Higher Education
supporting Refugees
in Europe

Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (FR)

In September 2015, the President of the French republic, François Hollande, underlined France’s commitment to refugees as a country of asylum and protection for refugees. In response, the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne therefore established a specific integration programme for refugee students.

This programme is aimed at both French- speaking refugee students and non-French speaking students who will benefit from enhanced training in French as a Foreign Language (FLE).
It starts with an integration week during which participants meet with various representatives of the university: Department of International Relations, Language Department, International Student Association, the sports department etc. . This is followed by 12 weeks of intensive language training, as well as methodology workshops, an introduction to various disciplines taught at the university, as well as access to the “learning French online” platform in the computer room of the Language Department.

Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (FR) Photo

Participants in the Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne classes for refugees. © Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (FR) Photo

Participants in the Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne classes for refugees – day trip. © Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

All the refugee students are exempted from national fees.

Two years on, it has become clear that the French language training is not sufficient for the students to be able to follow the classes and pass the exams with success. Also, the knowledge of the higher French education system has to be reinforced. A new programme will therefore be launched in 2017 entitled “Diplôme universitaire Sorbonne, Langues, Humanités et Citoyennetés”, which includes additional intensive French classes and an initiation to the higher French education system together with specific methodologies courses.

Duration: 2 years
Refugee students: 140 today and 170 in the next academic year
Policy links
This refugee programme is to be seen as part of an overall national framework.

Further information can be found here.
We collaborate with different organisations to support students on social, medical, administrative issues (Maison des journalistes, la Cimade, Coalia, etc.).
Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne has also signed a specific partnership agreement with two student housing organisations (Centre regional des oeuvres unversitaires et scolaires de Paris and Cité international universitaire de Paris).
Strategy & Sustainability
The university has found it necessary to opt for a lasting solution in the context of a migratory society. This is also why Paris 1 took part in seminars on the reception of migrant students in French universities such as those hosted by the French Ministry of Education or the European Doctoral College of the University of Strasbourg.

In an attempt to find solutions across the region, Paris 1 invited and met with Parisian universities in 2017. The Ile-de-France institutions have been similarly confronted over the past two years with the same questions linked to hosting and language training for non-francophone migrant students. The universities present have exchanged with each other on good practices concerning the hosting of the students. 

To maximize the integration effects for students, and to design a diploma to meet their specific needs, Paris 1 is currently setting up a network of researcher-trained teachers to provide pedagogical support to students throughout their first year of courses on one of the chosen branches of studies offered by the university. This complementary measure is geared to ensure long-term benefits and help the university to fulfil its new mission of integrating refugee students.
Funding structure
Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne has signed a specific agreement with the Qatar State regarding the funding of our initiative. The Île-de-France region has also contributed to the implementation of the programme.
The general cost of our initiative is estimated at 5 000 € per student.