Pray4Saudi: Number of Saudi students enrolling in universities in the U.S. has increased fivefold
On May 25, 2005, King Abdullah issued a royal decree launching the largest scholarship program in the history of Saudi Arabia. At its inception, the program sent students to study in various universities in the United States. Now, the program has broadened its scope to include other advanced countries. However, the United States remains the top host country for the program.
Students supported by the scholarship program study a myriad courses ranging from medicine to marketing. The immense success of the program paved the way for its renewal in 2010 for another five years.
Since the launch of the scholarship program in 2005 there is a sharp rise in Saudi student enrollment. Eleven thousand, one hundred and eleven Saudi students enrolled in various universities in 2006. That number has seen a fivefold increase. According to the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, in 2012, there were 71,026 enrollments.
Since the inception of the scholarship program in 2005, the Saudi government has invested nearly $5 billion USD. Besides full tuition coverage, scholarships for these Saudi nationals include a monthly stipend for the student, spouse, and children, medical and dental insurance coverage, and annual round-trip airline tickets to Saudi Arabia for the students and their families.
Even though no formal contract is drawn between the students and the government, it is understood that the students will return to Saudi Arabia to play a vital role in the country's economic advancement and progress. Through the scholarship program, the Ministry for Higher Education in Saudi Arabia aims to create an educated middle class that would lead the nation into the future even as oil reserves decline. Also, a Western education is seen as an antidote to religious extremism.
According to Dr. Mody Alkhalaf, director of cultural and social affairs at the Cultural Mission of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia based in Northern Virginia, students are "here to learn not just facts and figures but also other cultures and take back things [to Saudi Arabia] that are positive."
Aljuaid, a beneficiary of the King Abdullah Scholarship, gave a glowing testimonial about his student experience, "My whole journey in the U.S. has been wonderful," he said. "I had a golden opportunity with this scholarship, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to pursue my education." Unlike the past, the scholarship program enables students from all walks of life to have an education overseas.
This program that was instituted to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has contributed immensely to helping people from both nations to better understand each other. It also has provided excellent education, training, and research opportunities for aspiring Saudi students. And it has favorably contributed to the labor market in Saudi Arabia.
Praise God for the scholarship program that is greatly helping Saudi students (The Bible, Exodus 15:11).
Pray that these Saudi students acclimate to the various universities in the U.S and other host countries. Pray that this education would enable them to be good leaders in the future (The Bible, Philippians 4:19).
Pray that these students come in contact with Christian Believers who will become lifelong friends to the Saudi students and show them the love of Jesus Christ (The Bible, Acts 1:8).Number of Saudi students enrolling in universities in the U.S. has increased fivefold.
Sources King Abdullah Scholarship Program Opens Invitations To Students (Arab News) Saudi Students Flood U.S. Colleges For English Lessons (USA Today) The Goals of the King Abdullah Scholarship Program (www.washcouncil.org) Thanks to Scholarship, Saudi Students Return to U.S. in Droves (The Washington Diplomat)
This article originally appeared in the J July 2013 Edition of the Win 10/40 Reporter.
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