On July 6, 2023, Welcome Corps on Campus, a new targeted education sponsorship initiative that enables U.S. colleges and universities to play a leading role in resettling refugee students launched. The Welcome Corps on Campus operates under the umbrella of the Welcome Corps, the broader U.S. private sponsorship program that was launched by the U.S. Department of State in January 2023 for refugees admitted through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).
Through the Welcome Corps on Campus, qualified refugee students can pursue life-changing opportunities to continue their education and build their futures in the United States. The program marks a new era of service opportunities for campus communities—students, faculty, staff and institutional leaders—to support higher education for refugee students forced to flee their homes and leave behind the communities they’ve built.
We are thrilled to launch the Welcome Corps on Campus, a transformative cornerstone of our private sponsorship program that will support refugees whose opportunity to pursue higher education was cut short. Education is a powerful tool for personal advancement that contributes to the strength of our country. 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, said Julieta Valls Noyes, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the U.S. Department of State.
About the Program
A first-of-its-kind program for refugee students, the Welcome Corps on Campus links higher education access to resettlement through the USRAP, which provides a path to permanent legal status in the United States. Participating U.S. higher education institutions will enroll refugee students in degree programs, and Campus Private Sponsor Groups will commit to supporting their resettlement through private sponsorship. Together, they will play an instrumental role in refugee students’ journey toward long-term integration in the United States.
The Welcome Corps on Campus is implemented by a consortium of nonprofit organizations to establish private sponsorship of refugee students at U.S. campuses through the USRAP, in alignment with the goals of the Welcome Corps. Led by the Community Sponsorship Hub, the consortium includes organizations with expertise in higher education and refugee resettlement: Every Campus A Refuge, the Institute of International Education, the National Association of System Heads (NASH), the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, and World University Service of Canada (WUSC).
Colleges and universities have a rich legacy of welcoming refugees, embracing the diversity of perspectives and backgrounds that newcomers bring to America. The Welcome Corps on Campus builds on that tradition and increases the United States’ resettlement capacity while leveraging campus ecosystems as welcoming communities, where refugee students have access not only to education, but also essential resettlement services including housing, healthcare, and social services.
Through the program, colleges and universities will mobilize Campus Private Sponsor Groups–composed of peer students, faculty, and staff–to provide academic, financial, and resettlement assistance to newly arriving refugee students for their first year. Groups will also develop a plan for sustainably supporting refugee students for the remainder of their studies. The Welcome Corps on Campus creates opportunities to welcome refugee students, tapping into the vibrancy of campus communities to guide refugee students in pursuing higher education, making cultural and social connections, and adapting to American life on and off campus.
Join us for the upcoming webinar "Welcome Corps on Campus: Information Session for AACRAO Members" on December 14 from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. (ET).