Why didn’t they do this before now? Were there no refugees while Obama was president?

From the Columbia website:

First University-Wide Scholarship Program for Displaced Students

More than 70.8 million people around the world have been forced from their homes by violence, persecution and other human rights violations. Almost 26 million of these individuals are classified as refugees by the United Nations. Only 3 percent of them will ever enroll in a college or university.

To address this crisis, Columbia is announcing a Scholarship for Displaced Students. Administered by the Columbia Global Centers, it will provide support for up to 30 students annually to receive tuition, housing and living assistance while pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees across all 18 Columbia schools and affiliate institutions. This University-wide scholarship is unprecedented in Columbia’s history and is the first such initiative in the world.

“We are very proud of the Columbia Scholarship for Displaced Students,” said University President Lee C. Bollinger. “The program sends a powerful message about the role that colleges and universities should be playing to help young people whose educations have been disrupted because they have been forced to flee violence and persecution in their home countries.”

This program represents a monumental undertaking for Columbia, one that has the potential to transform global education for displaced students. It represents a significant investment of resources and cuts across schools, disciplines and demographics. It also builds on work that schools like the Mailman School of Public Health, School of Social Work, Law School, School of International and Public Affairs, Teachers College and the Earth Institute are doing on issues related to forced migration.


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