This chapter looks into semantic associations and potential discourses on refugee students within German higher education organizations (HEOs). The main task of organizational systems is to reduce complexity: they set limits to what is possible and thereby create communicative expectations. The chapter first provides an overview of higher education for refugees in Germany and international research on refugees in higher education. After describing the theoretical framework and empirical basis of this chapter, it shows what reasons the author’s interview partners give for supporting refugee students. Further, the chapter discusses whether and how refugees are seen in the context of HEOs’ internationalization and then broach the issue of changes and developments in semantics of refugee students. Regardless of the positive framing, few academic studies had looked into higher education for refugees, and there was little practical experience with the topic at German HEOs before 2016. Finally, the chapter discusses the author’s results in reference to the initial research questions.


DOI: 10.4324/9780429293399-9

ISBN: 9781000388138; 9780367264574