Despite high educational aspirations amongst asylum seekers and refugees (ASRs), scholarship on international student migration and mobility commonly lacks insight deriving from forced migration research. Drawing on qualitative research concerned with Syrian ASRs’ educational aspirations and lived experiences regarding higher education access in Germany, this article speaks to the intersection of refugee and education politics. German Higher Education Institutions commonly subsume ASRs under the more general admission classification of “international students”. While an intentional blindness of the background of non-European Union students in the admission procedure is justified on the grounds of equal treatment, findings indicate that ASRs experience the disregard for their distinct struggles as particularly stifling and disillusioning. At the same time, an analysis of the symbolic significance young ASRs attribute to the student status suggests that educational aspirations are shaped by the prospect to “raise” one’s migration status and identity to that of international students.

DOI: 10.1177/1745499918784764
ISSN: 1745-4999