Columbia University is to offer full scholarships to refugees and other displaced persons in a multi-million dollar scheme to address educational disadvantages faced by young people affected by war and natural calamities.
The American university, one of the country's Ivy League institutions, has allocated $6 million in funding to help up to 30 individuals annually who have had their schooling interrupted or severely impacted by circumstances outside their control.
The Scholarship for Displaced Students will cover tuition, housing and living assistance across New York-based Columbia's 18 schools and affiliates, allowing successful applicants to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies.
The United Nations estimates that more than 70 million people have been forced from their homes because of war, violence, persecution or other human rights violations. Almost 26 million of these individuals are classified as refugees by the UN and only three per cent of them will ever enrol in a college or university.
“We are very proud of the Columbia Scholarship for Displaced Students,” said Columbia University president Lee Bollinger.
“The programme sends a powerful message about the role that colleges and universities should be playing to help young people whose educations have been disrupted because they have been forced to flee violence and persecution in their home countries.”
Interested applicants must be foreign (non-US) nationals who are either internally or externally displaced with refugee status, or those who have either received asylum or submitted an application for asylum in the United States.
They must apply to and be accepted by one of the participating schools, each of which has its own admissions criteria and application deadline. More information on how to apply, including the necessary form, can be found on the Columbia Global Centers website.