Universities in the UAE are slashing fees and offering Ramadan discounts to attract students and ease the financial burden on families.
Last year, higher education institutions delivered significant discounts to mitigate the impact of the outbreak and this trend has continued in 2021.
Some have restructured their entire fee models this year, while others offer discounts of 50 per cent.
Here is a snapshot of what's available.
Heriot-Watt University Dubai
Heriot-Watt University Dubai has launched a new scholarship scheme which is running during Ramadan.
Under the HWUD Community Award, students will have their first year's fees reduced by Dh8,000.
This scholarship is aimed at new students applying for the September term and the deadline for applications is May 15.
“We hope to help aspiring students achieve their academic potential through this scholarship and bring them one step closer to their desired future,” said Claire Roper-Browning, regional director of admissions at Heriot-Watt University DubaI.
To secure the scholarship, students must pay 10 per cent of their tuition fees as a non-refundable, advance payment against their tuition fees.
The award amount will be distributed equally across the installment plan for the first year of study.
Earlier this year, Murdoch University Dubai announced it would restructure course fees for the 2021-22 academic year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The university said the new fee model would help lift the pressure on students as well as their families.
The reduced fees will be applied to new and returning students across all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in 2021.
Scholarships with up to a 50 per cent discount are available for the first year of undergraduate courses with academic merit scholarships of up to 40 per cent available in the second year onwards.
The university's foundation and MBA programmes have a guaranteed 50 per cent and 20 per cent scholarship respectively for 2021.
“We are aware of the financial challenges for our postgraduate students, many of whom pay for their education themselves while working," said Mark Brown, general manager of the university’s Dubai campus.
Under the revised fee structure, all undergraduate courses are priced at Dh155,000 for the entire course, while previously students had to pay Dh172,200.
Canadian University Dubai
Canadian University Dubai has announced a 20 per cent fee reduction across all undergraduate and graduate programmes for students joining in the summer and Autumn semesters.
This is applicable to all new 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.
Ajman University also announced an early-bird discount for admission to its undergraduate and graduate courses.
Undergraduate students who return for their masters will get a 50 per cent discount for the first year of their graduate programmes.
The university is also offering a 25 per cent discount on some undergraduate courses.
Those looking for early admission could also find fees reduced if registered by May 6.
Students at Ajman University's College of Medicine pay Dh82,500 in their foundation year, while first-year fees are Dh121,000.
Middlesex University in Dubai has recently announced that all high-school leavers in the UAE are eligible for a 15 per cent discount.
But high-achieving applicants in the UAE who match the criteria set by the university can get discounts of 50 per cent on their entire course of study.
The annual fee for a bachelor's degree in business management at the university is Dh55,700, but those with top marks would have to pay only Dh27,850.
The discounts are applicable to new undergraduate students, Emiratis and expat residents.
International students are eligible for country-specific grants.
Birla Institute of Technology and Science
In March, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani's campus in Dubai said it would offer merit scholarships worth Dh5 million to students applying for admission in September 2021.
Prof R N Saha, director of the Dubai campus, said that 80 per cent of the students could get merit scholarships at least for their first year of study.
New York University Abu Dhabi
At NYUAD, all students are automatically considered for merit-based support.
Merit-based fellowships may only cover a portion of the total cost of attending the university.
The Abu Dhabi government provides fellowships to all Emiratis admitted to NYU Abu Dhabi through the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed NYUAD Scholarship for Exceptional Emirati Students.
University of Birmingham Dubai
The university will offer a Chancellors Academic Merit Scholarship to every student joining in September.
New and current students can get scholarships of up to 30 per cent for every year.
The university has a limited number of scholarships offering 50 per cent off to outstanding applicants for all years of study.
"We believe in offering the scholarship upfront, from day one for their entire time with us, we can help families plan financially, in such an uncertain period," said Chris Taylor head of Student Recruitment and Marketing at University of Birmingham Dubai.
Students who pay their deposit by July 31, can get an advanced award of an additional 10 per cent.
Rochester Institute of Technology Dubai
New or current students can get up to Dh125,000 worth of scholarships throughout their four-year programmes at RIT Dubai.
"As a non for profit university, a significant portion of our net-income is reinvested back in scholarships which can be in the form of a merit based scholarship, financial aid and alumni scholarships," Hameed Al Obaidi, senior admissions counselor at RIT Dubai, said:
All new and current students have the option to apply for scholarships throughout their studies at RIT Dubai.
Undergraduate studies at the university are free for Emiratis at Zayed University.
The seat of learning also offers a number of scholarships for outstanding non-Emirati undergraduate students.
The Undergraduate Merit Scholarship offers up to a 50 percent cut on tuition fees. It does not cover additional costs such as laptop, food, housing, or transport.
To be eligible to receive this award, the student must gain admission at the university and have a minimum average of 95 percent or equivalent in the last year of high school. The student has to demonstrate proficiency in English, submit an essay and a recommendation letter.
Students may be able to maintain the undergraduate merit scholarship beyond the first year if they have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5.