University Application Fee Waiver for Iranian Students

University Application Fee Waiver for Iranian Students

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Anahita Hosseini started this petition to UNIVERSITIES and

The causes: Quality Education, Human Rights and Economic Justice

Calling for action from all universities and academic institutions

Requesting anyone who cares about the above causes to spread the word.

Having access to good quality education and having the option to study in an internationally accredited university are rights every student must have. But the political atmosphere and the economic situation in Iran deprive many students of that right. 

Many smart and talented Iranian students aspire to study abroad at some point in their life journey. They have to go through a very difficult process, from getting their transcripts from their universities (which is not straightforward or in some cases even possible at all), to preparing for English Language Tests and taking them, GRE/GMAT/SAT exams (some of which aren’t even held in Iran and students have to travel to another country to take the exams), to overcoming the existing false image of the Iranian people due to all the political propaganda and false media etc. especially during interviews and the visa process... Long story short: The process has always been difficult for Iranian students. But a number of new factors over the past few years have made the process much more difficult and for some students even impossible. These factors are the exchange rate and the imposed sanctions.

In 2018 the exchange rate soared in Iran and it is now five times higher than it was back then. Due to this drastic change, the cost of taking English Proficiency exams, exams like GRE/GMAT/SAT, and any other international tests have also proportionately risen. The cost of an IELTS exam is now more than an average monthly salary of a university graduate in Iran. Not to mention that applicants must send official scores to universities and pay a large amount in Iranian Rials for that too. In addition to international exams, an average application fee of $100 costs an Iranian student more than a month’s salary. Let’s say each candidate sends only 5 applications and only takes one English exam and one competency test such as GRE/GMAT. If we eliminate the costs of traveling to another country to take an exam such as SAT, which is not held in Iran, they will in total cost more than a year’s salary of an average working graduate. If the candidate has to travel to a neighbor country to take an exam such as SAT and to get visa from embassies which do not have an office in Iran such as Canada and the US, the flight and 3 days stay are going to make the total costs equivalent to 2 years of a graduate’s salary. Now these were just the issues caused by the exchange rate rise. 

Another issue is with transferring the application fees. Due to the imposed sanctions on Iran and the banking system, Iranian students cannot transfer money in foreign currency or make any online payments in foreign currency (No PayPal, no Visa/Master card, etc.). Because of this, to pay the application fee Iranian students either have to go through illegal and risky channels, OR they should have a relative outside Iran who agrees to make the payment on their behalf, which is not a luxury all students have. Also, most Iranians who had bank accounts in foreign banks but were not citizens of those countries lost their foreign bank accounts and their accounts were blocked and they can’t make payments either. So, paying the application fees is almost impossible for Iranian applicants OR they are so expensive that they impose financial burden on the students and their families. 

In conclusion, in the interest of human rights and to make access to quality education possible for Iranian students and to serve the cause of Economic Justice, we are requesting universities and academic institutions to take into account the situation Iranian applicants are in (which has a lot to do with politics and wrong economic policies, and not much to do with their own actions), and waive the application fees for applicants residing in Iran. This will not only serve human rights, but also serve the academic institutions interest as it will lead to a more diverse application pool with a higher number of talented, smart and driven students, whose presence can benefit the universities interests, increase accomplishments, and contribute to research and development. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!