ASU offers scholarship to Arab students in historic partnership

ASU partners with Al Ghurair to provide master's degree scholarships to Arab students

The Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) has partnered with ASU to provide two types of scholarships to students in the Arab world. 

The foundation provides scholarships to Arab students aged 15 to 30 who want to pursue a graduate degree in the STEM fields at ASU. 

The foundation was already partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but it wanted to expand into providing online scholarships. MIT recommended ASU’s robust online program, said Lisa Flesher, director of strategic initiatives for EdPlus, which works to develop online curricula at ASU.

“The two initiatives are Open Learning Scholars and STEM Scholars program. OLS is an online masters program and STEM Scholars is campus-based, where students come to Arizona to study,” she said.

The OLS scholarship is the first of its kind in the Arab world, providing a full online master's program in 28 STEM fields. The STEM Scholars program not only covers tuition but also housing, health insurance and a monthly allowance.

The applications for the scholarships open three times a year and are awarded to students who are high-achieving and in need of financial help.

Flesher said these opportunities are unique, especially the OLS program, as “online education is not as widely accepted as much in the Arab region as it is in the United States."

“Our aligned mission in this partnership is to break down barriers to students pursuing a higher education," she said. "It’s not about who we exclude but about who we include which is very important."

Jad Aboul Hosn, one of the first three STEM Scholar students to attend ASU, said he found about the scholarship after the Al Ghurair Foundation partnered with his undergraduate university, the American University of Beirut. He’s studying computer engineering and has a year to go before earning his graduate degree. 

“It’s a great opportunity to come to Arizona. The scholarship has allowed me to target bigger opportunities and challenges that will help me in my career development," he said. 

Hosn recommends students to apply for the OLS program “if they want to stay in the Arab region and not relocate," he said. "There’s a stigma in the region about online programs, but there shouldn’t be a fear of it."

Tahani Al-Durazi, a political science sophomore at the Lebanese American University in Lebanon, is looking ahead to graduate program scholarships and considering ASU.

“There is a real lack of opportunities for students who are looking for master’s scholarships in the region," Al-Durazi said. "AGFE is the first to provide a scholarship for an online master’s program which is essential for students who want to stay and reduce the emerging trend of ‘brain drain’ that’s affecting the region."

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