Study Success and Opportunities for Refugees in Higher Education – An Effectiveness Analysis

Students with a migration background, first generation academics, persons without a formal university entrance qualification or students who have been out of school for a prolonged period of time tend to have a higher risk of dropping out of university. Although this is a pressing issue in higher education policy, empirical evidence on effective measures to address these challenges is still scarce.

Federal Ministry of Education and Research

In cooperation with the RWTH Aachen University, the Munich University of Applied Sciences and the University of Mainz, Kiron aims to close this research gap. Within the framework of the project SUCCESS – “Study Success and Opportunities for Refugees in Higher Education – An Effectiveness Analysis” (“Studienerfolg und Studienchancen für Geflüchtete – Wirksamkeitsanalysen”) – the four partners examine the impact of approaches that try to enhance and ensure the sustained study success of refugees over the course of three years. Using the example of Kiron, they seek to understand how refugees can study effectively, and achieve long-term success at university. Thus, the project seeks to strengthen Kiron’s innovative educational online platform, generating broader insights that can be transferred to other contexts and guide further research.

The research project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with a total budget of €1.2 million (January 2017 – December 2019). It also builds on findings from our second project funded by the BMBF – INTEGRAL² – which strives to improve and further refine Kiron’s innovative educational concept.

The research project focuses on three phases: (a) study preparation, (b) online studies with Kiron, and (c) transition to one of Kiron’s partner universities.

The University of Mainz (Prof. Dr. Olga Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia, Chair of Business and Economics Education) takes the project lead, while Kiron is responsible for the recruitment of students and the data collection for quantitative analyses: Kiron students will take part in surveys and interviews, which in turn will provide insights into the question of how higher education for refugees can be delivered more effectively. In return, Kiron will share the results with their students, enabling them to reflect upon their study progress.

We work closely together with our three academic partners, RWTH Aachen University, Munich University of Applied Sciences and University of Mainz, who are evaluating Kiron’s services within SUCCESS as well as implementing new tools to support our students during their studies. The RWTH Aachen University is developing an online-self-assessment tool for prosper students that allows a comparison of interests and expectations for studying and which is especially adapted to the needs and the situation of Kiron’s future students. The University of Mainz is assessing students’ prior knowledge in their respective study subject as well as evaluating the effects of related support services. Munich University of Applied Sciences on the other hand is evaluating Kiron’s study support measures targeted at increasing the study success of refugees.