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Higher Education Access for Refugees

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), only 3% of refugees worldwide enroll in college or university. This is a fraction of the 37% of the general population who go on to pursue higher education.

This needs to change.

As part of our ongoing commitment to expanding educational access and opportunity for all students, we’re partnering with UNHCR, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), NYU, and Kepler, a nongovernmental organization in Rwanda, to support the work of groups and individuals helping refugee students go on to college or university.

Event: Symposium on Expanding Higher Education Access for Refugees
Date: February 26, 2020
Location: NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE

At the Symposium

The symposium will serve as a place where individuals and groups with a common focus can:

  • Share successful strategies for expanding refugees’ access to higher education
  • Brainstorm new ways for colleges and universities to identify, recruit, admit, and support the success of refugee students
  • Learn how the Refugee College Guidance Counselor Universal Resource Center can help more refugees continue their education
  • Network with others working to connect refugees to higher education
  • Hear directly from refugees and learn from their stories

Learn more about the symposium and register.

Our Work with Refugee Counselors

In 2018, we provided funding to Ella Ininahazwe and Sadiki Bamperinzea, two refugee college graduates, to support their Refugee College Guidance Initiative. We are extremely proud of the work they and their colleagues are doing to support refugees in pursuing higher education.

About Our Partners

These partners are working to expand refugees’ opportunities for higher education worldwide.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The UNHCR is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people. Learn more about the UNHCR.

Southern New Hampshire University

In 2018, SNHU launched its Global Education Movement (GEM) initiative to bring university degrees to refugees around the world. Learn more about GEM.


Kepler is a nongovernmental organization in Rwanda that began partnering with SNHU in 2013 as part of their efforts to build a global model of accessible and excellent higher education. Learn more about Kepler.

Connected Learning Consortium

The Connected Learning Consortium aims to promote, coordinate, collaborate, and support the provision of quality higher education in contexts of conflict, crisis, and displacement. Learn more about the Connected Learning Consortium.

New York University

NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus is the setting for the 2020 Symposium on Expanding Higher Education Access for Refugees. Learn more about NYU.