As most of you know, Lebanon is a small county on the Mediterranean sea, with a population around ~6 million. A statement found in the 2012 European Commission report on higher education in Lebanon, precisely describes the status of the relation between Lebanese government, higher education, and foreign education “Lebanese higher education is [characterized] by a historical openness to the outside world… It is hard to find one institution that does not have a convention or an agreement with one or more institutions in the region, in Europe, in Canada or in the United States. However, there are no national policies or measures to promote the foreign mobility of students during their higher education studies.”
The Lebanese higher education system is primarily dependent on one public university, and the remainder are private universities, which can be expensive. The top university in the Arab World, the American University of Beirut (AUB), charges 600-800$ per credit for undergraduate level and 800-1000$ per credit for graduate level, beyond 15 credits, students are not required to pay. The government expenditures on higher education is less than 0.5 % of the GDP. Other sources of funding are primarily students and their families, or in some cases foreign governments and private institutions who donate money to certain institutions. 40% of the Lebanese students are enrolled in the Lebanese University (the national public university), while the majority are enrolled in private institutions.
Due to the strategic location of Lebanon, it attracts international students to study at one of its institutions. In 2014, 17,500 international students have been reported to be studying in Lebanon, a decline from what was reported in previous years due to the regional conflicts. Although there is no clear list of the nationalities of these students, 700 U.S students were reported to be studying at AUB in 2012. There are 15,000 student seeking degrees abroad, as reported in 2015, primarily targeting France, UAE, U.S, and U.K. The high number of students studying abroad are mostly related to employment abroad.
There are currently 31 accredited private universities listed by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. In an effort to raise the quality of education, “The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE), and a group of Lebanese universities partnered with the European Union starting in 2011 to develop a quality assurance framework and agency for Lebanese higher education”. The project is known as TLQAA (Toward the Lebanese Quality Assurance Agency). Unfortunately, this draft law targeted to establish a national quality assurance in higher education fell prey to the inactivity of the Parliament. However, many institutions are accredited by external bodies in the USA and Europe.
**The numbers in this report are based on the World Education News+Reviews article in 2017 found here.