Manama: Every Saudi studying abroad is to be given a $2,000 bonus, under an order by King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

The decision applies to self-tuition and sponsored students in accredited universities everywhere in the world and follows a proposal presented to the king by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud to assist, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday.

King Salman also approved another proposal by Crown Prince Mohammad to bring all self-tuition students into the King Salman scholarship programme provided they met the criteria, the official news agency added.

Saudi Arabia has been investing heavily in scholarship programmes, mainly in the US, sending students for degrees and training for advanced positions in the kingdom.

According to official figures, 114,000 Saudi students are enrolled in academic programmes in 22 countries.

More than 74,000 relatives are accompanying them.

The US leads with close to 60,000 students taking courses in various subjects in various American universities. The United Kingdom is home to 14,000 Saudi students and their 16,000 family members whereas France has 743 students and 602 relatives. China has 477 Saudi students and 261 family members, Turkey 195 students and 106 relatives and Belgium a total of 100 students and relatives, has one of the lowest figures.

The 58,726 students in the US, 43,188 males and 15,538 females, are accompanied by 33,856 family members.

Figures indicate that 35,736 are studying for a bachelor’s degree, 7,122 for a master’s degree and 4,392 for a PhD.

Only 8,272 students are self-sponsored whereas the others are being sponsored by the state that pays for all their education and living expenses.

Most students are studying engineering and information technology (22,240) followed by management and finance (15,181) and human and social studies (8,528).

Medicine and medical sciences are fourth with 7,685 students, ahead of biology with 2,154 and physics with 1,065.

The figures show 11 students are taking courses related to helping people with special needs.

The remaining 1,862 are taking other specialities.