How to finance your university tuition as a student

November 14, 2022

It's a known fact that tuition fees are rising every academic year, which does not make it easy for college students or parents at all. Accordingly, student debt rises too, making it a crisis that concerns fresh graduates, their families, and the government, especially when not everyone has rich parents that can pay for their tuition.

Besides that, you also get sidetracked when you're running around trying to meet deadlines, making sure you stay well-nourished and keep a social life, all while trying to make ends meet when it comes to paying university tuition.

Unlike the US, student loans aren't common in the UAE, but there are other ways to pay your way through university. Luckily, university season doesn't start for another two months, so you've still got time to figure it out! You may have 99 problems, but financing your tuition shouldn't be one of them!

Four ways you can finance your university tuition


A grant is a quantity of money that poses as financial assistance, given by a university, government, organization, or person for a specific purpose, with the added bonus of not having to pay back that money.

For example, new students attending the American University of Sharjah may qualify for a financial grant to cover up to a total of 55% of tuition and fees. You just simply need to look into such facilities in the university you're attending and review its terms and conditions.

A financial grant can be helpful in the sense that it gives you the opportunity to worry less about half (if not more) of the tuition on your shoulders. Anyone can apply for a grant, and the amount awarded depends on personal financial needs and/or academic qualifications.


Another form of financial support is a scholarship, which is awarded to the student based on academic achievement or other criteria that may include financial need, for the purpose of schooling. These differ from grants in the sense that scholarships come in various types – the most common being merit-based and need-based scholarships.

A merit scholarship usually covers from 10% to 30% of tuition fees, typically granted to the student who graduated high school with excelling grades. They'd accordingly be expected to uphold their outstanding academic status (aka GPA) throughout their university journey. Other types of scholarships include the active student scholarship, the chancellor's scholarship, and the athletic scholarship.

Scholarships can save you from paying an imminent deal of money, gives you the ability to finance your tuition, and allows you to save in the process. However, if you happen to slip under the qualifications, you're looking at a risk of losing said scholarship.

Depending on the university you choose, you can check their scholarship programs and determine which ones are suitable for you and would qualify for.

Mama & Baba

Middle Eastern parents will definitely want to help you, either by seeing that your tuition is taken care of fully or by offering you advice on how to finance during your university years. You can sit and agree on a way that suits you best as a family. For example, your parents can pay for half of the tuition and you pay for the remaining. That way you can save up money while also getting the education you want.


Another way to finance tuition is by getting a part-time job at a company that recognizes your achievements and your studying schedule, or even at the university working in the library, IT department, or student center. Speak to your university's career office if you're not sure where to begin. You can also list yourself on Fiverr or Upwork as a freelancer and offer your best skills up for grabs.

Three key things to keep in mind when considering your options:

Consider a university that is reasonably priced, which will make it easier for you to pay its tuition of course.

Put yourself on a budget. This will help you figure out how much money you need if you were to borrow from someone, and where you can deposit your savings.

Stay within your budget. Make a financial plan, decide how much money you have to spend in order to fund your university, and then track your spending using a digital card or FinTech app.

If you feel like this is impossible (which it isn't), just channel your inner Ethan Hunt (aka Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible movie series).

Remember that you're not alone in this process, and that there are other students who are going through this financial planning process as well.

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