State Dept 'Welcome Corps on Campus' offers 'education pathway to citizenship for refugee students'

The new program incentivizes American colleges to 'play a leading role in resettling refugee students.'

The program will also help establish a 'path to permanent legal status in the United States' for participating refugees.

On July 6, the State Department’s Welcome Corps announced it was expanding with a new program to encourage US universities to “play a leading role in resettling refugee students,” called the “Welcome Corps on Campus.”

Welcome Corps on Campus is an “education sponsorship initiative” through which “qualified refugee students can pursue life-changing opportunities to continue their education and build their futures in the United States.”

With the guidance of the US Refugee Admissions Program, participants can have a “path to permanent legal status in the United States.” Participating colleges may “enroll refugee students in degree programs,” while Campus Private Sponsor Groups can support “resettlement through private sponsorship.” 

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Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Julieta Valls Noyes called the new program a “transformative cornerstone of our private sponsorship program that will support refugees whose opportunity to pursue higher education was cut short.” 

“We are grateful to the American people, institutions of higher education, campus communities, and our partners for opening doors for refugee students to reach their full potential,” Noyes added. 

Per Private Sponsor Group guidelines: “members can be students, faculty, or staff—any group of at least five U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, who are over the age of 18, who live in or near the community where the refugee student will reside and who are affiliated with the welcoming campus.”

Participant sponsors must commit to serving refugees through services such as “academic support,” “housing,” and “social connections” for at least 12 months. 

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Nearly 150 institutions and organizations have expressed support for the Welcome Corps on Campus, “which provides an education pathway to citizenship for refugee students.”

“This expansion of the Welcome Corps allows higher education communities across the country to take a hands-on role in the welcome, support and integration of refugee students, many who have not only been waiting years for a safe place to call home but also for an opportunity to earn a higher education degree,” noted Annie Nolte-Henning, interim executive director of Community Sponsorship Hub.

Campus Reform has reached out to all relevant parties for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.