Hundreds of Emirati youths will pay reduced fees to study at two universities in Sharjah.
The scholarships and bursaries were approved by Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the emirate’s ruler.
High school pupils applied for the government grants after receiving their final exam results this summer.
Their applications were assessed by the emirate’s electricity and water authority, Sewa, then sent to the ruler’s office.
Khawla Abdul Rahman, head of scholarships at Sewa, said 661 of the grants are for the University of Sharjah and 127 for the American University of Sharjah.
“This is the first batch of scholarships and more will be announced before the beginning of the first semester,” she said.
All degree subjects are covered by the programme.
Successful candidates were informed of the news by text message.
Ali Al Shuhaimi, executive director of enrolment management at the AUS, said the grants usually amount to at least half of the candidates’ tuition fees, and sometimes cover them in full. The total award is dependent on pupils’ exam scores.
AUS also offers its own scholarship for which students of all nationalities are eligible to apply.
“We have our own programmes to help students financially. These include the financial grants and the merit scholarships,” Mr Al Shuhaimi said.
He said that 65 per cent of AUS students receive financial aid through these two programmes each year.
“We allocated Dh90m to cover both programmes.” These are given to students across all courses for the entire duration of their studies, he said.
The bursaries are awarded on the basis of need and scholarships go to high achievers.
To earn a 20 per cent to 50 per cent merit scholarship, students must have earned at least 90 per cent in high school and must continue to excel as an undergraduate.
“An AUS student can get both financial aid and merit grants covering a maximum of 75 per cent of the costs but needs to maintain the excellent performance,” Mr Al Shuhaimi said.