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Higher education institutions in the UAE have taken a series of measures to help students and their families struggling to meet their financial commitments due to pay cuts, job losses and furloughs during the pandemic.

Taking the challenging circumstances into consideration, Westford University College has introduced staggered payment cycles and easy monthly payment plans. “We have also facilitated the option where students can take a break from study and continue later without affecting the academic calendar in the completion of the respective programmes,” says Hanil Haridas, Executive Director of Westford University College. “We have also added new qualifications from globally reputed awarding bodies to our portfolio without any revision in the existing fees. This would help our students to scale up their career opportunities. We have also offered various levels of support and are reaching out to students on a case-to-case basis.”

Amity University in Dubai has also initiated split payment plans, grants and scholarship bursaries to help new and existing students facing financial hardship. “Supporting students and parents through this transition has been a vital part of keeping the university community’s spirits up,” says Dr Vajahat Hussain, CEO, Amity Education Middle East.

In a unique initiative, Abu Dhabi University has announced a 20 per cent discount in fees for the country’s healthcare heroes, their spouses and children, in recognition and appreciation of their tireless efforts during the outbreak of Covid-19.

Curtin Dubai has several funding options available for students and treats every application on a case by case basis. “Students facing difficulties due to Covid-19 have received bursaries from the home campus over the last few months,” says Dr Khyati Shetty, Head of Business and Humanities at Curtin University Dubai.

The University of Manchester is also doing its bit to reduce financial strain on students. “We have significant experience in supporting students — all working professionals, facing work and other challenges during their studies,” says Randa Bessiso, Director-Middle East, The University of Manchester. “In this unprecedented situation, we have supported a number of existing students with flexible finance and scholarships for new students.”