Australian Journal of Education

Article Title

Are Universities Responding to the Needs of Students from Refugee Backgrounds?


Although many Australian universities have been proactive in responding to students’ diverse needs through orientation and support programs, very little is known about programmes for the successful transition of refugee students into tertiary study. Facilitating the early engagement of students with their studies and campus life is linked to greater student satisfaction, improved retention rates and better educational outcomes. One of the challenges that academics face is the paucity of research on the learning styles and academic needs of African and Middle Eastern refugee students. This paper reports on a needs analysis conducted with refugee students in Victoria and Western Australia using in-depth interviews and focus groups. Participants reported that current support systems and programs are inadequate or non-existent and that many feel disadvantaged compared to Australian born and international students. The paper concludes with recommendations for how universities can better respond to the needs of students from refugee backgrounds.