Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Programme Initiative (DAFI)

Since 1992, the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Programme (DAFI, referred to by its German acronym Deutsche Akademische Flüchtlingsinitiative – DAFI) has provided scholarships to more than 10, 000 deserving refugees worldwide to study at universities in their host country and, more recently, in their country of origin upon return.

Financed by the Government of Germany, DAFI has been and remains a unique opportunity for refugees to continue higher education while outside their country of origin. Through scholarships for university education, DAFI contributes to the search for durable solutions for individuals of concern under UNHCR’s mandate, who through this support have been enabled to provide vital support towards the reconstruction of conflict affected countries.

As the annual competition for scholarships is exceedingly high, only refugees who fulfil established criteria can be admitted to the programme. DAFI scholarships are provided strictly for one academic year at a time.  Extension is subject to demonstration of satisfactory performance and availability of funds.

Applications for 2022 Scholarships closed on 26 November 2021

Who can apply

To be eligible, candidates should normally meet all the following criteria:

  • be in possession of a valid Refugee Permit/Section 24;
  • have successfully completed secondary school with grades above the average standard;
  • have no other means of support for tertiary education studies;
  • should be below 35 years old for undergraduate studies;
  • must be admitted at a government owned institution for full time studies and should have obtained a letter of admission or provisional admission letter;
  • study courses, such as medicine or engineering, are exceptionally granted on a case-by-case basis and normally only to students who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance.

Bursary details

The DAFI Scholarship will cover costs (capped) for the following:

  • Annual registration/tuition fees;
  • Annual book allowance;
  • A monthly subsistence allowance covering basic expenses, such as food, local travel and rent during the semester;
  • A monthly data allowance;
  • Medical Aid.

Selection criteria

  • The selection of students to be awarded a DAFI scholarship takes place once a year and is conducted by the DAFI Selection Committee which consist of representatives from UNHCR, StudyTrust, UNISA, and the German Embassy.
  • The main criteria used in the selection of successful applicants are academic potential and a consideration of background conditions.
  • Applicants must have achieved an average of 65% and above for their undergraduate degree.

How to apply

  • Application forms are not currently available as 2022 applications closed on 26 November 2021. When applications reopen for 2023 forms will be  available from StudyTrust, the UNHCR, and UNHCR implementing partners:
    • Lawyers for Human Rights
    • Future Families
    • Hand In Hand Development Southern Africa
    • Refugee Social Services
    • Zoe-Life Innovative Solutions
    • Adonis Musati Project
    • University of Cape Town (UCT) Refugee Rights Unit
    • Nelson Mandela University (NMU) Refugee Rights Centre
    • Eastern Cape Refugee Centre (ECRC).
  • Enquiries relating to the DAFI scholarship should be submitted directly to StudyTrust by email using this address: dafi.applications@studytrust.org.za.

Closing date

  • The closing date for 2022 DAFI Scholarship applications was 26 November 2021. Applications are now closed.
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StudyTrust is an educational trust and public benefit organisation, that connects learners with potential to their study opportunities.

We administer bursaries and scholarships, provide mentoring and support to help tertiary students thrive academically and personally.


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