Saudi Arabia’s minister of education has reportedly told a group of Saudi students that the government will not provide financial aid for their education at private colleges and universities inside the kingdom.
Saudi Gazette reports that Ahmed Al-Issa met with the medial students, doctors and specialists at 2:30pm on Sunday after they had waited near the Ministry of education for five hours.
“The circumstances which prompted the introduction of the domestic scholarship programme for students in private universities do not exist any longer so the government is not obliged to provide them with financial support,” he was quoted as saying.
Al-Issa went on to clarify that any student who opts to attend private university should bear the cost of his or her studies, saying the covering of expenses at private institutions would effectively make them government universities.
This was despite protests from the group that they left their jobs to complete their higher education at private universities under the domestic scholarship programme only to find it had been stopped.
The kingdom has reduced generous education allowances including study abroad programmes as part of reforms introduced to combat lower oil prices.
In 2015 it allocated about $6bn to support students studying abroad but introduced new restrictions last year including the limiting of funding to those attending the top 100 universities globally.
It also cut overall spending on education by 12 per cent in 2016, according to reports.