More refugee scholarships thanks to alumni support

A scholarship programme helping students of refugee backgrounds has gone from strength to strength since being established in 2016.

Funded entirely by University of Auckland alumni and friends, the Scholarship for
Students from Refugee Backgrounds offers up to $5,000 to assist first-year students with their studies. After starting with one scholarship on offer, the programme continues to grow with 12 scholarships set to be given out in 2023.

Professor Jay Marlowe, Co-Director of the University’s Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee
Studies, says students of refugee backgrounds are often likely to face financial barriers after settling in New Zealand and scholarship programmes like these can play a crucial role in helping them access much-needed educational opportunities.

“Education is seen as a critical tool not only for themselves, but for supporting family or even as a community achievement… it's something that's fundamental to many people in terms of what constitutes successful settlement,” he says.

“These scholarships provide that critical catalyst in a way that allows them to actually pursue their education.”

Since the programme began, many recipients have written letters to express their gratitude to all those alumni and friends who have supported the fund.

“This scholarship will allow me to start a new chapter in my life, a fresh start into a whole world of education,” wrote one recipient in 2021.

“I can now attend university without a greater burden on my family, a place that would enable me to learn, grow and take the power of education to inspire and teach others in my society.”

Another recipient said the financial help gave them more confidence to pursue their studies and “become the best version of myself”.

“As I think back to all my parents have given me my entire life, especially making the biggest move halfway across the world to give me a better life, I think about how this scholarship is a first step in my life to give back to them and thank them. The burden this takes off my family is huge, and it could not have been done without the kindness of you all as the donors.”

And it’s not just financial assistance the scholarships provide, Professor Marlowe says there are other intangible benefits too.

“Offering a student a scholarship really provides an important message which is saying something like ‘we actually want you here, you belong here’,” he says.

Media contact

Helen Borne | Communications Manager
Alumni Relations and Development