World Education Services
As Saudi Arabians mourn the recent passing of King Abdullah, they can take comfort in knowing that one of his greatest achievements – the King Abdullah Scholarship Program, or KASP – is likely here to stay. The scholarship program, founded in 2005, provides Saudi students with the opportunity to attend foreign universities using federal funding.
KASP scholars may wonder whether the program will undergo changes under Abdullah’s successor, King Salman. WES Advisor reached out to Stephanie Hausheer, the assistant director for the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and an expert in Saudi Arabian education, to gain some insight into the matter. Hausheer doesn’t expect any modifications to the existing program.
“I would be surprised if the Saudi government made any immediate changes that would affect the current scholarship students,” Hausheer said in an email. “I think the program will continue in its current form until at least 2020, which is when it is slated to end.
“However,” she added, “it is also possible that King Salman will extend the scholarship program until 2025 or beyond. After all, the government has extended the program multiple times since its inception.”
The program provides scholarships for students at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels. KASP scholars also have the option of enrolling in ESL classes at foreign institutions. The scholarship typically covers full academic tuition, medical coverage, a monthly stipend, and round-trip airfare for both scholars and dependents. It's a pretty nice deal!
Since the program’s inception, KASP has been the main source of funding for more than 90 percent of Saudi students who are enrolled in foreign institutions. In 2012, more than half of the KASP scholars chose to attend universities in the U.S., while others chose schools in the U.K., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
For now, it looks like KASP will continue to function as is. Watch this space for any updates to the program and share your thoughts about the program in the comments below.