Students feel the pain as currency collapses

The Iranian currency has lost about a third of its value against the US dollar as sanctions have cut hard currency earnings from oil exports, writes Yeganeh Torbati for Reuters. Thousands of students have watched helplessly, as this and the abolition of a government policy that helped them meet costs have made a foreign degree so expensive as to be nearly impossible.

Places in Iran's top public universities, determined by a national entrance exam, are extremely competitive, and lucrative fields such as medicine are difficult to get into. For those whose families can afford it, studying abroad can be a different avenue to earning a prestigious degree, putting students in line for the best jobs when they return home.

But the Iranian government, moving the economy onto an austerity footing in the face of sanctions, appears increasingly to view foreign study as a luxury that can be sacrificed. In a move to preserve its foreign exchange reserves, the government announced last month that most students abroad would no longer be able to buy dollars at a subsidised government ‘reference’ rate of 12,260 rials. That forced many to seek hard currency in the open market, where it costs about 34,000 rials to buy a dollar.
Full report on the Reuters site