Caltech joined seven peer institutions on Monday, December 19, to launch the Global Student Haven Initiative (GSHI), a new consortium that aims to support more effectively student refugees from around the world. The GSHI provides a clear pathway for students to apply and access resources that may allow them to attend the participating U.S.-based colleges and universities.
The initiative was developed in response to the war in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, two recent global crises that resulted in a call for higher education institutions to support displaced academics and prospective international students. The participating institutions—Bowdoin College, Caltech, Dartmouth College, New York University, Pomona College, Smith College, Trinity College, and Williams College—have committed to provide financial aid for all admitted student refugees with demonstrated need, as well as to provide access to campus services, including such necessities as housing and mental health support.
"As political crises continue to roil the world, students are often caught in the crossfire or, as in the recent protests in Iran, become the direct subjects of government attacks," says Thomas F. Rosenbaum, the Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and professor of physics. "The Global Haven Initiative helps Caltech, in concert with like-minded partners, serve as a refuge for young scholars in an approachable and affordable manner."
The consortium aims to lower the educational barriers some student refugees face in the midst of crisis, and also to equip and prepare these scholars and researchers for eventual return to their home nation. Prior to this initiative, many of these institutions, including Caltech, worked with displaced students on an individual level. For instance, last spring, Caltech's Undergraduate Admissions office extended the application deadline to the end of June for Ukrainian citizens applying to Caltech. As a result of this effort, Caltech welcomed a student from Kyiv this past fall as part of its first-year class.
"Caltech enrolls some of the best and the brightest STEM students in the world," says Ashley Pallie, director of undergraduate admissions. "For us to reach that goal, it's vital that we eliminate barriers—whether they are related to information, processes, or finances—that make it difficult for students in the midst of enormously challenging circumstances to consider Caltech."
In the coming months and years, the founding institutions hope to expand the partnership to provide refugees better access to other higher education institutions across the country.