78 Palestinian students graduate college through U.S.-funded A-PLUS scholarship program

JERUSALEM – Today, a graduation ceremony celebrated the achievements of 78 Palestinian student beneficiaries of the A-PLUS scholarship program, a U.S. Government-funded program implemented through the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and its partner AMIDEAST. This graduation ceremony is part of the multi-year American-Palestinian Local University Scholarship (A-PLUS) program which supports higher education opportunities for financially challenged Palestinian students. The program provides undergraduate scholarships for Palestinian youth to attend colleges and universities in the West Bank and Gaza.

Dorothy Shea, Acting Principal Officer of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem, told the graduates, “The U.S. government has worked to make A-PLUS a reality because this program gives you an opportunity to release your incredible untapped potential.” She added, “The impact of this program lasts far beyond the academic school year and far beyond the lifetime of this project. That’s because this program is not about filling classrooms with students; rather, it is about filling minds with new ideas and skills and possibilities.”

The project targets Palestinian students who are academically talented but who are unable to afford tuition and expenses at local universities and colleges. A-PLUS provides students with scholarships that cover local tuition and fees, books, and transportation costs for the full length of their chosen undergraduate program.

The $1.5 million A-PLUS program began in February, 2010 in response to a 2009 visit by then-Secretary Hillary Clinton, where she expressed a desire to see the U.S. government provide assistance that would enhance Palestinian students’ access to higher education.