Here is everything you need t know about acquiring financial aid for higher studies in Qatar.
It’s January and that means students are deciding where to pursue a bachelor’s degree, but for many families, finances play a huge role in making this decision.
Navigating financial aid options in Qatar can be tricky. Unlike many other countries, there aren’t any federal financial aid options, but at least that means many students will not graduate with crippling debt.
- Commercial Bank Loans
If other options prove insufficient, students of all nationalities may consider commercial bank loans, with rates as low as 4.79% p.a., with a minimum salary requirement of 4000 riyals. Applicable to all universities in Qatar.
- “NAMA” Social Development Centre’s University Support Program
This is a need-based loan for students who were born in Qatar or who have held a residence permit for a minimum of fifteen years and hold a Qatari high school diploma with honours.
- Ministry of Education Sponsorship (Qataris only):
Qatari nationals may be eligible for sponsorship under the Ministry of Education, which may fund a significant portion of their tuition, along with other certain fees.
- Government and Corporate Sponsorships (Qataris only):
Nationals are also able to acquire sponsorship by the employer of a parent or other family members. Qataris can also be sponsored by government agencies such as Qatar Petroleum, the Ministry of the Interior, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or their corporate partners – Shell Oil, Al Jazeera or Maersk.
Eligibility criteria and sponsorship terms are set by individual organisations and in most cases, these sponsorships often have strings attached. Students may be required to work for the sponsor for a number of years.
The up side is the student will have a job lined up for them and will avoid the torturous job hunt.
- US Federal Aid: Federal Direct Stafford Loan, ParentPLUS Loan (US citizens and permanent residents only):
US citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) may be eligible for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan and/or a ParentPLUS Loan. One can still apply even if the university is not a branch of a US-campus.
- Even if you’re not a Qatari or American citizen, make sure to reach out to your embassy and ask about any funding opportunities they might offer.
Qatar Foundation Partner University Funding:
Finally, Qatar Foundation universities. While their high tuition fees tend to be intimidating, there are quite a few funding options available, in addition to the ones mentioned above.
- QF Financial-Aid Program
All students of Qatar Foundation partner universities are eligible to apply for the standard QF Financial-Aid Program. These are interest free, need-based loans to assist students in financing their education.
Upon graduation, students may pay a percentage of their salary until the loan is repaid. Alternatively, the loan could be repaid through service with a Qatar Foundation-approved employer for a maximum of six years. However, keep in mind that QF Financial Aid does not cover the full cost of attendance.
- QF Merit-based Scholarships
Undergraduate students who have completed two semesters of academic study in Education City and have a GPA of 3.6 or above can apply for this scholarship. It is renewed annually as long as the student maintains a minimum GPA of 3.6. However, it’s highly competitive so it’s not recommended to put all hopes in it.
- Specific University Funding
Some partner universities offer their own merit-based or need-based scholarships. The catch? You don’t need to pay these back. If you’re still a high school student, this is your chance, because in many cases applicants with high scholastic achievements are automatically given these scholarships upon enrolment.
In other cases, you can apply for a university grant after applying for the QF financial aid. Get in touch with your target university’s admissions office to find out more about this.
Doha News wishes luck and good financial aid for everyone filling up their university applications.