A record number of 68.5 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes by armed conflict, war, persecution, or natural disaster. Only 1% of these people have the opportunity to pursue a university degree. At IIE PEER we quote these numbers almost every day as they highlight the dramatic need for higher education opportunities for vulnerable, displaced, and refugee youth around the globe.
Higher education institutions can play a key role in providing these desperately needed opportunities to help the most vulnerable youth continue their education. But what does it really mean when we say colleges and universities can play a key role in this endeavor? And how can we better prepare institutions to work with these students starting with the application process all through graduation? What are the best practices and tools to host displaced student populations and why should higher education institutions get engaged in this work? Together with our colleagues from the American Association for Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), IIE PEER explored these and other questions during our Best Practices in Admitting Displaced ad Vulnerable Student Populations on U.S. Campuses workshop on October 26 at our Headquarters in New York City.
While the admission of displaced and refugee students is of great importance in other countries as well, IIE PEER and AACRAO decided to devote this one-day workshop to focus U.S. campuses. This, in an effort to equip attendees with the tools and best practices to reach out to displaced students, work with students to navigate challenges during the application and visa process, and encourage cross-departmental collaboration for this crucial effort.
On October 26th More than 40 representatives from universities, community colleges, credential evaluators, foundations, and non-profits joined IIE PEER and AACRAO to learn more about this important topic, show support for vulnerable student populations, and network with colleagues in the field. Two students who were forced to leave their home countries to fulfill their educational dreams closed the day by sharing their experience of applying to university in the United States. Their resilience and determination to take back ownership of their lives by continuing their education is a reminder of the impact and importance of this work.
In the photo series, find some of the motivation our attendees have in creating inclusive admission practices. How will you join the movement?
About IIE PEER
In response to the world’s global education emergencies, the Institute of International Education (IIE) developed the Platform for Education in Emergencies Response (IIE PEER), an online clearinghouse enabling displaced and refugee students to connect with educational opportunities so they may continue formal and informal higher education. IIE PEER is part of IIE’s higher education in emergencies initiatives. IIE has been a world leader in international education since 1919. IIE works to build more peaceful and equitable societies by advancing scholarship, building economies and promoting access to opportunity. As a not-for-profit with 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, IIE collaborates with a range of corporate, government and foundation partners across the globe to design and manage scholarship, study abroad, workforce training and leadership development programs. Follow us on social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, subscribe to the newsletter.
Written by Nele Feldmann, Head of Student Emergency Initiatives at the Institute of International Education. Published on November 6, 2018.