BEIRUT: The Lebanese American University announced Tuesday it has secured the funds needed for Palestinian students affected by a recent scholarship funding cut to continue their studies until graduation.
“To get this back means a lot to us,” said Tala Abu Nahla, a 19-year-old LAU student from the Gaza Strip who was affected by the scholarship cut.
“We feel hopeful again and happy again, and relieved as if we got a second chance to keep on improving ourselves more.”
Representatives from the United States’ government informed the university back in January that students from the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip would no longer be eligible for comprehensive scholarships under a program entitled the “Middle East Partnership Initiative,” which falls under the U.S. State Department.
According to a press release from the university, the representatives said the suspension of funding was “an unintended consequence of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018, passed by Congress on Oct. 3 last year.”
The scholarship funding for the MEPI program was cut on Jan. 31, leaving 13 Palestinian students’ futures at LAU uncertain.
Students at the American University in Beirut were also affected, but the university was quickly able to secure $1.2 million in funding.
“Finding alternative resources for our MEPI students from the West Bank and Gaza has been our goal all along. Making the announcement, however, had to wait till we were sure of securing needed resources,” LAU President Joseph Jabbra said in a statement.
“I extend my gratitude to all those who worked very hard to see to it that this matter is brought to a satisfactory conclusion,” he added.