A Glasgow charity is celebrating a successful campaign to support the higher education of migrants and the children of asylum seekers.

Maryhill Integration Network (MIN) has been leading the fight to extend the eligibility for free university education to more students.

Our Grades Not Visas is their recent campaign, which induced a change in law.

Last week, the Scottish Government announced that it amended its eligibility criteria for student fee support.

It now includes pupils who have been residents of Scotland for three years with leave to remain.

Glasgow Times: Pinar Aksu, right, with Maryhill Integration Network volunteersPinar Aksu, right, with Maryhill Integration Network volunteers (Image: Gordon Terris, Newsquest)

Pinar Aksu, advocacy coordinator at MIN, said: “We are so happy this is happening because it is going to affect a lot of young people, especially children of asylum seekers who would not have the right to access university, basically, because they would be expected to pay international fees.

“It’s important because anyone should have the right to education. We have people who are already in the asylum system, which is created to oppress people and create a hostile environment, where they don’t have the right to work for example, how can we expect young people to have the money to go to university and pay those fees?

“It’s just not possible.

“This is important because it helps a young person to build their future and access education."

Glasgow Times: Pinar Aksu, advocacy coordinatorPinar Aksu, advocacy coordinator (Image: Gordon Terris, Newsquest)

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Prior to the change, students were expected to pay up to £25,000 of international fees, despite having lived in Scotland for years and getting their secondary school degrees here.

Volunteers at the advocacy group are thrilled with the change, which, they say, will secure the future of pupils.

The campaign was launched last year in partnership with legal charity JustRight Scotland and was shortlisted for this year’s Scottish Charity Awards.

Staff member Pinar Aksu is also in the running for Campaigner of the Year at the Sheila McKechnie Foundation Awards, for her inspiring work.

Glasgow Times:

Jen Ang, director of Policy and Development at JustRight Scotland said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Community Action category, which recognises the impact of Our Grades Not Visas campaign on young people across our communities in Scotland.

“We also welcome the recent changes introduced by the Scottish Government following from our successful legal challenge against them last year – Jasim v Scottish Ministers and the feedback received on their public consultation on access to financial support in Further and Higher Education.

“We believe that these changes represent a step forward towards a fairer and more inclusive society in Scotland.

"As an organisation which aims to defend and extend people’s rights, we will continue to advocate for asylum seekers who are currently residing in Scotland but have an asylum claim pending and still can’t access this right.”

Maryhill Integration Network supports migrants, asylum seekers and refugees by creating a safe space, hosting groups and activities.

They prioritise well-being, arts and culture, safety while working towards a fairer society.