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Religion as a barrier to the use of student loans for higher education: A community‐based participatory study with Somalis living in England

Avdukic, Alija; Khaleel, Fawad; Abdullah, Ahmed; Brawe, Abdulbasit H.


Alija Avdukic

Ahmed Abdullah

Abdulbasit H. Brawe


The unwillingness of the Somali community to finance higher education has largely gone unnoticed within the academic literature and government policy documents. This study explores the role of religion and the influence of Shari'ah scholars on the use of interest-bearing student loans within the Somali community. In the absence of any theoretical framework on this topic, we explore the multiple socioeconomic factors that may influence the attitude, perception of need, motivation and action of using student loans for higher education, by proposing the UK Somali Muslims Acceptance of Interest-bearing Student Loan Model. This is also a community-based participatory study that actively involved Somali community members in exploring and interpreting the results. This was achieved through regular consultations with the sampled Somali Muslim communities within the UK. Our results contribute to the broader debate on the effect of cultural, religious and social values of marginalised communities on inclusion and widening access policies for higher education. The findings reemphasise that people sharing the same location do not necessarily share the same level of opportunities for higher education because of the intersectionality of race, religion, gender and class. The results also show the complexity of the issue of exclusion and the atheoretical nature of student loans as a financial instrument for improving financial inclusion and widening access to higher education among Somali residents in England.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 24, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 20, 2022
Publication Date 2023-04
Deposit Date Dec 21, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 4, 2023
Journal British Educational Research Journal
Print ISSN 0141-1926
Electronic ISSN 1469-3518
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 2
Pages 370-404
Keywords ethical religious values, Somali Muslim community, student loans, widening participation
Public URL


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