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Fees, funds for Qatar campus not so different from our own

Published: Friday, April 24, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07

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Doug Klembara

In 2002, the Qatar foundation for Education, Science and Community development invited Texas A&M University to come and explore the possibility of bringing certain undergraduate engineering programs to Education City in Doha, Qatar.

The Qatar Foundation was founded by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, wife of the Emir of the State of Qatar.

"Essentially, all costs of A&M Qatar are covered by the Qatar Foundation [for Education]," said David Cassidy, assistant dean for finance and administration. "As a result, all revenues generated within the academic program, including tuition, belong to the foundation."

The student fees are based on the fees set for Texas A&M at College Station. When a student graduates from the University, he or she is given a diploma from Texas A&M-College Station, not Texas A&M at Qatar.

While Texas A&M sees no direct financial profit from this branch, there is still an incentive for professors to work at A&M Qatar. Cassidy said professors are given significant financial and U.S. taxation incentives for working at A&M Qatar.

The tuition rate at A&M Qatar is the same amount as out-of-state tuition, except it is paid in Qatar's currency, the riyal.

"The riyal is pegged at a fixed exchange rate of one dollar for 3.65 riyals," said A&M Qatar Communications Manager Brady Creel, Class of 2003.

Financial aid is provided to students at A&M Qatar through the Qatar government agencies and industries. A&M gives a small amount of financial aid to study abroad students.

The global recession has not had a significant impact on A&M Qatar students yet since the majority comes from the Persian Gulf region, an area that has suffered little from the oil industry's involvement.

"Native Qatari citizens have their education costs paid for from kindergarten through college," said Doug Klembara, a sophomore general studies major who visited the A&M Qatar campus for the Student Leadership Exchange program. "This rule affects roughly 10 percent of the students there. It's harder to gain citizenship there as opposed to the U.S. because your father has to have been born in Qatar."

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