A NEW scholarship has been set up to offer Syrian refugees English language tuition.

The Sussex Refugee Scholarships will give 50 refugees an intensive English language course, beginning in January, to support them into higher education.

In a speech announcing the scholarship, Professor Michael Farthing, the vice-chancellor, said the university wants to "remove the language barrier to enable them to access higher education in the UK”.

The scholarships, worth up to £10,000 per student, will pay for the full cost of the course and contribute £100 a week towards living costs.

It was also announced that the scholarships would be offered to “Syrians newly arrived in the UK” between the ages of 18 and 25.

Prof Farthing said: “We want to do what we can to help young people displaced from Syria whose education has been destroyed or disrupted."

The University is working closely with the Said Foundation, which identified the language barrier as the highest priority in Discussions were also held with the university's union before the scholarships were agreed.

The courses will last five, ten, 16 or 28 weeks dependent on the level the student is at on the International English Language Testing System upon entry.

The announcement has been welcomed by students studying at Sussex.

Claudia Treacher, postgraduate creative and critical writing student from Hollingdean.

“I think it’s great Sussex is offering help to support people trying to get out of an awful situation.

“At the same time if Sussex is actively seeking out new people with new opinions and ways of framing academic discussion then it’s a win-win situation."

Abe Baldry, President of the Students' Union at the University of Sussex, said: “Students at this university care deeply about the world around them and I know that the students who join us through this new scholarship will receive a very warm welcome from our community.

“We want to play as big a part as we can in helping those affected by war and turmoil and are working very closely with university staff on a number of ideas.”