Students are caught in a currency exchange trap

Private universities in Yemen are charging tuition fees in dollars and creating their own currency exchange rates, squeezing many students out of education, writes Tarek Abd El-Galil for Al-Fanar Media.

“We cannot pay such sums of money; we may drop out,” said Salah Al-Wasi’i, (20), a pharmacy student at the University of Science and Technology in Taiz, a city on the front lines of Yemen’s civil war. “The fees have burdened students and families. Taiz is under siege and the coronavirus crisis has affected job opportunities available to us and our families.”

In 2014, the Central Bank of Yemen in Sanaa set the price of the dollar at 250 Yemeni rials, and it stayed at that rate until 2017. After the central bank moved to Aden, the power of the rial against the dollar declined, however, and most private universities are charging 400 to 500 rials. The dollar exchange rate varies from one city to another. Private universities in Taiz set the exchange rate at 400 rials for a dollar, but the universities of Aden and Hadramout set the rate at 500 rials. Some private universities require students in Aden to pay in dollars, and don’t accept rials at all. That forces students to resort to the black market, which has an exchange rate of 820 rials per dollar.
Full report on the Al-Fanar Media site