Syrian refugees offered scholarships by Columbia University
Syrian students are being offered scholarships from Columbia University and beyond. Source: shutterstock

Columbia University is offering scholarships to a second wave of students from Syria who were displaced by the armed conflict still raging on in their home country.

The university welcomed four Syrian students on scholarships last year, but as warfare continues with recent airstrikes from the UK, US and France, enrollments are now open for the next intake.

The scholarship covers full tuition fees for four years of undergraduate study as well as living and housing costs.

Applicants must be currently residing in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey or the United States after being uprooted from their home and meet Columbia’s regular academic admission requirements to qualify for the scholarship.

There are concerns that Syrians applying for the scholarship will be blocked from obtaining a student visa due to the Trump administration’s ‘travel bans’ but the university hopes these restrictions will be loosened soon, according to ABC News.

“What we concluded was, we go forward,” Bruce Usher, a professor at Columbia Business School who helped create scholarship program told ABC News.

“What we do is educate people. If we find that certain applicants are unable to attend … hopefully, they’ll eventually be able to get a visa.”

Qutaiba Idlbi, a Syrian student who is currently studying economics and politics through the scholarship, said the initiative allowed him to stay in the US after fleeing detainment for political activities in Syria in 2011.

The implemented travel ban feels like a betrayal towards the hardship faced by Syrian refugees, he said, and he hopes the US soon show support for the victims.

“Education is not only a key for work, but it is basically something to implement, to make a change in the world,” he said.

Campaign group Books Not Bombs is calling on universities to offer Syrian refugees scholarships to help create a generation of peacemakers and leaders.

“Millions of Syrian high school graduates and college students are unable to pursue their dream of a college degree,” says Books Not Bomb’s Mission Statement.

“While the world fails to stop the fighting in Syria, we need to do what we can to help our fellow students.

“Syria needs a next generation of lawyers, architects, doctors and teachers; that is why we are urging universities to create scholarship opportunities specifically for Syrian students to pursue a higher education,” it continues.

Through higher education and financial aid, the ongoing war in Syria has a chance of resolving. Source: Shutterstock

Other universities around the world have created similar schemes to Columbia University. Russell Group universities in the UK, including the University of Sheffield and the University of Birmingham, are committed to helping Syrian students.

You can find a list of scholarships available for Syrian students around the world here.

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