Sanctuary scholarships for asylum seekers launched with major sum donated by prominent business figure

  • Up to four scholarships are being offered to students who have sought refuge in the UK
  • The donor, Matthew Crummack, is CEO of Domestic & General, former CEO of GoCompare and and an alumnus of Aston University
  • The Scholarships are named after the donor’s grandfather, Ernest Edward, who left school at 12 to work in a coal mine

Aston University is launching a new sanctuary scholarship scheme for students who have sought refuge in the UK.

Up to four sanctuary scholarships are on offer, due to a generous donation by prominent businessperson Matthew Crummack, currently chief executive of Domestic & General. They will be known as The Ernest Edward Scholarships in memory of the donor’s grandfather, Ernest Edward Crummack, who left school aged 12 to work in a coal mine.

Matthew graduated with a BSc in International Business and French at Aston University in 1993. His career to date has taken him into well-known companies such as GoCompare,, Expedia, Nestlé and Procter & Gamble. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Aston University in 2016, in recognition of his professional achievements and service to the University.

Ernest Edward Scholars will receive a full tuition fee waiver and up to £25,000 throughout their course to help with living costs. Language assistance will also be offered if required, as well as support from Aston University Students’ Union and professional mentoring support.

To be eligible for an Ernest Edward Scholarship, applicants must be an asylum seeker, the partner or dependant of an asylum seeker or an asylum seeker/refugee/partner/dependant who has been granted Discretionary Leave to Remain (DLR) or some other form of temporary status.

Applicants need to apply for an eligible Aston University course - any three-year undergraduate or one-year postgraduate programme - before applying for a scholarship. Applications will close on 12 June for the 2022 round.

Speaking about his motivation for funding the scholarships, Matthew said:

“My grandfather, whom I sadly never met, had little choice but to leave school at 12 to work in a coal mine.

“100 years on, so many young people and especially young refugees, still find themselves challenged to grow and fulfil their potential. I hope that these scholarships will create that opportunity and pave the way for some of tomorrow’s leaders.

“I strongly value my Aston University education and believe that business and individuals can take a leadership role in giving back to those facing challenge.”

Saskia Loer Hansen, Interim Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, said:

“Young people seeking asylum in the UK are likely to have experienced trauma and will have lost much which cannot be replaced. The Ernest Edward Scholarship can contribute to a brighter future, made possible by education. It offers hope and an opportunity for respite.

“On behalf of Aston University, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Matthew for his generous and compassionate support in helping to make Aston University a safe haven. It is an act of kindness which will have a profound effect on those young lives.”

More information about The Ernest Edward Scholarships is available here.