The U.S. State Department is launching the Welcome Corps on Campus program, providing a groundbreaking opportunity for refugee students to resettle in the United States, enroll in participating colleges, and obtain legal permanent residency. The program aims to address the lack of access to postsecondary education and provide stability for refugee students.
Under the program, refugee students can enter the United States under a new private-sponsorship category, allowing them to stay in the country after completing their studies. Unlike temporary F-1 visas, students in the program will be eligible for federal aid and permitted to work. The initiative is modeled after successful resettlement programs in Canada and other countries.
Groups of at least five individuals, including administrators, faculty, staff, and students, can form sponsorship groups connected to participating colleges. These groups commit to assisting a refugee student for 12 months, providing support in various areas such as enrollment, housing, essential services, and part-time job applications. The aim is to help students become self-sufficient in their new environment.
The program expects its first cohort of students to enroll in fall 2024. Refugees in Jordan and Kenya, who have already been referred for resettlement, will be identified as academically qualified candidates. The goal is to enroll a total of 300 refugees over the first three years.
With the Welcome Corps on Campus, colleges and universities in the United States have the opportunity to contribute to the resettlement program and provide life-changing opportunities to refugee students. The initiative aims to increase equity, diversity, and internationalization in higher education while responding to global crises.
Through this program, refugee students will have the chance to pursue their educational goals and build a future for themselves, overcoming the challenges they have faced due to displacement. The Welcome Corps on Campus offers hope and certainty to these students, ensuring they have the support they need to succeed and contribute to their communities.