Maldivian overseas students face hardships as scholarship payments halt

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Maldivian students studying overseas on government scholarships are currently facing severe financial challenges, exacerbated by delays and insufficient funding from the Higher Education Ministry. As of June, several students have been left without crucial financial support, rendering them unable to meet essential expenses such as tuition fees, rent, and daily living costs.

The issue came to light when the Higher Education Ministry halted disbursements to these students earlier this year, citing a shortage of funds. This abrupt cessation has plunged many students into dire circumstances, forcing them to scramble for alternatives amidst their academic pursuits abroad. Minister of Higher Education, Labour, and Skills Development, Dr. Mariyam Mariya, acknowledged the delay in fund transfers, attributing it to the scarcity of USD availability, crucial for international transactions and student stipends.

Previously, the Bank of Maldives had imposed restrictions, limiting Maldivian students abroad to purchasing USD 1,000, hindering their ability to manage expenses in countries where the cost of living and educational fees are significantly higher. Although promises were made by the Muizz administration in December 2023 to increase this allowance to USD 1,200 per month starting February 2024, this commitment remains unfulfilled. President Muizzu’s pledge to remove restrictions on USD purchases through local banks also remains unaddressed, leaving students without the anticipated financial relief.