Few of the initiatives in EUA’s Refugees Welcome Map have been underpinned by the institutional mission or strategic planning right from the beginning. Most initiatives have been commenced ad hoc, through bottom-up approaches, by highly committed students and staff members. In the meantime, a number of institutions have developed strategies, and respectively linked their engagement for refugees to existing strategies for social inclusion.
Key issues for students from refugee backgrounds as well as for those from other disadvantaged groups, are access and retention. Research suggests that migrants – including second or third generation – face higher access barriers and are more likely to drop out. With a view to integrating refugees into higher education, and to foster their retention and study success, the initiatives selected for this GPC category use strategic planning to cover a full range of activities, from outreach and admissions to services for retention, at times also including considerations on the revision of learning and teaching practices. This could be framed as overarching diversity management, and while focused on the needs of the target group of refugees, these approaches could in the long run also be beneficial to other groups of non-traditional learners.