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New partnership supports colleges serving displaced students

FRANKFORT, Ky. — State and national education organizations are coming together to launch a community of practice to support Kentucky colleges and universities that serve students who have been displaced by crises in their home countries.

The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) is partnering with the National Association of System Heads (NASH) to provide a forum to share and scale proven practices to support displaced students. The practice community will also offer professional development and resources for faculty and staff around recruitment, admissions, support services and funding opportunities.

“This program will help institutions strengthen their campus services and policies to provide a welcoming environment for displaced students, integrate them into campus life and support their success,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “These students have a lot to offer our state and will be an important part of building a strong workforce.”

The community of practice stems from a new scholarship program to support displaced undergraduate students, designed and implemented by CPE and the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA). The scholarships are funded by a $10 million appropriation by the General Assembly. The Innovative Scholarship Pilot Program makes financial assistance available to traditional or nontraditional-aged, documented foreign national students who have received U.S. asylum, submitted a U.S. asylum application, or are a resettled refugee, or in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status, humanitarian parole or through a special immigrant visa.

NASH will work alongside CPE and KHEAA to convene participating institutions to:

  • Share lessons learned from each institution.
  • Design information briefings/webinars with campus staff and leadership implementing the scholarship program.
  • Troubleshoot challenges and or gaps in integrating displaced students.
  • Learn best practices from others who have stood up for similar programs to support displaced students and other forcibly displaced persons.
  • Receive training from national partners with technical expertise in displaced student resettlement and higher education.
  • They will cover topics that impact the success and sustainability of the scholarship program, including mental health support, legal assistance, overseas processing and language support.

The community of practice is also supported by the Community Sponsorship Hub, Institute of International Education and The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. The first community of practice meeting was held on Friday, Sept. 16.

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