Major Scholarship Programs for Refugees

/ 06 Nov 2018

Major Scholarship Programs for Refugees

This resource is part of a package on the theme of scholarships for Syrian refugees. The main article in the package documents the fading donor interest in scholarships for refugees. Another article describes the continuing desire of Syrian youth to gain access to higher education and the obstacles they face.

Name of Program: Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI)

Name of Organization: United Nations Refugee Agency, also known as UNHCR

Number of Scholarships: 6,723 scholarships awarded globally in 2017, of which 2,528 were awarded to Syrians in the Middle East and North Africa region. The total is expected to reach 6,800 in 2018, and more in 2019, depending on funding.

In Jordan, 689 scholarships awarded in 2018, with 40 new places for the 2018/19 academic year.

Location: 50 countries of asylum across the world

Type of Scholarship: Bachelor’s degrees

Number of Applicants: 12,570 applications from Syrians in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2017; 1,780 in Jordan in 2018

Graduation Rate: 98 percent in Jordan

Source of Support: German government and private donors

Name of Program: Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program

Name of Organization: Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education

Type of Scholarship: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

Location: 16 universities in 10 countries across the Arab world, Turkey, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom

Number of Scholarships: 700 currently; to increase to 1,500 in 2019

Number of Applicants: More than 20,000

Source of Support: The foundation receives its funds from Al Ghurair Group, a Dubai-based business

Name of Program: Edu-Syria

Name of Organization: German Jordanian University

Location: Jordan

Type of Scholarship: Bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and vocational training for Syrian and Jordanian students

Number of Scholarships: 1,426 partial scholarships awarded between 2015 and 2018; possibility of accepting more students in the 2018-2019 recruiting cycle, depending on funding.

Graduation Rate: 11 percent on average

Source of Support: European Union

Name of Program: Emergency Scholarship Programme for Syrians

Name of Organization: Global Platform for Syrian Students

Location: Portugal and nine other countries around the world

Type of Scholarship: Bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees

Number of Scholarships: More than 450 annual scholarships awarded globally

Number of Applicants: More than 6,800 since 2013

Graduation Rate: 99 percent

Source of Support: Public and private donors

Name of Program: Higher Education for Syrians

Name of Organization: Spark, a Dutch nonprofit organization that promotes higher education and entrepreneurship in conflict-affected countries

Location: Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Syria

Type of Scholarship: Bachelor’s degrees, technical and vocational education (TVET) diplomas (2 years), TVET certificates

Number of Scholarships: 8,398 scholarships available; 10,000 total scholarships expected by 2020

Number of Applicants: 43,972

Graduation Rate: 47 percent on average

Sources of Support: Dutch Foreign Ministry; Education Above All Foundation, Qatar; and the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, often known as the Madad Fund.

Name of Program: HOPES

Name of Organization: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and partners

Location: Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Turkey

Type of Scholarship: Bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and vocational training certificates (the latter are for Egypt only)

Number of Scholarships: 653 scholarships awarded since 2016; funding ends in 2019.

Number of Applicants: A total of 2,039 in the last two intakes for bachelor’s and master’s degrees; 181 applicants in the first two intakes for vocational courses in Egypt.

Graduation Rate: 35 percent for bachelor’s degrees; 6 percent for master’s degrees; 46 percent for vocational courses in Egypt.

Source of Support: Madad Fund

Name of Program: Scholarships for Syrians

Name of Organization: Lebanese Association for Scientific Research (LASeR)

Location: Lebanon

Type of Scholarship: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees

Number of Scholarships: Approximately 1,200 scholarships awarded since 2013, including 40 bachelor’s and master’s degree scholarships for the 2018-19 academic year.

Number of Applicants: Over 4,000 applicants during previous intakes

Graduation Rate: Currently 98 percent

Source of Support: Spark, in the Netherlands, and several foundations from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait

Name of Program: New Perspectives through Academic Education and Training for Young Syrians and Jordanians

Name of Organization: German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ)

Location: Jordan

Type of Scholarship: Master’s degrees for Syrians and disadvantaged Jordanians

Number of Scholarships: 80 between 2015 and 2019; no new scholarships available

Graduation Rate: 36 percent

Source of Support: German government

Programs Awarding Scholarships Outside the Arab Region

Name of Program: Jusoor Scholarship Program

Name of Organization: Jusoor (“Bridges”), a U.S.-based association of Syrian expatriates

Location: 15 countries, with the majority placed in the United States

Type of Scholarship: Various degree levels

Number of Scholarships: 630 full or partial scholarships awarded

Source of Support: Donations from individuals and foundations 

Name of Program: IIE Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis

Name of Organization: Institute of International Education (IIE), a New York-based non-profit organization that manages scholarships, training, exchange and leadership programs

Location: United States; over 60 colleges and universities

Type of Scholarship: Various degree levels

Number of Scholarships: More than 330 full or partial scholarships since 2011

Source of Support: The higher education institutions that enroll the refugee students provide the scholarships

Name of Program: Integra

Name of Organization: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Location: Germany

Type of Support: German-language instruction and subject-related preparatory courses to boost matriculation at German universities.

Number of Recipients: 10,404; rolling applications until 2019

Source of Support: German government 

Name of Program: Welcome—Students Helping Refugees

Name of Organization: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Location: Germany

Type of Support: Tutoring, mentoring and advising to facilitate integration of refugees at German universities

Number of Recipients: 670 student initiatives and 900 undergraduate assistant positions that reach 50,000 students

Source of Support: German government

Name of Program: Student Refugee Program

Name of Organization: World University Service of Canada, a non-profit organization that supports international development projects worldwide

Location: Canada

Type of Scholarship: Various levels; the program offers refugees scholarships for university studies and resettlement in Canada.

Number of Scholarships: More than 130 per year

Number of applicants: More than 300 per year

Graduation rate: 97 percent (according to 2007 figures)

Source of Support: Higher education institutions provide scholarships for students they accept; the Canadian government provides transportation funding to bring refugees to Canada

Name of Program: Japanese Initiative for the Future of Syrian Refugees (JISR)

Name of Organization: Japan International Cooperation Agency

Location: Japan

Type of Scholarship: Master’s degrees

Number of Scholarships: 20 scholarships for the 2019 academic year for Syrians who currently reside in Jordan or Lebanon and seek to study at Japanese universities; goal of 100 scholarships for Syrians by 2022.

Source of Support: Japanese government

Name of Program: Chevening Scholarship for Master’s Degree in the United Kingdom

Name of Organization: Chevening, the UK government’s international awards program

Location: United Kingdom

Type of Scholarship: One-year master’s degree at any UK university, open to Syrian and Palestinian students

Source of Support: British government




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  1. Merveille Mawa Buta says:

    I need so much a scholarship as refugee I am to help me continue with my studies

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