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Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for support?
CARA provides assistance to refugee academics. To be eligible for support, you must:

1. Have UK refugee status
2. Have worked as a paid Lecturer or Researcher in a University or higher education institution in your home country

If you are not eligible for CARA funding, please check the 'Resources' section of our website for details of other useful organisations.

What are CARA grants for?
Grants aim to enable refugee academics achieve employment in the UK at a level commensurate with their skills and experience in the long term.

Grants can support refugee academics to re-qualify in a range of professions in the UK such as teaching, academia, engineering, law, the charity sector and medicine.

Therefore as part of our work we also aim to provide specialist guidance on education, training and employment in the UK as well as referrals to other agencies. If you are thinking of applying to CARA for a grant, please ask us for an appointment with our guidance worker.

What can I get funding for?
We can fund qualifications or structured work placements that are clearly linked to employment. Types of funding include tuition fees, travel, registration fees, exam fees, bench fees, books, research costs, IT equipment and childcare.

What can I not get funding for?
We regret that CARA cannot usually fund maintenance costs (e.g. living costs, rent); independent research that is not part of a qualification or linked to an institution; costs that would normally be state or government funded (e.g. certain child care costs, some PGCE courses).

We also regret that due to limited funding, we are increasingly unable to be the sole funders of PhDs. If you wish to apply to CARA for PhD funding, we may ask that you examine additional sources of match funding.

When should I apply for a grant?
CARA has two grant rounds every year, in February and August. If you are eligible for a grant and have an offer of a place on a suitable course/placement we will invite you to submit an application about two months in advance of these dates (around December and June every year). Please note that as we only hold two grant allocation meetings per year, it can take up to 6 months to go through the entire process. Although we welcome enquiries all year round, we regret that we cannot provide funding at any other time.

Can CARA fund non UK refugees?
Unfortunately through our UK refugee academic grant programme we are currently not able to fund asylum seekers; other migrants groups (e.g. student visa holders, work permit holders, EU citizens) and refugees or others who are not currently in the UK.

If you are an Iraqi academic and are facing/faced persecution or risk as a result of the events in Iraq post-2003 and are either outside the UK or in the UK but without refugee status, please see the 'Hardship Grants & Fellowships: Iraq' of our website.

Does CARA only support refugees who want to become academics in the UK?
No. CARA supports refugee academics to re-qualify in a range of professions in the UK such as teaching, academia, engineering, law, the charity sector and medicine.

What is the Education, Training and Employment (ETE) guidance service?
CARA launched a new ETE guidance service in September 2008, co-funded by the European Refugee Fund. We regret that due to our funding, refugees with British citizenship and refugees that came to the UK through family reunion are not currently eligible for this service, although you may still be eligible to apply for a grant.
Travel expenses to interview sessions will be reimbursed.

Aims of the service
- To support refugees to develop a short term and long term career development strategy at least until the end of May 2009
- To support refugees to use their strategy to enter the labour market via activities including education, training, work placements, receiving mentoring or applying for employment

What the service offers 
- Holistic Information, Advice and Guidance focused on your personal situation and aspirations. This means two face to face interviews, follow up support of around nine hours, a small programme of labour market group workshops 
-  Support in developing a professional development plan 
-  Active career development advocacy and referrals by CARA on your behalf, using CARA’s Network of UK Universities, other specialist refugee supporting agencies, professional bodies and other employers and organisations 
- A sensitive, supportive and confidential service.

If I am eligible, will I definitely get funding?
Unfortunately not. CARA has limited funds and receives many more applications each year than we can fund. As we cannot guarantee that we can fund everyone, we encourage all applicants to apply to other funding organisations as well as CARA in order to avoid disappointment.

Is there a maximum grant that I can apply for?
No, there is no fixed minimum or maximum amount that can be applied for. However CARA has limited funds and therefore we encourage all applicants to apply to other funding organisations as well as CARA in order to avoid disappointment.

Can I apply for a qualification/placement that is for more than one year?
Yes. However grant payments can only be guaranteed as long as we have funds available.

How many attempts at an exam can CARA fund?
CARA will only usually fund one attempt at a professional exam (e.g. IELTS or PLAB).

Can I apply for retrospective funding, for a qualification/placement that I am currently doing or that I recently completed?
Yes. However we prefer applicants to approach us before they start their qualification or work placement. We can only accept applications for funding for qualifications/placements that have already been completed in exceptional circumstances where there is clear evidence of serious debt.

How would I select the right course or placement and how can CARA help me?
Selecting the most suitable course/placement is very important. Please see the ‘Resources’ section of our website for further information.

CARA may also be able to provide specialist guidance on education, training and employment in the UK or refer you to other relevant organisations. If you think you may benefit from our guidance service, please ask us for an appointment with our guidance worker. We regret that due to our funding, refugees with British citizenship and refugees how came to the UK through family reunion are not currently eligible for our Education, Training and Employment guidance service, although you may still be eligible to apply for a grant.

CARA may occasionally be able to help applicants who demonstrate strong potential to work in UK academia to access opportunities, such as University work placements and mentoring, through its UK Universities Network. If you are interested, please ask us for more details.

Who decides whether I get a grant?
The Allocation Committee who meet in February and August each year.

How do I apply for a CARA grant?
If you think you may be eligible for support please contact CARA to request an enquiry form in the first instance to help us determine whether you are eligible.

Please note the enquiry form is not a grant application form and we will only invite you to complete a full application form if you are eligible and have an offer of a place on a suitable course/placement.

You can contact us for an enquiry form by telephone: 0207 021 0880; email: info.cara@lsbu.ac.uk or by post: CARA, London South Bank University Technopark, 90 London Road, London SE1 6LN

What happens after I have submitted a CARA enquiry form?
A member of CARA's staff will contact you to discuss the information you have provided and may ask for further details about your academic background, what you need a CARA grant for and how a CARA grant will increase your employment prospects.
If you are eligible for support, CARA staff may be able to provide you with information and guidance on education, training and employment in the UK or refer you to other relevant agencies. Support may also be available to you through CARA's Education, Training and Employment Guidance service.

Do I have to know what qualification or placement I want to do before I contact CARA?
No. If you are eligible for support, CARA staff may be able to provide you with information and guidance on education, training and employment in the UK or refer you to other relevant agencies. If you are thinking of applying to CARA for a grant and you meet the eligibility criteria above, support may also be available to you through CARA's Education, Training and Guidance service.

Do I have to have an offer of a place at a university or institution to apply for a CARA grant?
Yes. You would not normally be able to submit a grant application unless you have a formal offer of a place at a University/institution. However we encourage eligible applicants to contact us as soon as possible, even if you do not know exactly what qualification or placement you want to do. CARA staff may be able to provide you with information and guidance on education, training and employment in the UK or refer you to other agencies for this support.

What if I don't get accepted on a course/placement?
If you are not accepted on an appropriate course/placement, you may be advised to apply to CARA's next grant round.

How does the CARA application process work?
Initial enquiry If you think you may be eligible for support please contact CARA to request an enquiry form in the first instance to help us determine whether you are eligible.

Information and guidance A member of CARA's staff will contact you to discuss the information you have provided. If you are eligible for support, CARA staff may then be able to provide you with information and guidance on education, training and employment in the UK or refer you to other relevant agencies.

Submitting an application If you have found a suitable qualification/placement and have an offer of a place you will be invited to submit an application. It is important that you complete your application as fully and accurately as possible. If you have any questions about completing the form, CARA staff are available to assist you. Grant application deadlines are usually around December and June every year.

If you have not been able to find a suitable course/placement, you may be advised to defer your application until the next application round.

Interviews After you have submitted your application, CARA will contact your referees and also invite you to attend an informal interview at CARA's office in London. Interviews will usually be between 1 to 3 weeks after the application deadline. CARA will reimburse your travel expenses to the interview.

If you have previously attended an interview however either because you previously applied for a grant or are a current or former grantee, it may not always be necessary for you to attend the interview.
It is important to note that we will not decide the outcome of your application at the interview. The interview is simply an opportunity for us to learn more about you, to clarify information in your application and for you to ask questions about the grant process. Any extra information gathered at interview will be added to your application documents and be passed on to the Allocation Committee.

Allocation Committee Meeting All information gathered from your application and interview will be collated by CARA staff and submitted to CARA's Allocation Committee. The Allocation Committee is a group of senior academics with expertise across a range of disciplines. The Allocation Committee is responsible for all decisions relating to the allocation of CARA grants.

Allocation Committee meetings take place in February and August each year, usually about 2 months after the grant application deadline.

Grant application result You will receive the outcome of your application a few days after the Allocation meeting.

How long does the application process take?
As CARA has only two grant rounds per year, it can take up to 6 months from when you make your initial enquiry until your hear about the decision of your application.

Do I have to nominate any referees with my application?
Yes. CARA asks that you nominate 3 academic or professional referees that are relevant to your academic and/or professional past. Your referees are a very important part of your application so you must provide full contact details for each referee.
Although we fully appreciate that your situation may make it difficult for you to provide referees from amongst academic or professional colleagues in your country of origin, we advise that you include one or more, if at all possible. If you have any problems regarding referees, please do not hesitate to contact CARA.

What if I haven't got any existing evidence of my qualification?
CARA understands that it is not always possible for applicants to provide evidence of their qualifications. CARA is happy to see if they can assist you.

Do I choose a full or part-time course at university?
CARA is not usually able to fund maintenance costs. If you study part-time, you are allowed to continue to claim benefits and find part-time work to fund your studies. For further information on claiming benefits whilst studying, please go to www.directgov.gov.uk.

What if my grant is unsuccessful?
CARA has a limited amount of funds available and, as a result, is not able to support all the applications it receives. If your application is not successful, CARA staff will provide you with feedback from the Allocation Committee and may be able to offer advice on other paths open to you.

Can I re-apply for a CARA grant if my application was unsuccessful?
No. If your application was unsuccessful, we usually cannot accept a re-application for the same qualification or placement.

I currently hold or previously held a CARA grant. Can I apply for more funding?
Yes. If you need funding for a new qualification or placement, you would have to submit a new grant application to CARA at one of our bi-annual Allocation Committee meetings. Your application would follow the same process as outlined above.

If your request is related to the qualification or placement that CARA is currently funding you for, please notify the member of CARA programme staff dealing with your case for advice.