Home Office.
  • A refugee is a person who has fled their country, and is seeking protection because of a fear of being persecuted due to their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.
  • Meaningful participation in higher education can be a key step towards re-establishing the sense of security and stability that was lost when fleeing.

Financial Assistance

  • The University offers five Article 26 Sanctuary Seeker Scholarships each year, which provide students with full tuition costs, a living cost bursary and free accommodation.
  • As asylum seekers don’t qualify for Student Finance, the University offers a tuition fee concession to asylum seekers which means that they pay home fees even though they are classed as international students
  • For further information, please see the following factsheet.

Mental health, wellbeing and support

Asylum seekers and refugees have often experienced significant psychological trauma due to conflict, war, or persecution which forced them to leave their home country in the first place. Furthermore, their mental health and wellbeing might be affected by fear of being deported as well as concern about loved ones left behind in an unsafe country. The following services are able to offer support:

A student facing page can be found here

BAME students

The University of Manchester is committed to creating an environment where diversity is celebrated and everyone is treated fairly and provided with equal opportunities, regardless of their ethnic origin. We recognise that the term BAME can be problematic in terms of putting different groups into the same category, which can obscure the particular challenges faced by the groups that make up BAME. However we hope this section provides an insight into the difficulties that these students may face and the opportunities available.

Widening Participation  

  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students are still 13% less likely to gain a 1st or a 2.1 degree classification than their White counterparts.
  • The attainment gap varies across ethnic groups with Black students having the largest attainment gap and being 28% less likely to get a good degree classification than White students.
  • Reasons underlying the BAME attainment gap include a weak sense of belonging due to, for example, cultural exclusion from Students’ Union societies as well as a lack of cultural understanding in some staff and BAME role models at the University.
  • The University’s is trying to reduce the attainment gap through a widening participation strategy.
  • On this website, you can navigate the data produced by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team to see how our University compares to other universities.

Opportunities

Support

  • If students experience hate crime, micro-aggressions or other forms of harassment or discrimination, they should contact the University’s Advice and Response team through Report and Support to report it anonymously or get support from an advisor.
  • Students may wish to contact Counselling and Mental Health Service for emotional support.
  • For guidance on supporting BAME students during the COVID-19 crisis, please see this guide.

Care experienced students/care leavers

Definitions

  • care leaver is a young person (16-17) who was in local authority care (including but not limited to public care, foster care, semi-independent living or residential care homes) when coming to university and has been in care for a period of 13 weeks or more spanning their 16th birthday.
  • Care experienced refers to anyone who has been in care at any stage of their life, no matter how short a period.

Difficulties

  • When coming to university, students from a care background are likely to face particular challenges, such as coping with little or no family support, struggling financially or having difficulties finding flexible year-round accommodation. Christmas and the summer holidays can be particularly difficult times and it's important to be aware of this during student communications. 

Support at university

  • The University of Manchester is committed to widening participation and aims to support care experienced students/care leavers throughout their studies.
  • When applying to the University, care experienced students are given a named support contact who can provide one-to-one support and advice. For pre-entry care experienced students, the named contact is Emma Lewis-Kalubowila (ELK@manchester.ac.uk)
  • For support when students arrive, including financial and pastoral, the named contacts are Hannah Armstrong and Ailsa Skelly from the Student Wellbeing Team (studentsupport@manchester.ac.uk).
  • The student facing support page for care experienced students can be viewed here.

Living at home/commuter students

Definitions

  • Although living at home and commuting often co-occur, one does not necessarily imply the other: students may live at home and not have to commute, or live independently but have to commute to university.
  • Reasons why students may choose to live at home and/or commute to university include: personal preference, receiving support from family, saving money, cultural expectations, and parental or caring responsibilities.
  • Each year, commuter students make up 14-18% of the student body, and are valued members of our community. 

Difficulties

  • Living at home/commuter students are more likely to be first-in-family students, come from low-income households or have an ethnic minority background.
  • Commuting poses particular challenges such as having less time due to a long journey and family commitments, which can result in low student engagement and social isolation.

Support at university

  • The Students' Union has developed a programme of support for students who live at home/commute including lots of information about transport options. For further information visit their website 
  • The Student Support website also has some helpful information for commuter students. 

 

Disabled students

The University has particular legal responsibilities around disability. These means that if a student discloses a disability to you, or if you become aware that they might have a disability, you must offer them a referral to the Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS).

Students who have declared a disability will be given a support plan, and each school has a disability coordinator who is the main link between the student and DASS.

DASS and Occupational Health share a referral form and procedure which should always be used when referring students.

DASS provide guidance for staff supporting disabled students and have also produced the below documents regarding mitigating circumstances and automatic extensions:

Estranged students

Definitions

  • Estranged students are young people studying without the support of a family network, usually due to a long-term breakdown in the relationship with their parents or guardians.
  • At the University we support estranged students who are under the age of 25 and have had no communicative relationship with their parents/guardians for at least 6 months, with the situation unlikely to change.

Difficulties

  • Reasons behind estrangement commonly include abuse, in particular emotional abuse, honour based violence, forced marriage or family rejection of LGBTQ+ children.
  • When coming to university, estranged students are likely to face particular challenges, such as coping with no family support, struggling financially or having difficulties finding flexible year-round accommodation. 
  • Christmas and the summer holidays can be particularly difficult times, both financially and emotionally.
  • For more information, the Stand Alone website has a bank of information.

Support at university

  • The University of Manchester is committed to widening participation and aims to support estranged students throughout their studies.
  • When applying to the University, estranged are given a named support contact who can provide one-to-one support and advice. For pre-entry estranged students, the named contact is Emma Lewis-Kalubowila (ELK@manchester.ac.uk)
  • For support when students arrive, including financial and pastoral, the named contacts are Hannah Armstrong and Ailsa Skelly from the Student Wellbeing Team (studentsupport@manchester.ac.uk).
  • The student facing support page for estranged students can be viewed here.

Referring an estranged student

  • Currently, the University relies on the SLC assessment of estrangement to identify these students. UCAS are in the process of adding a ‘tick box’ so that universities are better able to identify estranged students before they come to university.
  • If a student chooses to disclose that they are estranged to you, it is key to signpost them to the named contacts (see above) available to them, as not all estranged students can be identified via SLC. It is important to gain the student's consent before doing this.

First in family students

Definitions

  • First generation students are those whose parents have not gone to university.
  • This includes those whose foster parents, care workers, siblings, biological parents (if adopted), or a parent with whom they’ve had no contact during their secondary/post-16 education have had no experience of Higher Education.

Difficulties

  • The transition to Higher Education may be more difficult for this group of students as they may have a lesser knowledge of what to expect.
  • These students may be from a lower income background so may experience financial difficulties.

Support

  • 93% club – a social enterprise for students from state schools dedicated to improving social mobility.
  • The Living Cost Support Fund – a hardship fund that students who are experiencing financial difficulty can access.
  • Peer support - offers students the opportunity to gain support, advice and help with their studies from other students.
  • My Learning Essentials - helps student build the academic skills they need to succeed at university. 
  • The Careers Service - helps students with interview techniques, CV's and graduate opportunites. 

International students

International students may sometimes face specific challenges related to their immigration and visa status. While we can all signpost students to information related to visas, only a small number of staff at the University are qualified to offer advice and guidance.

The immigration and visa page on the student support website has comprehensive, up-to-date visa information for international students, and contact information for more complex queries.

Many international students benefit from joining the Internatonal Society which is is a charity that promotes international friendship, celebrates cultural diversity and provides support for all students and staff at the University of Manchester with links to the local community. The society is open to all and organises activities including trips, language classes, cultural and social events, where students can meet others. 

LGBTQ students

LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer (or sometimes questioning), and others. The "plus" represents other sexual identities including pansexual and Two-Spirit. The acronym is used to represent a diverse range of sexualities and gender-identities, referring to anyone who is transgender and/or same/similar gender attracted.

The University of Manchester is committed to creating an environment where diversity is celebrated and everyone is treated fairly and provided with equal opportunities, regardless of their sexual orientation or transgender status.

Difficulties  

  • Starting university can be a difficult time for some LGBTQ+ students, especially if there are concerns around being accepted or coming out.
  • Some trans students may experience practical difficulties when transitioning. If a student is wishing to seek advice on changing their name or gender marker on student systems, they can email lgbt@manchester.ac.uk. Students who are in financial hardship and struggling with the costs associated with transitioning can apply to the Living Cost Support Fund.

Support

  • If students experience hate crime, micro-aggressions or other forms of harassment or discrimination, they can contact the University’s Advice and Response team through Report and Support to report it anonymously or get support from an advisor.
  • Students may wish to contact Counselling and Mental Health Service for emotional support.
  • The Students' Union's LGBTQ+ society aims to support all LGBTQ+ students at the university.
  • Further additional support for LGBTQ+ students can be found here.

Parent and carer students

You may need to support students who become pregnant while they are studying and ask to interrupt their studies, or who are already parents or carers and face challenges combining these responsibilities with their studies. 

The University has a policy relating to pregnancy, and there are lots of resources online that might be helpful for your student. As a first step, if your student is not already registered with a GP, they can find their nearest surgery on the NHS website.

There are additional resources for students with caring responsibilites on the Student Support Website, as well as a financial factsheet. It might be helpful to think about scheduling appointments or events  to be inclusive of those with caring responsibilities.

PGR students

The University recognises that while postgraduate researchers (PGRs) are not immune from the many issues that can affect all students, PGRs are unique in their experience of university and life more generally. Completing a research programme is different to any kind of study or any previous employment, and it brings unique challenges as well as opportunities.

PGR Life signposts to support and resources that takes into account the distinct experience postgraduate researchers have - whether its support on issues that could affect any student, or on something particular to the degree programme.

Sports scholars

Studying for a demanding degree at our University in addition to training 20+ hours per week is challenging. The University supports student (dual career) athletes by offering elite sports scholarships centred on enabling sport scholars to achieve their potential in both their academic studies and sport.

There is a wide range of support in place to helping dual career athletes juggle balancing these commitments or, when possible, accommodate exam timetables so that they do not clash with competition schedules.

For information on support available or to verify the status of a dual career athlete if you receive a mitigating circumstance query please contact Jonathan Kantor (UoM Sport) email: jonathan.kantor@manchester.ac.uk; telephone: 0161 2754961.

For further insight into the commitment involved for student athletes and the support the University has provided, please refer to the following stories:   Rosie BancroftTadgh and Cian Hickey; Amy Carter; Naomi Ogbeta; Peter Speight.

(jonathan.kantor@manchester.ac.uk)

 

 

Something missing?

This page is a work in progress so if there is an underrepresented group or specific student community not mentioned here please let us know. Additionally, if you’re aware of resources we can share, please email studentsupport@manchester.ac.uk so we can continue to grow the list of resources to support our students.