According to the UN Refugee Agency, only 1 percent of refugees enroll into a college or university due to the tremendous obstacles encountered with being displaced, being forced to navigate a foreign educational system, and being able to pay the huge cost of attending college. While our college planning cohort program provides comprehensive guidance and serves an important support role in assisting students in constructing practical college-bound plans, it is important for any student to identify and maximize all available resources. Students who are considered refugees admitted under section 207 of the immigration and Nationality Act (INA) may have access to resources and support to assist in pursuing their college and career aspirations. This activity focuses on assisting students in identifying some of the requirements and support offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

A refugee is defined as any person who is outside the country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside the country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

Individuals and their family members granted refugee status overseas by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are brought to the United States for resettlement by the U.S. Department of State. Through a wide range of programs and benefits, the Department of State, Voluntary agencies and ORR assist refugees’ resettlement and integration into the U.S.

Refugees are eligible to receive ORR benefits and services from their date of arrival in the U.S.


  • Identify the type of resources available to support your educational and career aspirations
  • Identify the type of resources that you will need prior to entering college, and after entering college, to maximize your opportunity for college success.
  • Identify the type of postsecondary institution (i.e., trade school, 2-year technical or community college, or 4-year college or university), which represents the most direct, and cost effective pathway to achieving your educational and career aspirations.

Estimated time to complete: Undetermined.

Guiding Questions

  • Do the colleges on my preliminary college list provide a good match to the level of academic and financial support that I need?
  • Based on my understanding of the level of academic and financial support that I need to complete college, what additional colleges should I add to my college list?