Apr 20, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Head of the Turkish Higher Education Board (YÖK), Yekta Saraç recently announced that nearly 15,000 Syrian students enrolled at Turkish universities in 2016-2017. 

On the HurriyetDailyNews website, Saraç stated: “Among the overall Syrian student population, 1,149 are postgraduate and 352 are doctorate students. Around 2,000 are receiving education in foundation universities.” 

He added, “The fact that the number of Syrian students receiving education in universities [in Turkey] rose to 15,000 this year from 5,000 in 2014-15 and from 10,000 in 2015-16 shows a rapid increase ...There are students receiving education on every spot of the Turkish map.” 

One third of the Syrian students are women.  3,473 Syrian students receive some form of financial aid from the “Turkey Scholarship” program, Saraç said.

Where are Syrian students studying?  Saraç said, “Istanbul University follows Gaziantep University with 1,000 students and Karabük University follows it with 927 students. Mersin University, Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam University, İnönü University, Çukurova University, Istanbul Aydın University, Yüzüncü Yıl University and Sakarya University are next on the list.”

Saraç added that he hopes that Turkey is on a “hopeful” path for Syrian students.  He acknowledged the YÖK’s new system for international academics, which will make it easier for “eligible” Syrian professors to join Turkish academic life. 

He also acknowledged the Syrian refugee issue and said that nearly three million Syrians currently live in Turkey.

Learn more about studying in Turkey

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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