The Egyptian Parliament’s Education and Scientific Research Committee held a hearing session last week to discuss a grievance submitted to parliament by some parents of students at The American University in Cairo (AUC) regarding University tuition fees following the decision to float the Egyptian pound in early November 2016. Amr Salama, University counselor, and Ibrahim Hegazy ’84, ’87, professor of marketing and a member of the Education and Scientific Research Committee in parliament, discussed tuition issues at the session.Addressing a point of concern for many parents, Hegazy and Salama demonstrated how AUC abides by the education-based rules of the Egyptian government. Salama also demonstrated the different courses of action that AUC has pursued and reiterated that the University remains committed to assist in the crisis created by the floatation of the Egyptian pound.
“In my testimonial to parliament, my main goal was to reaffirm AUC’s commitment to all its students who cannot afford to pay the difference in their fees due to the floatation of the Egyptian pound,” reiterated Salama. Tuition at AUC is expressed 50 percent in Egyptian pounds and 50 percent in U.S. dollars. For Egyptian students, they are allowed to pay the equivalent of the dollar portion in Egyptian pounds according to the Central Bank of Egypt’s prevailing rate at the day of payment. Following the decision to float last November, AUC’s Board of Trustees authorized an emergency budget re-allocation of about $1 million to cover all those who had been unable to make their final tuition payments for the fall semester. In addition, on an emergency basis, the University reallocated up to $5 million from the current budget to fully cover the costs anticipated for all families needing support in facing the unanticipated additional Egyptian pounds required for the balance of this year’s tuition.
“Members of parliament were very receptive and understood the emergency measures AUC undertook to support its students. We’re looking forward to working with the ad-hoc committee on AUC’s tuition fees for the coming years and presenting our conclusions to parliament by the end of March.”
At the parliament session, Hegazy presented each member of the Education and Scientific Research Committee with a copy of AUC’s official protocol with the Egyptian government, as well as a copy of the email that President Francis J. Ricciardone sent to the AUC community in November of 2016 affirming his commitment to ensure that no student will be forced to leave AUC due to an inability to pay tuition resulting from the floatation of the Egyptian pound.
“One of the main points I also highlighted in parliament is that AUC provides education to children of all full-time staff members, from security guards to managers, as long as they meet AUC’s admission requirements,” explained Hegazy. “This resonated positively with all members of parliament. As President Ricciardone continuously emphasizes, AUC will ensure that, despite the current economic situation, no student has to drop out due to an inability to pay tuition fees resulting from the floatation of the Egyptian pound.”
Members of parliament responded well to Salama and Hegazy’s presentation. Hegazy officially requested from Counselor Salama that AUC’s ad-hoc committee –– formed of parents, students and the administration ––should submit to the Egyptian Parliament by the end of March 2017 a course of action for the coming academic years. “The discussions were informative and fruitful,” said Hegazy. “This session is a positive step forward in dealing with the harsh economic situation we’re all facing.”
Almost half of currently enrolled undergraduate students at AUC will be receiving the university emergency scholarships at the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester. These include 346 students who have applied and are eligible to receive the award, in addition to 1,487 students who are currently receiving financial aid and have been automatically considered for and awarded the emergency scholarships. Pending completion of their documents, another 182 undergraduate students may also be eligible to receive the emergency scholarships. Since the announcement of this program142 graduate students have also applied for the emergency tuition scholarship.
AUC offers more than 80 named scholarships supported by individuals and corporations.
In the 2016- 2017 academic year, AUC has offered 55 types of undergraduate scholarships covered by the University and/or external individuals and corporations in order to assist students in meeting the expenses of their education. The University offers full-tuition scholarships to more than 240 undergraduate students, and more than 50 percent of students receive financial assistance from the University. In addition, AUC awards approximately $24 million annually in scholarships, fellowships and financial aid.
In addition to scholarships, AUC assists students through financial aid and the work-study program, as well as more than 40 fellowships for outstanding master’s and PhD students covering a diverse range of fields, from biotechnology and business to Egyptology and education.