My Independent Study project explores refugee students’ views on higher education and the role educators play in developing these views. I hypothesized that the greater the knowledge and understanding that educators had of the refugee population and experience, the more impactful they would be on refugee students’ perspectives on higher education. I conducted my research by interviewing eighteen participants, nine refugees and nine educators who either graduated from or work for the same high school in a small New England city. The data shows that although refugee students often placed educators as their biggest influences in regards to their education, the educator sample believed parents and peers to play the biggest role on their perspectives on higher education. Furthermore, it was not enough to have supportive teachers, coaches, and school officials and policies in place to impact these perspectives – structured, college-readiness programs were the most beneficial to refugee students and their ability to navigate the college system.


Guillén, Jennifer


Sociology and Anthropology


Social and Cultural Anthropology


Refugee, education, higher education, role of educators

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Elizabeth V. Hart