1. DAFI Scholarship Programme
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey provides a limited number of scholarships for refugees at the tertiary level in Turkish state universities through the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund (DAFI).
The purpose of the DAFI Programme is to contribute to the self-reliance of refugees by providing them with a professional qualification that will support employment, and build the resilience and capacity of the refugee community. DAFI scholarship holders also serve as role models for their communities and are expected to engage in community support projects during the period of their studies.
The DAFI Programme is implemented in more than 40 countries across the world, including Turkey, and is funded by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
2. The DAFI Scholarship Programme in Turkey
In Turkey, the DAFI scholarship programme is implemented in partnership with the Türkiye Burslari Programme, which is managed by the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (Yurtdışı Türkler ve Akraba Topluluklar Başkanlığı - YTB).
3. Nature of studies which are supported
Scholarships are granted only for studies in Turkey at a Turkish university. No international scholarships are granted under the DAFI scholarship programme.
The scholarships are for under-graduate study, with preference being given to fields of study that will enable refugees to contribute effectively to their communities after graduation – either in the country in which they currently reside or on return to their country of origin.
DAFI also supports the completion of two-year occupationally directed degree programmes offered by Turkish universities.
4. Scholarship allowances
DAFI scholarship aims to cover the basic costs that are associated with university study including:
Tuition costs (university registration and academic fees)
Living expenses (including accommodation, local transport, food and personal expenses)
All scholarships for refugee students in Turkey have the same financial value.
5. Eligibility for the DAFI Scholarship programme
Important: The DAFI Turkiye Scholarship Programme is only open to Syrian nationals (and Palestinian Refugees from Syria and stateless persons from Syria) who entered Turkey after April 2011.
In order to apply for the scholarship programme, you should:
Have proof of registration with Turkish authorities – in the form of residence permit (ikamet izin belgsi), temporary protection identification document (gecici koruma kimlik belgesi) or the Foreigners Identification Card (Yabanci Tanitma Karti);
Be between 18 and 26 years old;
Have successfully completed secondary schooling and have obtained good academic scores (grades);
Have proof of secondary school completion recognised by Turkish Ministry of National Education. Students should either have sat for Grade 12 Equivalency Exam administered by MoNE or have obtained “denklik” (equivalency certificate) if Grade 12 was completed in Syria.
Be interested in studying a course that will contribute to improving your community and to be able to lead to future employment in Syria (e.g. commerce, building sciences, engineering, social and behavioural sciences, education, psychology);
Have a desire to contribute to your community – during and after your studies; and
Select a choice of study course with maximum four years duration.
6. Language proficiency requirements
It is desirable that students be sufficiently proficient in the language of instruction (Turkish or English) that they are able to immediately enrol in their course of study.
Students who have language proficiency certificates (such as TOMER or TOEFL/ IELTS) should include them with their application. Universities may ask for proof of language proficiency.
A very limited number of scholarships for language support programmes (TOMER) are available as part of the DAFI scholarship programme. Candidates with excellent academic records will be considered for one-year Turkish language support programmes if they have not already obtained C1 TOMER certificates.
7. Selection procedures
The selection process normally involves several steps: review of application, interviews and final selection. Due to the limited number of scholarship places available, please keep in mind that only a limited number of candidates who meet the selection criteria can be selected.
8. Reasons that a DAFI scholarship may be discontinued
DAFI scholarships are awarded for one year at a time. Successful students can expect that their scholarship will be renewed. UNHCR/ DAFI has the right to terminate scholarships for the following reasons:
repeated failure of examinations
failure to submit study progress reports
double sponsorship (students may not hold any other scholarships in addition to the DAFI scholarship)
cheating in examinations
gross personal misconduct
Information prepared by UNHCR Turkey