Regional study on access-related needs and barriers of TCNs in higher education:

The European University Association, is the representative organization of universities and national rectors. Created in 2001 from the fusion between the Association of European Universities and the Conference of University Rectors of the European Union, EUA is an inter-university network that brings together 850 universities and educational institutions from 47 countries, representing the largest and most comprehensive universities’ organization in Europe (17 million students).
In TandEM’s project framework, EUA will play a key role in identifying and comparing third country nationals’ (TCNs) needs and barriers to access to, and to succeed in, higher education. The study will provide concrete recommendations to remove barriers to access and promote the integration of TCNs into the local higher education communities of Italy, Spain, Croatia, Greece, Malta and Cyprus.
The analysis will cover three main levels: national, institutional and individual.
National level access barriers: considering higher education policy, social policy (e.g. student support systems) and legal status implications (i.e. visa, protection status) of the TCNs.
Institutional level: considering access barriers per se, which may stem from either the strategy, mission or general practice at the institution. Many institutions, who are actively working for refugees and TCNs integration, are already tackling these barriers. Therefore, the study will review these programs, identifying specific challenges and good practices that came with their implementation.
Individual level: considering barriers related to required qualifications, legal status and general needs, together with TCNs and refugees’ expectations when it comes to higher education. Both TCNs/refugees who are currently enrolled in the institutions, as well as those who are not enrolled/interested in study in the target countries will be considered.
The study method is mixed, characterized by an initial explorative survey, a desktop research and some final interviews that will give a hint of direct experiences and narrative to the research.
The first survey will identify major gaps and strengths in the ongoing integration of TCNs and refugees, focusing on potential solutions and/or what is lacking to overcome these challenges.
The desktop research instead, will address gaps and findings of the explorative survey, confirming what barriers are typical of what country, and covering a series of interesting topics: higher education legislation (e.g. admission requirements etc.), social legislation (student support etc.), recognition practices, mapping of different TCN legal statuses and their implications for higher education access, review of existing data.
The study is currently under implementation and data will soon be published here.
More information on EUA on www.eua.be