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How Will An University Sponsorship Program Be Funded?

Costs for a potential university sponsorship program will include, but are not limited to, the Implementing Organization (I.O.) (staff, pre-departure activities and coordination, U.S. cohort coordination, training of U.S. HEIs, etc.), learning costs on campus (tuition, fees, room & board, books and supplies, etc.), and wraparound support costs (flights, housing, technology, emergencies, stipend, etc.). These costs will evolve over time as the program develops.

Within the first year for a cohort of 30 students, the estimated cost for the I.O. would be $1 million. For the scaled version of the program with around 150 students, we estimate the costs for the I.O. to be approximately $2.4 million annually. We anticipate further economies of scale will be gained as the number of student participants increases. Beyond I.O. costs, per student costs would range between $41,450 – $103,100 for the students’ first year and $38,350 – $98,400 per year for each of the remaining years of the students’ education. These per student costs include items like travel, technology, books and supplies, as well as tuition, room and board, internship support, and more. The wide range of per student costs reflects the varying tuition and room and board costs at different institutions.

The Initiative identified the following potential sources of funding for this program: government, institutions of higher education (endowments, faculty, students, alumni), philanthropy, faith-based organizations, corporations, and U.N. agencies and affiliates (e.g., USA for UNHCR). The array of sources point to an approach that incorporates a diversity of funding sources. 

A public-private partnership strategy should guide this program. A public-private partnership is the collaboration between government entities and private sector entities (e.g., high-net-worth individuals, businesses, foundations) that can be used to finance, build, and operate projects. Ideally, this program would be launched as a public-private partnership from the beginning, with the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) covering some of the costs for the I.O. However, the program may need to be launched using private funding, with the goal of incorporating public funding as soon as it becomes available and embedding public funding into the funding strategy for later phases of the program. The benefit of a public-private partnership model is that it allows the project to proceed without funding from PRM or other governmental entities, enabling the program to launch more quickly, while working toward the goal of sustainably integrating the program into governmental infrastructure via public funding.

This chart outlines the costs per student. The chart is part of the RESPONSE campaign. For full details, please find the full report here.


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