In the summer of 2015, thousands of people escaping war and insecurity tried to make their way through Hungary. Large numbers became stuck for some weeks in train stations in Budapest. Along with members of the Budapest civil society, CEU staff, students and faculty worked to provide humanitarian and other assistance. By the end of the summer, as the 'crisis' dissipated, attention turned to those who remained.
The Open Learning Initiative-Weekend Program was organised to provide refugees and asylum seekers access to education, job market training and English language skills. Organised jointly with Migszol (Migrant Solidarity Group of Hungary), OLIve-WP started its programs in January 2016 enrolling up to 45 students per term.
The Open Learning Initiative - University Preparatory Program grew from OLIve WP. Building on expertise at CEU in providing access to education for another marginalised community, the Roma in Europe, OLIve UP aims to prepare students for university through an intensive 10-month program focusing on developing academic knowledge, academic skills and academic English. OLIve UP strives to validate the prior learning of refugees in Europe through a systematic appraisal process and build on this knowledge to help students enter into university and further their inclusion into European society. OLIve UP works to recognise the learning of students who may not have copies of their degrees or who have not completed previous university study.