18 December 2023

Equal Access to HE for refugees – together we’re getting there!

UNHCR’s new 15by30 pledge was launched at the Global Refugee Forum this week, with institutions around the world committing to increase access to higher education for people from forced migrant backgrounds.

At the last Global Refugee Forum in 2019, STAR and Universities of Sanctuary submitted a pledge on behalf of 32 universities and 8 organisations in the UK, who committed to:

“uphold and develop our commitments towards increasing access to Higher Education for people seeking sanctuary, as well as to building a culture of welcome in the UK and beyond.”

A huge amount of amazing work has been done! More scholarships were created, access increased, support within universities improved and welcoming campuses strengthened. Commitments fell under the following objectives:

  • Improved pastoral support available to students from forced migrant backgrounds.
  • Improved community outreach  
  • Making admissions more inclusive
  • Increase in access pathways to support forced migrant applicants on their journey to higher education. 
  • Reduction and removal of financial barriers
  • Increased collaboration and sharing learning between institutions. 
  • Supporting employability
  • Responding to international displacement crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan  
  • Supporting academics at risk
  • Building a culture of welcome on campus and locally and nationally 

You can read more about the achievements and progress made over the past 4 years here

This year, UNHCR has launched a number of new pledges, including the 15by30 multi-stakeholder pledge, which commits to increase the number of refugee youth enrolled in higher education to 15% by 2030. Universities, organisations and individuals can sign up to this joint pledge with their own individual commitments on how they’re going to contribute to achieving the goal. You can find out more about the pledge and sign up here.

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