Refugees gain considerable support from German universities, study suggests

More than 60 universities in Germany provide help for the country’s growing number of refugees, study says

August 12, 2015
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Source: istock
Universities across Germany are providing a range of support for refugees keen on study

German universities are providing education, language tuition and financial assistance to help refugees become students, a report says.

Other types of support have also been provided for refugees by more than 60 universities in Germany, according to the survey carried out by the German Rectors’ Conference, which is known as the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK).

These include holding information events on studying at university, advice on how to prepare for student life, legal advice, psychosocial support and help to find accommodation.

Many universities also have waived  semester fees, provided free student passes for public transport, and given access to hardship and grant funds, says the report published last month.

“Through activities like these, universities are making an important contribution to the social integration of refugees and sending out a signal for an open, forward-looking society,” said Horst Hippler, president of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and HRK president.

Some 1.5 million immigrants came to Germany over the past year, taking its overall migrant population to 11 million – with an estimated 450,000 refugees set to arrive this year.

“We don't want to deny access to education and doctoral training to individuals who have insufficient evidence of educational qualifications due to their refugee status,” said Professor Hippler.

“I would like to encourage universities to make full use of the scope allowed by law to offer refugees encouraging prospects. This survey shows that in many places this is already happening,” he added.

The results of the survey, carried out among the 16 state rectors’ conferences, was also welcomed by Dieter Lenzen, president of the University of Hamburg and HRK vice-president.

He said that he was “delighted” that refugees can now apply for state support 15 months after their recognition by German authorities.

“Universities also urgently need additional funding to safeguard the assistance they are providing in the long term,” said Professor Lenzen. "Only then can we provide long-term financial and psychosocial support to often highly qualified but sometimes traumatised refugees.”

However, he welcomed the “concerted effort by all decision-makers so promptly together with the responsible ministries and funding organisations”.

“German universities are proceeding on the assumption that politicians will make the necessary financial resources for what is ultimately a humanitarian duty available with minimal red tape,” he added.

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Reader's comments (2)

What a fantastic move by Germany! We all hear about the need for Universities to have 'impact' towards global challenges and growing concerns of sustainability, poverty, etc. Here they are truly being part of the solution by one of the best forms of empowerment - education. This move supports the right to education - free education - for everyone regardless of status. Fantastic!
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