The programme NRWege ins Studium (NRWege Pathways into Studying) supports higher education institutions throughout North Rhine-Westphalia in their endeavours to successfully integrate refugees. Specialist and language preparatory courses, guidance and support during studying, and scholarships to finance living expenses provide comprehensive support, ensure long-term academic success, and prepare students optimally for their entry into working life.
Since its launch in 2017, the programme has provided numerous refugees with the opportunity to benefit from the NRWege ins Studium programme. More than 7,600 persons have already taken part in language and specialised courses preparing them for or accompanying them during their studies at a total of 30 higher education institutions (as of June 2021). Students with a refugee status participate in up to 10,000 guidance meetings each year, optimally preparing them for their entry into higher education and providing them with effective support throughout their studies. Preparation for and accompaniment of higher education is, naturally, primarily focused on improving language skills, which are indispensable for entry and success in a degree course. In addition, however, higher education institutions also provide numerous other services to accompany and integrate refugees and international students over the long term. From preparatory workshops (learning and writing guidance), psychological support and further training (Competence Empowerment Center, trauma awareness) to practical training for the labour market and targeted support for specific target groups: the diversity and commitment of the higher education institutions is impressive.
Funding within the programme enables the higher education institutions to conduct individually tailored language and specialist courses. Furthermore, it enables them to establish a comprehensive infrastructure that guarantees guidance and support for refugees, which can also be extended to include international students in general. This creates networks and far-reaching structures for the development of a higher education landscape that is open to diverse cultures and which makes a sustainable contribution to the internationalisation of North Rhine-Westphalian higher education institutions.
However, success in studying is not only dependent on academic preparation, but also on financial security. Anxiety about how to finance their living costs and course fees is particularly prevalent in students with a refugee status and has, therefore, been a key topic in countless guidance sessions attended in recent years. To alleviate the burden that many students experience and enable them to focus on their studies, since 2020 North Rhine-Westphalian higher education institutions have been offering various scholarships to exceptionally talented and motivated students with a refugee status.