Integrating Refugees in Higher Education – The “Integra” Funding Programme

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Integra enables academically qualified refugees at German universities and preparatory colleges to prepare for admission to regular degree programmes. The measures integrate them in the higher education sector as quickly as possible.


No topic has dominated media reports in recent months quite as much as the refugee situation in Germany, Europe and the countries bordering crisis areas. For years the DAAD has provided assistance to crisis- and war-torn regions of the world in the form of scholarships and support measures for higher education projects. In response to the refugee situation, the DAAD has taken steps to reaffirm and strengthen its commitment to refugee students. Over the past few months the DAAD has developed programmes with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to help refugee students integrate successfully into Germany’s higher education system and gain admission to or continue a degree programme.

Programme objectives

The Integra programme is part of a comprehensive package of DAAD measures for which the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has allocated a total of 100 million euros until 2019. The programme aims to help academically qualified refugees gain a foothold at German universities by offering them language instruction and subject-related preparatory courses.

German universities are currently grappling with a variety of new challenges as they work to integrate student refugees. Their measures focus on offering the students preparatory subject-related courses and language instruction at universities and preparatory colleges.
The refugees currently arriving in Germany possess varying degrees of academic training and skills. To help them enrol more quickly in regular degree programmes and increase their chances of graduating, it is important to assess their German language proficiency and academic skills prior to admission (e.g. with the funding of such tests as onSET, TestAS and the uni-assist services in the years 2016 to 2019). It is often necessary to provide academic counselling to assess their individual aptitude and need for university-preparatory measures.

The Integra programme aims to provide academically qualified refugees access to higher education as early as possible. Depending on their state of residence, refugees are entitled by law to pursue higher education irrespective of their asylum status. By implementing measures which promote integration into German academic life and its higher education infrastructure, the students can forge a close bond to their respective university. To this end, the participants are introduced to language-based and subject-related propaedeutic instruction. The overall goal is to successfully integrate academically qualified refugees at German universities and enable them to pursue regular study in the long term.

Funded by:

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DAAD - Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - German Academic Exchange Service