Largest USAID scholarship grant to enable Lebanese and refugee students with AUB education

​​Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications, ss152@aub.edu.lb

AUB has been awarded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the sum of $23,966,200 in US federal funding for the Higher Education Scholarship Program (HES). The grant is allocated for nine years and will cover 160 Lebanese students spread over four cohorts (University Scholarship Program, USP 8) in addition to one cohort of 40 refugee students (Refugee Scholarship Support program, RSS). 

The recent grant raises USAID funding to AUB to a total of $65,966,200, within the University Scholarship Program (USP), now in its 7th year. AUB will cost share the sum of $8,178,590.

“The partnership between USAID and AUB has offered scholarships to many gifted students, giving them the opportunity to pursue high quality liberal arts education that empowers them to confidently enter the workforce and become active contributors to their society,” said Dr. Samar Harkouss, director of the USAID HES. 

The funding followed a proposal prepared through a joint effort between the AUB-USP team and the Office of Grants and Contracts (OCG). Various collaborating units at AUB, such as the Admissions Office and the Center for Civic Engagement and Community Service (CCECS), contributed regarding their roles within the program.

The USP 8 component of the grant—starting this year, 2018, until the year 2027—offers an expansion of support to both Lebanese public and private school students. It allows the recruitment of four student cohorts of eligible Lebanese male and female students who would have earned their BACC II during the year of recruitment under the program. Forty students, representing all 26 districts of Lebanon, will be recruited per cohort, one cohort every year during the first four years of implementation.

Under the RSS program, one cohort of 40 male and female non-Lebanese students with refugee status who are legally residing in Lebanon, will be enrolled for up to four academic years. AUB offers one year of intensive preparation and an integration program to newly-joining USP 8 and RSS scholars.  Upon enrolling in the University Preparatory Program (UPP), the scholars will be provided with preparatory language classes as well as orientation and integration sessions that will introduce scholars to university life and engage them with the AUB community.

“We are thrilled to expand this opportunity to refugees who have experienced war and political instability which forced them to flee their countries and live in harsh circumstances with little hope for a bright future. Because of this reality, the USAID HES program is coming at a crucial time and will help these students build a successful career that will positively impact their families and communities,” said Harkouss. 

The refugee students will be selected from Lebanese schools (private and public) as well as from schools of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). 

A total of 118 USP scholars have graduated from AUB to date, with a total of 222 USP scholars currently enrolled. By the end of the current spring semester, 41 USP scholars will graduate, while another 85 USP 7 Cycle III scholars will be selected for recruitment to join during the fall term of academic year 2018-19.
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“The benefits of these scholarships are twofold since not only the students are joining a top academic institution such as AUB but also the diversity of the AUB community is significantly enhanced by attracting such talented students coming from different backgrounds,” said Professor Malek Tabbal, Provost designee on HES. “These students enrich our campus with their motivation, resilience, initiative, creativity, and impactful civic engagement.”​