‘This is two different worlds, you have the asylum world and you have the study world’: an exploration of refugee participation in online Irish higher education
This qualitative study explores the transition experiences of refugees to study online in Dublin City University (DCU). Asylum seekers face financial, structural, cultural and digital equity barriers to access higher education (HE). In response to these barriers to access, DCU became a ‘University of Sanctuary’ in 2017, offering scholarships to refugees. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews. Four themes were constructed in the data-led thematic analysis: asylum world, belonging to the DCU community, the personal impact of studying and study world. Overall, this study strengthens the idea that access programmes such as the University of Sanctuary scholarships can facilitate participation in HE for refugees, provided that the necessary support to address the financial, structural, cultural and digital equity barriers is in place.
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