Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Libyan Students in Canada Cut off from Scholarship Funding to Remain in School

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Libyan Students in Canada Cut off from Scholarship Funding to Remain in School

Article excerpt

Libyan students cut off from funding

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HALIFAX - When Albahlool Omar Idhbeaa came from Libya to Nova Scotia to complete his doctorate, he came with the understanding that his home country would cover his tuition and the cost of supporting his family.

But he says when he went to register for his upcoming summer semester, he ran into a problem.

"I went to the lady who is working at the student accounts and she told me I owe them money and they're holding my account," said Idhbeaa, a second-year doctoral student in engineering at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Now he says he can't sign up for summer classes or see his grades from last semester.

Idhbeaa is one of many Libyan students who have come to Canada through the Libyan-North American Scholarship Program, intended to cover tuition, living expenses and health insurance for graduate students.

More than 1,100 Libyans at schools across Canada benefit from the program, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, the organization responsible for administering funding from the Libyan government.

Earlier this month, the bureau issued a statement saying it was placing a hold on financial support letters for Libyan students because their government had not transferred funds for the 2014-15 academic year.

Idhbeaa says it isn't only tuition that is held up. He also does not know when he will receive his next living allowance, which he uses to support his wife and two daughters, and their health insurance expires at the end of April.

But his biggest concern is not being able to complete his degree.

"We are worrying about the next semester, what's going to happen," he said.

"Study for Libyan students is very important. We came here for this purpose."

Abourawi Alwaar also came from Libya to do graduate studies in engineering.

He was accepted into a master's program in September but doubts he'll be able to attend because his funding ended before he could finish required courses in English as a second language. …

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