This paper presents new insights into the relationship between inequality in access to higher education and social stratification through the analytical lens of refugees’ access to high participation systems of higher education (HPS). Taking stock of the growing numbers of refugees and their increasing-yet still marginal-demand for accessing higher education, the paper analyses the specific statuses and rights they are granted, and how they combine in two European Higher Education Area HPS, England and Germany. The comparative analysis draws on the desk-based study of immigration and access to higher education policies and mechanisms for refugees in the two countries. The concept of assemblage is called upon to highlight how complex combinations of asylum, welfare and access to higher education policies lead to differential rights which create different spaces of opportunity for refugees with higher education aspirations. More generally, analysing how these rights intersect allows for a better understanding of inequalities in access to higher education.

DOI: 10.3390/socsci7100186
ISSN: 2076-0760