Image: Sana Mustafa (Photo credit: Bard Free Press)

IIE's Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis Helps a Student Find a Way Forward

The crisis in Syria has created an academic emergency, with the breakdown of higher education within the country and Syrian students and scholars facing major obstacles. In response, IIE is leading a consortium of more than 50 higher education institutions around the world that have committed support for Syrian students and scholars, primarily in the form of full and partial scholarships.

Launched in 2012 at the Clinton Global Initiative, IIE and the original partners of Jusoor, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Department of State joined with new partners, including the Portugal-led Global Platform for Syrian Students and Kaplan Test Prep International, to expand the IIE Syria Consortium worldwide. With funding of $250,000 from the U.S. Department of State and $500,000 from Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Syria Consortium has provided more than $4.5 million in assistance to 333 Syrian students to date. This includes 158 scholarships at Syria Consortium institutions, 175 free online test prep courses, and 24 institutional top-up grants. Scholarships were provided through two rounds of application. Each round received approximately 4,000 applications for 100 available scholarships available.

Sana Mustafa, a Syrian student who was able to obtain political asylum in the U.S., heard about the Syria Consortium through Facebook. “I knew I could never move forward to do something in this country without having the education," said Sana at a recent panel discussion at the U.N. Mission to the United Nations. Through the scholarship program, she applied to and was accepted by consortium member Bard College, studying political science. 

Learn more about Sana in this interview, produced by Elite Daily.