Southern New Hampshire University has just received $10,000,000 in anonymous donations to expand its refugee education program.
The program, housed inside the Kiziba refugee camp in Rwanda, has just graduated its first 16 students with Associate’s degree. The idea is to have these students graduate with an Associates, intern outside of the refugee camp, then graduate with a Bachelor’s. The instruction, provided in part by the Rwandan nonprofit group Kepler, includes in-person and online schooling to refugees free of charge. With the new donations, SNHU plans to build four more spaces in Kenya, Lebanon, and two undetermined sites with the ultimate goal of educating 50,000 refugees a year at 20 locations by 2022.
According to the United Nations, only 1% of refugees receive higher education. Other programs like Kiron Open Higher Education, Jesuit Worldwide Learning, Borderless Higher Education for Refugees, and The University of the People are helping refugees across the globe achieve degrees, but the SNHU program is the first of its kind to offer an American higher education degree to refugees for free.
Other schools are looking to build similar opportunities; Arizona State University is currently offering an online course with Kepler in Rwanda to test out such a program’s possibility. With SNHU’s success, let’s hope that programs like these continue to grow and educate those in need.
(Courtesy of Southern New Hampshire University)