Refugee School Impact Program

The Refugee School Impact (RSI) program provides grants to state and state-alternative programs to support school districts impacted by school-aged refugees and ORR eligible populations.

Program services focus on new arrivals and those who have been in the U.S. five years or less and continue to face integration and academic challenges. Both youth and their families may receive services from the Refugee School Impact program.

Services Provided

The central goal of the Refugee School Impact program is to strengthen academic performance and to aid the social adjustment of newly arriving refugee youth.

States are encouraged to design services according to the needs of their communities and schools through partnerships with state school officials, resettlement agencies, health and mental health providers, community-and faith-based organizations, and other local service providers.

Funding may be used to provide:

  • Culturally and linguistically appropriate materials, such as special programs or activities, translation services, and interpreter services
  • Activities during and outside school hours, such as after-school classes, weekend tutorials, and online assistance
  • Specialized services such as cultural orientation, refugee parent/teacher meetings, and school orientation
  • Programming that supports integration into the school system, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) sessions, mentoring, and group activities
  • Useful metrics on academic performance, such as high school graduation rates, accomplishment of required course work, and improved academic performance levels

Schools are an important component for integration for refugee youth and their parents. Local Refugee Student Impact programs help refugee youth and their families connect to the school and larger community, cultivate cultural awareness for both the refugees and the communities in which they resettle, promote civic engagement, and enhance language skills.

Eligibility for Funding

States and state-alternative programs receive funding for Refugee School Impact as a Refugee Support Services (RSS) Formula “Set-Aside” program. States and state-alternative programs sub-contract with local school systems or social service providers to administer the programs and provide direct services.

Refugee School Impact Program funding is available in states receiving more than 35 eligible population arrivals between the ages of 5-18 during the previous fiscal year. To learn more about the Refugee School Impact program, view our Dear Colleague Letter 18-01.

Contact your State Refugee Coordinator (SRC) to find local Refugee School Impact programs.