SFU WUSC Student Refugee Program

SFU International Services for Students (ISS) provides support services for SFU students who identify as refugees or newcomers. SFU also partners with World University Services of Canada (WUSC) to directly sponsor refugee students via the Student Refugee Program (SRP).

In addition, there are opportunities for SFU students to get involved in refugee-related projects and initiatives both at SFU and in the community. 

Did You Know?

By attending SFU, you are directly helping a refugee student achieve a university education. That’s right! Every SFU undergraduate and graduate student pays a small levy into their Student Activity Fees, which in turn supports a refugee student attending university at SFU. Refugee students are sponsored (books, tuition and some living costs) by over 95 universities across Canada. 

Because of war, conflict, and/or political repression, young children and youth are often forced to flee their home country, only to face the harsh conditions of life in a refugee camp. Opportunities for higher education are virtually non-existent, leaving many bright and talented students unable to achieve their academic goals. The Student Refugee Program (SRP) is the only one of its kind to combine resettlement with opportunities for higher education.


World University Services of Canada (WUSC)

Since 1978, WUSC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) has allowed people who have had their education interrupted by conflict and persecution continue their studies in post-secondary institutions across Canada. The program supports over 130 refugee students per year through active partnerships with over 80 Canadian campuses.

Being one of the campuses partnered with WUSC, SFU has been sponsoring students since 1981 and an overwhelming majority of students have successfully completed their degrees and found stable jobs. 

SFU Student Refugee Program

The Student Refugee Program is highly competitive: WUSC receives hundreds of applications every year and can only sponsor approximately 80 of those individuals who apply. Once refugees are identified as potential candidates ( i.e. they meet the criteria), they are evaluated on their secondary school grades, their English and/or French language skills, and on their perceived ability to successfully resettle in Canada. Before being accepted, candidates must also successfully undergo in-depth interviews with WUSC, IRCC and partner officials, and they must pass medical and security tests organized by IRCC.

Crucial to the program’s success is its unique youth-to-youth sponsorship model which empowers young Canadian students to play an active role in the sponsorship of refugee students by forming a campus-driven Local Committee. Once refugees have been selected, WUSC matches each successful candidate with a particular Local Committee and postsecondary institution, taking into account the refugee’s personal needs and preferences, the sponsoring Local Committee’s capacity, and the institution’s admission requirements. The SFU WUSC Local Committee works with International Services for Students staff and faculty mentors to do the pre-arrival preparation of the sponsored refugee students, integration of students to SFU and the Lower Mainland, and providing the social and material support during their transition.