Key Policy Recommendations For The Implementation Of University Sponsorship Of Refugee Students
In order to make university sponsorship for refugee students a reality, the Initiative on U.S. Education Pathways for Refugee Students outlined key policy recommendations for the U.S. Government, including the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Immigration and partner agencies:
- Approach program design with additionality in mind; that sponsored refugees ultimately be additional to government-assisted refugees.
- Enable higher education institutions or an implementing organization representing them to nominate directly, or identify, students to be privately sponsored and resettled to the United States.
- Consider an alternative indicator of success for university-sponsored refugees other than early post-arrival economic self-sufficiency.
- Offer a mechanism for sponsors to cover travel costs and offer postponement of travel loan repayments to account for the unique context of university sponsorships.
- Allow applicants whose refugee status is pending to access the USRAP. For those without prior official recognition, allow a designated organization to screen candidates for likely U.S. refugee status conferral.
- Make every effort to accommodate strict academic admissions timelines, requiring students to arrive in the U.S. by the middle of August preceding the academic year.
- Enact key improvements to the F-1 visa to better accommodate refugee learners who may not have access to private sponsorship through the new P-4 category.