Gaining access to higher education without bureaucratic boundaries is a serious concern for refugees. In Europe, and Germany in particular, there are several obstacles refugees face when trying to enter higher education study programs (e.g., laws, missing documents). Further, students with a migration background are more prone to dropping out of university study programs than those without. Although studies of the integration and academic success of refugees in higher education are scarce, the challenges arising from these issues are apparent.
The Success and Opportunities for Refugees in Higher Education research project SUCCESS has been launched to investigate the effectiveness of a new online study program offered through the Kiron Open Higher Education (Kiron) learning platform which comprises online study programs based on Massive Open Online Courses, involves assessment of knowledge and skills, and provides support measures for students to improve the study opportunities, teaching-learning processes, and academic success of refugees.
Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany, the SUCCESS project will be conducted from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2019. SUCCESS is carried out not only by Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, which is in charge of the project leadership of the cooperative project, and the start-up Kiron Open Higher Education, but also by RWTH Aachen University, which focuses on using online self-assessments as an advisory instrument and as a source of information for refugees, and Munich University of Applied Sciences, which examines further complementary measures.
Insights gained into how refugees can study effectively and achieve long-term success at university can be transferred to other contexts and guide further research. SUCCESS provides unique data outlining great challenges for higher education teaching, learning, and examination that students and higher education institutions have to face in relation to diversity and academic success, in particular, regarding the continuously increasing growing number of non-native speaker students.