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Southern N.H. University to Expand Refugee Degree Programs

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Courtesy of SNHU
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SNHU's first group of graduates at the Kiziba refugee camp in Rwanda.

Two years ago, Southern New Hampshire University began a new program, offering college degrees to refugees in Rwanda. Now, after graduating its first class last month, the school is expanding the program from one refugee camp to five.

The school’s pilot program at a refugee camp in Rwanda graduated 16 students last month. Weeks later it received an anonymous donation of $10 million to offer this program in other locations.

University President Paul LeBlanc says this September his team will go to Lebanon to begin enrolling Syrian refugees in that country.

“We are going to build out programs in construction management, counseling for trauma, frontline healthcare, things that people are going to need as they go back to start to rebuild with the basics,” LeBlanc said, adding that the school's hoping to also have sites in Kenya as well.

The set-up is a mix of in-person and on-line instruction tied with local internships. Annual enrollment is $3,000 per student but refugees are free and LeBlanc says they're working on ways to cut tuition down to $1,000. LeBlanc hopes in five years to have programs up and running at 20 refugee sites.

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