The University of Regina is providing matching dollars to support a program that helps refugees with the costs of being a student.

The students' union already collects $100,000 for the program, through a levy on student fees.

Vianne Timmons, president of the U of R, announced Friday that the institution will match that amount.

The money helps refugees pay for tuition, books, rent and clothing. Over the years, dozens of refugee students from places such as Afghanistan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia and the Sudan have studied at the U of R.

URSU, the U of R Student's Unions, is working with a local chapter of World University of Canada which runs the Student Refugee Program (SRP).

U of R students pay a levy of $4.25 in the fall and winter semesters to URSU, which adds up to an annual contribution of about $100,000.

"University faculty, staff and students have worked with WUSC since 1979, and over that time have helped nearly 60 refugees study here," Timmons said in a statement released Friday. "In light of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Middle East and Europe, I believe it is more important than ever for the University as an institution to support our students' efforts. For that reason, I have committed that the University of Regina will match the levy contributions made by our students for this academic year and beyond."

"WUSC has been a second chance for me to live a safe, meaningful and dignified life," Patience Umereweneza, a former SRP student, said in a news release about the announcement. "It gave me a new home, a new country and the education to thrive and contribute. I am extremely thankful to the University for this added support."

The university was contributing up to $20,000 per year in scholarships to help refugees pursue their studies. The matched funding will see the University provide approximately $100,000 in additional funds this year, which will be added to the amount already provided by the URSU through its student levy.