The evidence has been very clear - immigrants, and specifically refugees, can be some of the most loyal and productive citizens of their new host countries. However, opportunity is key.
A new model has been launched to improve access to higher education for refugees in the U.S.A. "Laura Wagner, project manager for the Initiative on U.S. Education Pathways for Refugee Students at the Presidents Alliance, said the initial goal of the campaign is to spread awareness of the university sponsorship model 'so that communities and current college students as well as higher ed institutions know and understand what university sponsorship is...'"
The Pathways for Refugee Students would include institutions' willingness to "agree to flexible admissions policies for refugee students that take into account their unique situations" and it would also include the need to address individual needs as well as prospective students' families situations. Family concerns are particularly important in order to address gender imbalances in educational opportunity. The focus for refugee students would start small and scale up over time. Funding will be the responsibility of host institutions but could be compiled from; government, philanthropic groups, faith-based organizations, corporations, U.N. agencies, and institutions themselves.
A lesson that will hopefully be incorporated from both positive and negative experiences of international students is that campus culture will also be critical. Faculty, staff, and students will need to learn how to respect the resilience and strength of students who come to campus as refugees in order to avoid stereotyping and stigmatization.