Launched in 2012 at the Clinton Global Initiative, the Institute of International Education (IIE) has established a consortium of colleges and universities providing scholarships for Syrian students whose education has been disrupted by the conflict. In 2013, IIE and the original partners of Jusoor, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the US Department of State joined with new partners, including the Portugal-led Global Platform for Syrian Students and Kaplan Test Prep International, to expand the IIE Syria Consortium worldwide. With funding of $250,000 from the US Department of State and $500,000 from Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Syria Consortium has provided more than $4.5 million in assistance to 333 Syrian students. To date, the Syria Consortium has supported more than 500 students.
What is Next?
With the crisis in Syria showing no signs of abating, it is clear that ongoing support is needed for Syrian students to continue their education and academic work. While the world struggles to meet the basic needs of millions of Syrian refugees, IIE and its partners are making sure that higher education is not neglected.
IIE will work with the Syria Consortium partners and its network to explore additional scholarship opportunities for Syrian students to offer them a safe haven where they can continue their academic work and obtain the skills needed to preserve the leadership that will be needed to rebuild. As IIE receives additional funds, mechanisms like the Syria Consortium and the Emergency Student Fund will continue to provide Syrian students with the support needed to pursue their U.S. degree program. In addition, the Syria Consortium will also serve more actively as a clearinghouse, connecting Syrian students with other scholarships available, such as those currently underway in Germany, the UK, and Mexico.
Emergency Student Fund for Syrian Refugees in Jordan
IIE is piloting a project to provide scholarships to Syrian refugee students in Jordan to continue their education at nearby universities. This pragmatic model leverages IIE's experience in implementing the Emergency Student Fund (ESF) program by supporting students who have already enrolled at Jordanian universities and remain in good academic standing but who have dropped out (or are at risk of dropping out) for financial reasons. The program prioritizes students in fields critical to rebuilding Syria. The first scholarship recipients resumed their studies in fall 2015.