Supporting refugees to access higher education - A rich resource from the European Resettlement Network


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 article [Source: European Resettlement Network] 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:


(Focus on refugee children and youth):


  • 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
  • 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 International Federation of University Women 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 content/uploads/2009/10/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



[Source: European Resettlement Network]


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