Syrian students in UK face expulsion after funding cut


More than 640 Syrian students are facing expulsion from UK universities after the Syrian ministry of higher education stopped funding their tuitions fees.

Husam Helmi, a PhD student in economics at Brunel University, and Zaher, who is preparing for a doctorate in pharmacy at Bath University, had their income and fees suspended for standing against the Syrian regime, and they were informed of the decision in January 2012.

“When students are suspended they do not get any income to pay their university fees which are very high in Britain, no student can afford to pay these fees," Zaher said.

His compatriot Husam added: “British universities asked Syrian students to pay tuition fees as the Syrian government failed to do so, it is impossible to cover £10,000 or £20,000 in the present circumstances.”

The suffering of Syrian students worsened with the combination of international sanctions imposed on Syria and the fall of the currency. It became difficult to transfer funds to the UK, forcing some students to withdraw from their courses.

The representative of the Syrian coalition Waleed Safour stressed that there is ongoing communication with the UK authorities to explain the problems Syrian students face and to identify ways to enable them continue their studies.
Many students sympathize with their colleagues from Syria who were active in a campaign to highlight their plight with the continuation of the bloody conflict in Syria.

Christian Gilmore, a campaigner for the Syrian students, says the British government has an interest in standing by Syrian students. “It is in the interest of the British government to help these people and to follow up in its commitment. They may not be able to solve the international problem right now but helping Syrian students is 100 percent in their control"

The British government did not comment directly on the case of Syrian students, but confirmed in a statement to be working with universities to find solutions to the problem and urged them to use their emergency funds to provide financial support to these students until the end of the Syrian crisis.