On 08/09/1421 AH, Decision No. 216 of Council of Ministers' was issued related to reorganize Student Stipends in Higher Education Sector as Main Objective and Approval to establish the Higher Education Fund.
The Idea of reorganizing Student Stipends and the establishment of Higher Education Fund was based on clear policy pertinent on the Inputs and Outputs of the Higher Education.
In the past, Students Stipends was used to encourage higher secondary graduates to get enrolled in Higher Education, to provide the Kingdom with working forces needed for all the specialties. This policy has gained success in considerably less time, and the University Graduates has fulfilled the needs of many Sectors and Organizations.
Moreover, keeping in view the steady increase in the number of graduates of secondary school or equal education programs, and the need of expansion in Higher Education Institutions and Development of those established to cope with such expansion. Ministry of Education has conducted studies on the current situation with regard to Student Stipends, and saw the necessity of Organizing Student Stipends with the objective of Maximizing its benefit taking into consideration the following aspects:
- These Stipends are necessary for many Segments of the Society.
- Providence of Stipends will attract Students of General Education to enroll in any one of Higher Education Institutions.
- Minimizing the impact on Hard-working students in their Study Career and Scientific Achievements.
- Encouraging students for hard work and raise their level of Scientific Achievements, and complete their Higher Studies in prescribed Time and help Institutions in raising Retention which will in turn lead to a raise in their Internal Performance level.
- Applying stipend regulations that are Objective and Easy to implement in all University Education Institutions.
And after submission of these Issues to Higher Education Council, they devised a Special Committee for studying it, and on the basis of this Higher Education Council has decided on 02/12/1419 AH, and on 29/02/1419 AH, to Spend Stipends exclusively on following Two Categories:
- Students with specializations in the National Development Plan that present Low Student Admission demand and Higher Education Council shall identify those specializations.
- Needy Students and the Higher Education Council shall set the Rules and Regulations of spending Stipends on this Category.
Stipends shall not be paid in following Situations:
- If the Student Exceeds the Minimum Limit of the duration prescribed for the Study Program.
- If the Student is Unable to Study and provide an Official Excuse or Wants Postponement in accordance with Articles (13) and (14) of Higher Education Study and Examination Bylaws.
- During summer vacations unless if the student is enrolled in a Summer Semester.
- If a student received an Academic Warning according to paragraph (A) of Article (20) of above mentioned Bylaws, and Payment will be resumed after Revoking of the Warning.
The Higher Education Council, has developed a Bylaw for implementation of the Resolution, and established a Mechanism to invest available Funds and those resulting from implementing Article (C) of the abovementioned Bylaw. Council also suggested many Recommendations, and one of them is “Establishment of Higher Education Fund” and the Supreme Economic Council has approved it after due study; the reorganization of Stipends and Establishment of “Higher Education Fund” was applied through Decision No. 21/9 Dated 07/09/1421 AH, subsequently Council of Ministers' approved it.
The Article (1) of the Bylaw of Higher Education Fund identified Fund’s Objectives and Duties which focus on:
- Developing University Higher Education and increasing its Capacity to fulfill its Role in line with the Requirements of National Development.
- Diversification of its Sources of funding and enhancing Funding Mechanisms, increasing its Resources, and enabling Universities to further the process of rationalization of Stipends and its Organization.
- Invest the funds and get benefit from the services they provide, and absorption of assistances of private sector in Financing Programs, and Centers and Scholarships under these Universities.
The Fund started its work in the same year of its Establishment and it drafted General Policies to realize the Objectives for which it came into being. The Fund gives importance to financial support to Educational, Scientific, and Academic Programs in the Universities. In addition to establishing New Colleges and expand Existing Colleges for serving the Labor Market.
The Higher Education Fund is a Legal Entity, and has Financial and Administrative independence. It works under supervision of a Board of Directors, headed by Minister of Education and the Members are:
- Representative of Ministry of Finance
- Representative of Ministry of Economy and Planning
- Three Members representing Universities
- Three Businessmen Members with Scientific and Professional Competence