Twelve Australian universities are working with the Commonwealth government on a plan to give refugees from wars like those in Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine a fast-track to study on their campuses. The group, led by the Australian National University, is devising changes to make it much easier for talented people forced from home by conflict to exchange their refugee camps for study in Australia. The scheme is thought to be in its final stages of discussion between the universities and the Home Affairs department. Under it, people who might have had their higher education interrupted in their home countries by war could continue it in Australia. The ANU's Bronwyn Parry said the aim was "to create life-changing resettlement and educational opportunities for hundreds of students who have been displaced by conflict in recent times, offering them the chance to re-start their educational journeys and to bring their skill and expertise to Australia". Professor Parry has worked on a similar program in Britain. Under it, official bodies identified displaced people who had the potential to study at universities there. A similar program has been running in Canada since 1978. The 12 universities signed up for the "Australian Refugee Welcome University Sponsorship Consortium" are the ANU, the University of Canberra, Charles Darwin University, Charles Sturt University, Curtin University, Deakin University, Griffith University, the University of Melbourne, the University of South Australia, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Tasmania and Victoria University, "But we look forward to expanding the partnership as other universities join," Professor Parry said. The plan follows the federal government's decision to increase the annual Refugee and Humanitarian Program to 20,000 places in the coming year, and to welcome an additional 10,000 refugees over time. Refugees in camps run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees can already get a visa to come to Australia on humanitarian grounds but getting a university education is difficult. Few get in and even fewer succeed in graduating. The innovation in the new plan is to streamline the process by identifying suitable students outside Australia, and to put a network of support in place in the university which accepts them. They find it hard to get student loans and federal funding which is available to Australian students. Help could be as basic as teaching refugees how to negotiate the paperwork of officialdom. If the scheme is backed by the government as expected, and if it works, it would then be expanded. Its proponents say it is the right thing to do on humanitarian grounds but would also benefit Australia by bringing bright people to the country and potentially to the labour force. One refugee from an earlier era welcomed it. Hongsar Channaibanya was forced to flee Myanmar. He said simple advice would have helped his Australian education. "The challenge is that we don't have many mentors. I had to find my own way," he said. He added that there were many talented refugees who would be an asset to Australia if they could find a way of getting an education.