According to the UNHCR, the world is facing the worst global refugee crisis since World War II; at least 79.5 million people around the world have been forced from their homes due to conflict and persecution. Among these displaced men and women are students unable to complete their higher education. Only 3% of higher-education-aged refugees attend university, as compared to 37% of higher-education-aged youth globally.

The Refugee Students Scholarship Program provides scholarships to asylum seekers, refugees, asylees, and SIVs admitted to or continuing at a UC or CSU campus. Asylum seekers do not qualify for federal aid or California state aid. While refugees and asylees can apply for the FAFSA to receive federal aid, they frequently are offered loans. The Refugee Students Scholarship Program hopes to minimize these financial burdens by providing scholarships of up to $10,000 to eligible UC students and up to $5,000 to eligible CSU students, depending on their need.

The best way for us to invest in the post-conflict development of war-torn countries, invest in our own communities, and prevent a lost generation is by providing higher education opportunities for displaced people. The best way for higher education institutions to accomplish their academic mission is through a diverse student body. Let’s stand together on the right side of history on this important issue and diplomatic opportunity – helping displaced students and the future leaders of war-torn nations and our communities pursue higher education.