Educational Barriers and Resources for University Refugee-Background Students

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychological Science

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. April S. Masarik


We aim to explore and understand the refugee-background student experience at Boise State University. Refugee-background students are defined as students who came to the US through the process of displacement, asylum seeking, or refugee resettlement. Studies show that challenges faced by refugee-background students in accessing higher education include economic, cultural, social, and psychological barriers. Previous research on refugee-background students in Australia has found that peer-mentor programs, financial support, and culturally sensitive advisors with accurate information are positive factors that foster student experiences on-campus and academic success. We are currently conducting focus groups to interview refugee-background students about their experience at Boise State University and identify effective resources or ideas that reduce educational barriers. Each focus group is open to five participants and are centered around different themes. The themes are: (1) campus resources; (2) campus barriers; (3) work and family; and (4) social life and sense of belonging. Additionally, we will survey students’ academic performance via GPA. Qualitative and quantitative data will be analyzed using a mixed-methods approach. Findings will be ready for presentation in early April and may inform policies and programs intended to support university students.

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