Refugee School Impact Program

Policy Letter 19-01

Publication Date: October 16, 2018

Date: October 16, 2018

This policy letter describes the Refugee School Impact (RSI) program. The RSI program provides funding for activities that lead to the effective integration and education of eligible youth.1 The letter defines RSI’s goals, eligible populations, and reporting and monitoring. For information about funding allocations, please see the Dear Colleague letter on RSI Funding Allocations on the ORR website.

Program Goals and Services
The RSI program’s goals are to promote the academic performance and successful integration of refugee youth and other youth served by ORR.2 To accomplish these goals, grantees that receive RSI funding should focus their efforts in following areas.

  • Specialized services and support for eligible youth.
    • Examples of services include ESL classes, tutoring, newcomer or transitional programs, after school and summer programs, mentoring, behavioral health supports, and programming that supports integration.
  • Support for families learning to navigate the U.S. education system.
    • Examples of services include school-specific orientation for both families and students, navigators or cultural brokers, and language access.
  • Capacity development for school systems, including education and training for staff around the unique and varied needs of refugees, and access to necessary resources.
    • Examples of services include specialized trainings for school staff, ensuring language access by offering translated documentation, interpretation, and specialized staff dedicated to working with the population.

The above-mentioned examples are not exhaustive.

Grantees must provide services in accordance with 45 C.F.R. Part 400. Services must be available at a variety of times including during school hours, after school, during the weekend, or online. Grantees should implement systems for evaluating the effectiveness of the services provided. Grantees should direct funding to localities with the greatest need for RSI services based on existing resources and concentration of newly arrived ORR-eligible youth in the local schools.

Eligible Populations
Grantees may provide RSI program services to all ORR-eligible individuals, ages 5-18. ORR-eligible youth older than 18 are eligible if the person is enrolled in high school or a high school equivalent GED program.

Grantees may provide services to ORR-eligible youth within the first five years of their arrival but recipients should prioritize services to youth who have been in the United States for one year or less.

Reporting and Monitoring
Recipients must report all RSI activities, accomplishments, and challenges in the ORR-6. The ORR-6 forms, instructions, and reporting schedule are available on the ORR web site. The narrative must include information about the number of clients served, the type and frequency of services provided, program initiatives, and challenges and accomplishments in administering the program.

ORR monitors the RSI program to ensure that the services provided meet the needs of ORR-eligible populations. Recipients are responsible for monitoring sub-grantees. ORR will assess how services are provided and identify promising practices and trends for further analysis and information sharing.

If you have questions about the information in this Policy Letter, please contact your Regional Representative.

E. Scott Lloyd, Director
Office of Refugee Resettlement


1. Section 412(c) of the Refugee Act authorizes the Director of ORR to allocate funds to states for specific needs recognized by the director.
2. For a description of ORR-eligible individuals please see Policy Letter 16-1, 45 CFR 400.43, 45 CFR 400.111, and 45 CFR 400.208.

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