Refugees can face many barriers to accessing higher education, including a lack of information, advice and individual guidance sensitive to their specific needs, inadequate provision of intensive language courses for academic purposes, and restricted access to government student finance schemes. This section provides examples of current projects and initiatives that respond to these and other kinds of barriers by offering support to widen and facilitate refugee access to higher education in the following four areas:
ADVICE, GUIDANCE & INFORMATION
- Refugee Assessment and Guidance Unit (RAGU), part of the Department of Applied Social Sciences at the London Metropolitan University, supports refugees with high level education or professional qualifications into employment and education http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/ragu/ragu-home-page.cfm
- The Foundation for Refugee Students UAF provides advice, support and financial assistance to refugees and asylum seekers wishing to study in the Netherlands. Since 2009, the UAF has been running a project specifically for higher educated refugees resettled in the Netherlands http://www.uaf.nl/over_het_uaf/wat_wij_doen/hervestiging_van_vluchtelingstudenten/resettlement_of_refugee_students
- Report of the Flemish Refugee Council on the findings and experience of refugees and new comers in Flemish higher education - Zes jaar studiebegeleiding van Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen Analyses, bevindingen en ervaringen van vluchtelingen en nieuwkomers in het Vlaams hoger onderwijs
(Focus on refugee children and youth):
- London based charity Refugee Support Network supports young people affected by displacement and crisis to access and progress in education. They also run the ‘Higher Education Programme’, a specialist support service for young refugees and asylum seekers who are having problems accessing higher education.
- Partnership for the Advancement & Immersion of Refugees, (PAIR) a non-profit agency in Houston, provides an integrated series of programmes that aim to support youth from the time they arrive through to their high school graduation and beyond. Programmes include ‘Global Explorers’, ‘Global Learners’, and ‘Global Leaders & College Orientation Day’
SPONSORSHIPS & SCHOLARSHIPS
- Windle Trust International offers scholarships to youths and refugees in Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia to study in Africa or UK. The Trust’s work is funded by a wide range of donors and supported by universities and colleges in Britain and Africa http://www.windle.org.uk/WhatWeDo.aspx
- The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) is a scholarship assistance program for refugees funded by the German Government and implemented worldwide by UNHCR. The programme grants scholarships to refugees at universities, colleges and polytechnics in their host countries. In 2008, the programme also started offering education opportunities in their countries of origin to refugees considering repatriation
- Otto Benecke Foundation is a non-profit organisation launched in 1965 by the German students’ associations. The foundation runs educational programmes with the aim of integrating immigrants and refugees into German society
- The Hegg Hoffet Fund for Displaced Women Graduates of the Geneva-based Graduate Women International assists graduate women who have been displaced as a result of war, political upheaval or other serious emergencies. The Fund provides short term grants for refresher courses for re-entry into the candidates’ professional field, and for language training and other courses to assist with integration into their new countries. In addition to financial assistance, IFUW’s national and local groups also provide the graduate refugees with moral support to help them to adjust to life in a different country
- Entraide Universitaire (the French University Student Services Association) is an association offering financial help to refugee students in France who are not eligible for a regular scholarship
- The Academic Relations between Asia and Europe (AREAS) provides scholarships for students and researchers from the Third Countries targeted by the project (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, The Philippines, Vietnam) in order to study, do research, training or teaching at one of the European Partner Universities (Host Universities). Scholarships are also open to candidates with refugee status
- The ‘Refugee Education Post Secondary Education’ (RAPSE) project of the Norwegian Refugee Alliance provides scholarships for young camp refugees wishing to access college or university education
- The ‘Student Refugee Programme’ of the World University Service Canada (WUSC), through Local Committees across Canada, sponsors over 65 student refugees every year, enabling them to enter the country as permanent residents and pursue their education at Canadian universities and colleges.
- The ‘Maytree Scholarship Program’ of the Canadian private foundation Maytree offers scholarships to protected persons (Convention refugees) and permanent residents who were protected persons entering first year of undergraduate programs at university or community college in Toronto. The programme is an intensive, participatory programme providing peer and financial support . The 10-year anniversary report on the programme can be downloaded at https://maytree.com/wp-content/uploads/MakingTheirMark.pdf
- The University of Canberra (UC) has a number of different scholarships available to refugee students, including the Mary Davidson Scholarships for women refugee students and the UC Foundation Refugee Scholarships
- The Council for Assisting Refugee Academics’ (CARA) UK Programme has 80 years’ experience of supporting refugee academics to access training and employment in higher education. The UK Programme can provide education, training and employment advice, financial grants, and support with extra costs such as travel and child care. Over seventy UK universities collaborate with CARA to promote and defend academic freedom and provide practical support, such as fellowships and assistance through work placements or mentoring programmes, to academics in need http://www.academic-refugees.org/
- The Scholars at Risk (SAR) project is a joint initiative of the Foundation for Refugee Students UAF and the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR) to support academic freedom and defend the human rights of the scholars by providing temporary academic positions at Dutch universities for professors, researchers and other academics who suffer threats in their home countries http://www.uaf.nl/over_het_uaf/wat_wij_doen/vervolgde_wetenschappers/uaf_scholars_at_risk_project. By providing temporary academic positions to professors, lecturers, researchers and other intellectuals who suffer threats in their home country, SAR members help scholars to escape dangerous conditions and to continue their work http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/
- The ‘Scholar Rescue Fund’ of the Institute of International Education provides fellowships for established scholars whose lives and work are threatened in their home countries.
- The Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR) is a UK based non-governmental organisation, which works to promote and protect academic freedom and academic rights by facilitating international collaboration between organisations and individuals active in issues of academic freedom and education rights, and increasing awareness and response through its emergency action alert system, bulletins and media outreach http://www.nearinternational.org/
- The Network of Concerned Historians, established at the History Department of the University of Groningen in 1965, serves as a link between concerned historians and human rights organizations. The NCH disseminates urgent action appeals for persecuted and censored historians, gathers news and information about history and human rights, and engages in research on persecuted and censored historians http://www.concernedhistorians.org/content/home.html
- The Group 9 of Universities is a Spanish university network founded to promote collaboration between the universities belonging to the Group. The network is also active in the promotion of academic freedom and is a member of the Scholars at Risk network https://www.uni-g9.net/portal/index.jsp
VIRTUAL & ON-SITE HIGHER EDUCATION PROGRAMMES IN REFUGEE SITUATIONS
- The Borderless Higher Education for Refugees Project (BHER) at the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University, Canada delivers educational programmes in refugee camps and adjacent local communities.
- Refugee Programme on the Thai-Burma border - the Australian Catholic University in partnership with three US universities and one Canadian university provides higher education to young adult refugees http://www.acu.edu.au/about_acu/faculties,_institutes_and_centres/arts_and_sciences/ACU_Refugee_Program_on_the_Thai-Burma_Border
- The Jesuit Commons - Higher Education at the Margins (JC-HEM) is a distance education programme for camp refugees in northwestern Kenya, launched by a partnership between US universities and the Jesuit Refugee Service http://jrsusa.org/news_detail?TN=NEWS-20110314115608