Refugee School Impact Program eligibility guidelines

The United Nations (UN) defines a refugee as “a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country.”

The Office of Refugee Resettlement defines “refugee children” as those who are eligible for refugee social services. This category includes:

  • Refugees
  • Asylees
  • Cuban and Haitian entrants under section 501 of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-422)
  • Certain Amerasians from Vietnam who are admitted to the U.S. as immigrants under section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, as included in the FY 1988 Continuing Resolution (Pub. L. 100-202)
  • Certain Amerasians from Vietnam who are U.S. citizens under Title II of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1989 (Pub. L.100-461), 1990 (Pub. L.101-167), and 1991 (Pub. L 101-513)
  • Victims of a severe form of trafficking who receive certification or eligibility letters from ORR and certain family members who have been programed derivative T visas (see 45 CFR 400.43 and ORR State Letters Number 01-13 as modified by State Letter Number 02-01 and Number 04-12 on trafficking victims)
  • Children classified as Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJs) receiving services from Office of Refugee Resettlement-funded Unaccompanied Refugee Minor programs
  • Iraqi and Afghan children with Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)

For convenience, the term “refugee” is used to encompass all such eligible persons. All State Letters issued by the ORR are found in the Policy Guidance section of their website.


Contact our Refugee School Impact Program Project Director, Pang Chang, at