I hope this post finds you all well. It has been a while, hasn’t it?
So as some of you may know, I have been accepted into the MA in Middle Eastern Studies program at the University of Exeter. I have searched the University of Exeter website concerning funding and scholarships. I searched the funding database and am not eligible for any of those scholarships. I contacted the funding office months ago when I received my offer to inquire about funding and was advised to search external sites for scholarships. I have searched many other sites for scholarships and I don’t seem to be eligible for any of them. In order to confirm and hold my spot in the program, I have to pay a nearly $4,000 deposit. Last year, I only made $8,039. Do you see my challenge?
I have literally spent more than 40 hours combing through scholarships I am not eligible for. I’ve been searching for scholarships since 2011 and have been coming up short.
You may be asking why I opted to apply to a British university as opposed to an American university. I applied to the University of Exeter specifically because of the European Centre for Palestine Studies and to get the chance to learn from and work with Ilan Pappe.
I would obviously be an international student at Exeter. And like many other American students, I have a considerable amount of student debt. I have well over $70,000 in student debt. I have American citizenship, as well as Israeli citizenship. And as a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, I am not eligible for many scholarships afforded to most Arabs. This has been made clear to me by quite a few funding bodies. The only scholarship I slightly qualify for is the Edward Said scholarship (although the deadline has passed), but seeing as I am not currently residing in the Middle East, the scholarship requires non-current residents to provide proof from a future employer that I will return to Palestine after receiving my degree. This is not exactly simple seeing as I cannot guarantee myself a job in 1-5 years time. I couldn’t even guarantee myself a job now. I cannot apply for American scholarships meant for minorities because Arabs are considered White and therefore not a minority. I have found a few scholarships that consider Arabs to be minorities, but I have been disqualified from those for reasons like not being an undergraduate student, being over the age of 25 or not attending a U.S. university. Many Israeli scholarships are advertised in Hebrew, which I do not speak or they require you to be a current resident. The only Islamic/Muslim scholarships I can find are meant for either undergraduates or meant to be used at U.S. universities. I cannot seem to find any scholarships for Middle Eastern Studies students at the postgraduate level. I currently work at a university teaching Arabic and I have even asked them about possible funding opportunities for me, with little luck. I applied for recent graduate scholarships from the university I received my previous degree from and did not receive any. When I inquired why I didn’t receive a scholarship, I was told that their is a preference towards non-UK universities. Other scholarships I applied for– I have been disqualified from because the degree program I recently attended did not run on a GPA system and a GPA was required for the scholarships. It runs on a High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, Credit and No Credit basis. There is no way to calculate a GPA. I have also filled out my FAFSA application, as well, but last year was prevented from taking out further loans and I’m not sure if things have changed this year.
I was supposed to attend an Arabic Language program this academic year but was forced to take a year off to save money because I was unable to fund my studies. I do not want that to happen this year again and while I have saved up some money, it is not nearly enough to cover my expenses for the year or even grant me a student visa to get to the UK. My difficulties in saving money have stemmed from my inability to find a full-time job, the effects of Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy and general life occurrences.
Even if I am approved for loans this year, I wouldn’t be able to access that money until the start of the academic year; still making it impossible for me to pay the deposit to save my spot. I have every intention of continuing onto a PhD, hopefully at the University of Exeter. And I really do not want to miss out on this opportunity.
This is why from the bottom of my heart, I am asking for tiny donations to help me fund my studies. Even $1 would help. I wouldn’t be asking if I didn’t absolutely need it. I find it incredibly embarrassing to ask for money, but find myself incapable of finding another way to fund my studies.
You can check out the link below to learn more about my professional goals and my volunteering to do community service in exchange for donations.
Pretty please check out my link to my Go Fund Me page and share it with friends.