Yousra El Nemr
The American University in Cairo’s financial aid program gives students the chance to attend the university without any financial obstacles. Students who apply for financial aid should be enrolled in the university and fill out the financial aid application, including all the attachments and documents needed, and submit it to the Student Service Centre (SSC).
A committee from the Office of Student Financial Affairs checks the students’ applications and revises them well, in order to determine the amount of financial aid that would be given to each student. This is mainly based on each student’s financial needs and how his or her family can contribute in paying the university’s tuition.
In some cases, this might require an interview with the parent in order to guarantee fairness in dividing the financial aid among the students with respect to the university’s budget limitations. After receiving financial aid, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.00 while maintaining a full-time status in the university, which means that students should be taking no less than twelve credit hours per semester. When those two conditions are met, the student does not have to renew their financial aid application.
Scholarships are another form of financial aid, which students can obtain based on their achievements. The university offers about 10 or more different kinds of scholarships to Egyptian as well as foreign students.
Hager Kamal, a student who receives a LEAD (Leadership for Education and Development) scholarship, was asked about the kind financial aid the scholarship offers. She said, “In the LEAD, we get a full scholarship; we do not pay any tuition fees, and in addition, we get a pocket money each month.”
Kamal added, “We were not required to submit a financial aid application because the scholarship is mainly about leadership and development and it has nothing to do with the student’s ability to pay the tuition fees of the university. However, the LEAD office started making it a requirement (for students) applying for the LEAD scholarship since 2010-2011, and I do not know a reason for this.”
Not all students who apply for financial aid receive it, and sometimes there are no clear reasons for why an application would be refused.
An architecture student, who preferred to remain anonymous, was put in this situation. She said, “I applied for a financial aid and it was written in my acceptance letter that my financial aid request was rejected.”
She then added, “My sister’s financial aid application was accepted before, even though we live in the same family conditions.”
When asked about her reaction towards this rejection, she said that she submitted a petition in the Students Service Center a week ago and she is still waiting for their reply.
Vice President of Student Affairs Ashraf El Fiqi’s response to this issue was, “This is absolutely not true; and if we assume it did happen, then probably the family’s income in comparison to their expenses has differed from the year when the sister had enrolled the university.”
“The financial aid distribution depends mainly on the information in the financial aid application of each student,” he added.