In numerous countries, the widening participation of underrepresented groups in higher education has become an official part of education policies. However, inequalities continue in some areas, including refugees’ participation. Norway hosts many refugees, but little is known about the social inclusion of refugees into higher education in the country. In this paper, three documents representing Norwegian higher education and integration policies are analysed using an integrated analytical framework constructed from social inclusion and its three main dimensions (access, participation and empowerment) and from a critical discourse analysis. The analysis is conducted to address how social inclusion into higher education is conceptualized, which major discourses underpin the conceptualization and what implications these have for the social inclusion of refugees into higher education in Norway. The article argues that social inclusion is conceptualized from an access dimension signifying the dominance of neoliberal principles in the policy documents. On the contrary, social justice discourses are marginalized and human potential principles are absent from the documents signalling the disempowerment of refugees in relation to higher education. Future policies should incorporate conscious and clear strategies informed by social justice and empowerment principles to ensure the social inclusion of refugees into higher education.

DOI: 10.1177/1478210319878327
ISSN: 1478-2103