The Higher Education Capacity Development (HECD) program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), held a gathering for 200 students who received financial aid under the Higher Education Financial Aid (HEFA) initiative at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU). The gathering marks the completion of the first round of financial aid assistance to NDU for Academic Year 2022–2023. USAID/Lebanon Mission Director Mary Eileen Devitt, NDU President Fr. Bechara Khoury, along with representatives from NDU faculty and staff, the Education Development Center, and USAID/Lebanon joined the student gathering at the Main Campus in Zouk Mosbeh.
The purpose of the $2.85 million HEFA initiative is to help university students overcome the financial burdens caused by Lebanon’s unstable political and economic situation, giving them access to a quality education and thereby improving their future prospects. Through this initiative, USAID has thus far provided 200 partial scholarships to undergraduate students at NDU, covering up to 90 percent of their tuition fees. The number of beneficiary students will increase to 350 during the coming Academic Year 2023–2024.
In her remarks, Devitt said the following: “In August 2022, the United States government, through USAID, launched this financial aid initiative because we believe that education should be accessible to all, especially now in light of the economic crisis that has adversely affected students nationwide. I am happy to be here a year later to celebrate the outcome of our partnership with NDU and to show our continued support to the education sector. Through this $2.8 million initiative, 200 students received financial aid covering up to 90 percent of their tuition fees at NDU to help them overcome the financial burdens caused by the unstable political and economic situation in the country.”
The Father President, in his speech, highlighted the importance of this initiative, stating: “The partnership between USAID and NDU has been a shining example of what can be achieved when organizations work together towards a common goal. We are grateful for USAID’s continued support, and we look forward to building on this partnership to create even greater opportunities for our students and the wider community.”
The Education Development Center is implementing the HEFA Initiative under the five-year (2019–2024) HECD Program. To date, said Program has supported over 970 higher education administrators and instructors from 10 universities in Lebanon with high-quality capacity building and professional development. HECD helps universities to better prepare their graduates to successfully enter the workforce. Nearly 8,000 students have so far benefited from the job readiness and training programs offered by the project.