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UNT to waive application fee for Saudi Arabian students leaving Canada

UNT to waive application fee for Saudi Arabian students leaving Canada

UNT to waive application fee for Saudi Arabian students leaving Canada
August 24
10:06 2018

UNT is waiving the $75 application fee for prospective Saudi Arabian students in response to the Saudi Arabian government withdrawing its students from Canadian schools and suspending their scholarships.

“It was just one of a few things that would make it easier for these students to apply and get a quick decision,” said Alecka Myre, director of sponsored student programs and UNT International. “The fee waiver is a polite gesture to students who are anxious about finding a new program of study.”

News broke on Aug. 13 that students from Saudi Arabia will be relocated from their Canadian universities due to political strife between the two countries.

Tensions rose when Canada demanded the release of human rights activists from prison in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, straining diplomatic relations between the countries. Canada’s ambassador was also asked to leave Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabian Airlines canceled all flights to and from Toronto.

Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa, told The Globe and Mail he thinks Saudi Arabia’s main purpose is not to harm Canada, but to send a message.

“This is a message to Western countries: Stop criticizing us on human rights or else we will retaliate,” Juneau said.

This dispute affects 15,000 students, according to The Globe and Mail. The number rises to more than 20,000 when families are taken into consideration.

These students will be relocated to schools in the U.S. or the U.K. 

Many colleges across the country are waiving their application fee for students affected, including Louisiana Tech University, Valparaiso University, Portland State University, UNT and more.

Myre said the students from Saudi Arabia with spouses and children add another layer of difficulty to the situation, but UNT is hoping to facilitate the transition and admission of these students the best they can.

She continued to say the waiver will not impact students from Saudi Arabia immensely but is a gesture to show them they are welcome.

“We want Saudi students to know that they are welcome here at UNT if they want UNT to be their next academic home,” Myre said.

Pia Wood, vice provost and dean for UNT International Affairs, said international students attending UNT are greeted with high-quality academic programs, a friendly community, support services through international student organizations and a college town environment.

“Many Saudi students have studied and thrived at UNT over the years and have gone on to be successful in engineering, business and other careers,” Wood said.

Students from Saudi Arabia can get involved in organizations such as the Saudi Student Association and Saudis in Denton.

Myre said UNT tries its best to ease the transition for international students.

“In addition to excellent academic programs and a broad scope of degree offerings, we have a great support group here for these students, which makes the transition from country to country, university to university and program to program, less daunting,” Myre said. 

Featured Image: Banners for UNT’s international office around Marquis Hall say “Peace” in different languages, including Arabic. In 2016, there were 262 Saudi Arabian international students at UNT, according to the International Student & Scholar Services Statistics. Anna Engelland

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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