Refugees to College, a not-for-profit organization assisting with the educational aspirations of refugees, has launched a new initiative this week to increase the matriculation of refugees in Michigan colleges and universities.
As a student initiative founded at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Refugees to College is uniquely positioned to assist refugee families with the college admissions process and foster programs at educational institutions to make applying easier. To meet their goal of increasing matriculation, Refugees to College will attack the main obstacles of pursuing higher education: handling missing documentation and finding ways to pay for tuition.
“At this moment, we know of one college in Michigan making a significant effort to improve access of higher education to refugees,” said David Kamper, Refugees to College’s founder. “We’re positive there are more colleges, but knowledge of the issues surrounding refugees in higher education is not well known. There is a need to understand the admissions landscape of colleges and universities in Michigan regarding refugee and asylee students.” Concluded Kamper.
While difficult even for native-born Americans, pursuing higher education is a major challenge for refugees and asylum-seekers in the U.S. According to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, refugees entering the U.S. between the ages of 15 to 24 face significant difficulty earning college degrees, with those entering as 19-year-olds having a graduation rate as low as 11%. The 2017 study suggests learning English and the struggles of immigrating as an unaccompanied minor as contributing obstacles.
Refugees to College volunteers provide one-on-one assistance to refugees across the country. Over the past two years, volunteers connected refugee job-seekers with local institutions and mentors, provided support on applications, and arranged for crucial translation and credential evaluation services, free of charge.
Through the new initiative, Refugees to College hopes to build on its recent successes including its College Admissions Seminar Series at a local high school and the matriculation of some of its clients into colleges across the country.
The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) commends the Refugees to College’s work and salutes them for their contribution to the betterment of the lives of refugees and asylees, human beings that face extraordinary challenges in host countries.
“Education is a basic human right and we salute Refugees to College for helping refugees and asylees attain the often unattainable dream of a college education,” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. “We salute the energy and dedication of the young men and women behind Refugees to College,” concluded Hamad.
To learn more about Refugees to College, please visit: www.refugeestocollege.org.