Refugee Student Program

In some developing countries, getting an education can be dangerous. Whether due to war or political repression, students are often persecuted, imprisoned or forced into exile.

In March 1986, the students at the University of Calgary voted to establish a levy to annually sponsor a refugee student through World University Service of Canada (“WUSC”) in pursuit of a university degree. The fund, which is administered by the Refugee Student Board (RSB), has sponsored 36 students to date and now sponsors two students each year, providing a total of more than $56,000 of funding per student throughout their four years of academic study.

In addition, this program would not be as successful without the generous support of the University of Calgary who every year pays the cost of admission fees, tuition, textbooks, and accommodation for the incoming first year students, totalling approximately $16,000 per student.

The Student Refugee Program enables individual refugees to pursue their education and a better life in an environment free of violence or fear. At the same time it offers students and faculty on Canadian campuses a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about refugee and development issues.

To date, students have come to the University of Calgary from refugee camps from the following countries:

  • Somalia
  • Kenya
  • Sudan
  • Rwanda
  • South Africa
  • Malawi
  • Thailand


Staff, elected officials, members of the Refugee Student Board and family welcomed Console Ufitinema at Calgary International Airport arriving from Malawi. She is one of the 2019-2020 refugee students sponsored by University of Calgary undergraduate students. Also present were representatives from the University of Lethbridge welcoming one of their sponsored students who arrived on the same flight.

Staff and elected officials gathered at the Calgary International Airport to greet Yahye Bashey from Kenya. He is one of the 2019-2020 refugee students sponsored by University of Calgary undergraduate students.


Past Sponsored Refugee Students

  • 2018-19-Refugee-Welcome
  • 2017-18 Group at Airport