Some universities in Dubai have slashed tuition fees to help ease financial pressures on students and their families sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
The move comes after schools across the Emirates announced discounts to reduce the burden on parents affected by the damaging economic impact of Covid-19.
Schools and universities in the UAE have shut their doors to stem the spread of the disease and set up distance learning to continue the academic year.
Canadian University Dubai reduced its fees by 30 per cent for existing and returning students.
Annual fees at the college range from Dh65,000 for a bachelor’s degree in psychology to Dh97,000 for a master's in business administration.
More than 2,100 students at the university will able to save between Dh3,700 and Dh4,700 for the term beginning in May.
Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, chairman of the board of trustees and chancellor of Canadian University Dubai, said the institution was keen to offer a helping hand amid the challenges posed by the virus outbreak.
“We understand the strain parents and students are going through because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus," he said.
“In the current challenging situation where parents might be losing jobs or getting salary cuts, we are pleased to offer a 30 per cent reduction in fees for both new and returning students across all our undergraduate and graduate programmes.”
The University of Wollongong in Dubai offered a 25 per cent discount to all new students for the summer intake in June and for autumn entrants in September.
"We have had financial incentives in place prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, we recently extended these discounts for the next few months to assist students facing financial difficulties during this time," said Mohamed Salem, the university's president.
"We have also been working with students who are experiencing financial difficulties and assisting them on a case-by-case basis.
"Every student’s situation is different and many people have been affected by this crisis. We are working with our students to find solutions, to ensure they have the best chance to have the career they want by continuing their studies."
Arindam Banerjee, associate professor and deputy director at the SP Jain School of Global Management, said the university allocated about Dh257,000 towards scholarships for students.
"With the Covid-19 health crisis, we know how challenging it will be in the coming weeks and months for students and their families," Mr Banerjee said.
"At SP Jain School of Global Management, we would be granting scholarships of up to $70,000 [Dh257,000] for the entirety of a student's undergraduate program.
"In these unprecedented times, we believe it’s our duty to assist as many meritorious students and their families as possible. These scholarships will be awarded subject to meeting our admissions criteria."
Fees at the institution range from about Dh100,000 per year for a bachelor's degree in business administration to Dh200,000 a year for a global master's in business administration.
New students can apply for the funds for their term starting in September.
Mr Banerjee said master's students can defer their semester but may lose four months of studies, though their accommodation fees would be refunded. They can choose to start the semester in September instead of May.
Bachelor's and master's students at the university travel between the institute's campuses in Australia, Dubai, India and Singapore for global programmes.
"Our master's students were supposed to move to Australia in May. We polled our master's cohort and the majority do not want online education as people have signed up for a global programme," Mr Banerjee said.
Higher education institutes across the world have come under fire for charging full tuition fees while classes have been moved online.
Harvard University said it will not be refunding or reducing tuition fees for the spring term though classes are held remotely.
Meanwhile, universities across the UK have said they need emergency funds worth £2 billion (Dh9.2bn) to stay afloat. Universities have predicted that overseas student numbers may dip sharply, affecting colleges' revenues.
Schools and universities in the UAE commenced online learning on March 22, which is set to continue until the end of the academic year.
*This story has been updated since publication to reflect that only new students can apply for funding for their terms at SP Jain School of Global Management. The change was made at the request of the school.