Admissions Roulette Leaves Russian Reeling

Desipte being predicted top marks in his IB exams, a Russian asylum seeker has been refused funding for Cambridge Uni next year.

A Russian asylum seeker has been refused funding for entry into Cambridge Uni next year, despite being predicted top marks in his exams.

Angel Versetti, 18, has been offered a place to study Land Ec at Selwyn, after being predicted a score of 45 points in the International Baccaulaureate. This is the highest possible mark, which very few students manage to achieve.

Versetti fled Russia three years ago, after facing discrimination due to his Chechen appearance. But in spite of being so disadvantaged, the University announced that he did not qualify for a student loan because he does not have ‘refugee status’.

He then applied for a Santander funded scholarship, which he hoped would pay part of the £20,000 it would cost him to go through university as an oversees student.

But Cambridge have blocked his efforts again, telling him: “You have to decide what you are and what status you have. You are presenting yourself as an overseas student but you are not an overseas student.

“You are not a home student and therefore you have to pay overseas students’ fees but you are not eligible for this scholarship because it’s only for overseas students. We don’t know who you are.”

Versetti’s future is unclear

Versetti, who is already in financial difficulty, is extremely disappointed. He told The Independent: “With no status, no employment and no education, I will be just another ghost-person in this country with no future.”

A spokesman for the Refugee Council said of the case: “The absurdity of treating asylum-seeking students as if they are overseas students caused this… it is a wrong-headed policy.”

Nick Downer, Selwyn’s bursar said: “Until the case is resolved he must be treated as an overseas fee student.

“If he makes his offer, we advised him that our view is that he should consider deferring to 2012. Although this moves him to the new fee regime, he would most probably not lose out.

“If his appeal fails, then he remains [with] overseas fee status and has more time to investigate funding possibilities with the Cambridge trusts and other bodies.”

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