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Students in Cafeteria


We are a network of student leaders who represent various higher education institutions and organizations, all working together to support the 15by30 target. Through various projects and initiatives, our organization aims to not only contribute to the 15by30 target of increasing refugee access to higher education to 15% percent by 2030, but also ensure that students are empowered to succeed and thrive in these institutions. To achieve this, we are building an active community of learners and leaders, many of whom are from refugee backgrounds themselves. We are eager to engage in mutual collaboration through the exchange of resources, knowledge, and information. While we operate as a primarily US-based umbrella network, our organization seeks to learn from—and connect with—students across borders.


Definitions matter

Key Challenges
& Recommendation





Global Context

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are nearly 82.4  million displaced people around the world. Approximately 40% of this population are under 18 years old (UNHCR, 2020). Though access to quality schooling is a human right, a marginal 3% of refugee youth attend a university or college (UNHCR, 2021).

Our Vision 


We wish to create an inclusive higher education community where refugees residing in the US and overseas are empowered to access, succeed, and thrive in higher education. In addition, we seek to build an active community of student leaders who are eager to share resources and empower one another in their mission to support peers from refugee backgrounds. 

US Context

It is anticipated that refugee higher education access will become more salient in the United States as the new administration advances its commitment toward increasing refugee admission capacity to 125,000 (Amos, 2020). In the next fiscal year, 32% of resettled refugees will be college-aged (Moore & Ullon, 2021).

Our Ultimate Dream

For every Higher Education Institution in the United States to provide a full-ride scholarship to at least one refugee-background student at any given time.

Our Rationale

“At least one student per university would elevate the understanding of this crisis and bring to the forefront what universities as leading members of society can do to address it. It's not just humanitarian organizations that can help address the crisis.” 

Paul Hersh


Columbia University Scholarship for Displaced Persons

Interviewed by Marc Caron 

Universities and colleges are leading members of society and have a responsibility to help address the global refugee crisis


There are mutual benefits for students, your campus and society as a whole

“This is a mutual exchange. Student recipients of this scholarship receive a chance at higher education that they may not otherwise have access to, while the institution’s environment is enriched by the experiences that student recipients share with their peers.”

Olivia Issa 

SVR Co-chair 

Interview with Erin Fitzgerald

Director of International Programs

Salve Regina University

“It’s been wonderful for connecting with people in the Middle East. I’m based in NJ and the area that I’m in I don’t get that familiar interaction with other Arabs. I don’t get to practice my bilingual skills. VIP-Fund’s peer-to-peer mentorship program gives me a place where I can connect with people of the same background and culture as me.” 

Tash Toth


edSeed and VIP.Fund’s Peer-to-Peer Program

Interviewed by Christelle Barakat


“ University scholarship programs for refugees can be highly plausible and sustainable if faculty and staff are willing to put the time and passion into it.”

Erin Fitzgerald

Director of International Programs

Salve Regina University

“The work is easy to do - we already do all of these things on college campuses.”

Diya Abdo


Every Campus a Refuge

Interviewed by Christina Smith 

It's Doable


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