AUA Makes Top-Quality Education Accessible6 min read
“Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility:” AUA stands in solidarity with UNESCO’s proclamation of the International Day of Education.
Ever since its establishment in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) has been striving to make high-quality Western-style education accessible to all qualified students, regardless of their financial ability. Affiliated with the University of California, AUA is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. Citizens of the Republic of Armenia (RA) and holders of Armenian passports of special residency status have their tuition subsidized by 60%. The remaining tuition can be further reduced for RA citizens under the need-based and merit-based tuition assistance programs.
AUA makes education accessible in rural areas of Armenia and Artsakh through its Open Education. Prospective AUA students have the opportunity to learn about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at AUA by attending regularly organized open houses, info sessions, and open classes. The AGBU Papazian Library, which houses the richest English-language collection in the region and exam preparatory resources, is open to the general public. AUA continues to support its students throughout their educational journey by offering various support services within its Division of Student Affairs. The University also promotes learning through its modern and accessible facilities.
Need-Blind Admission Policy and Financial Aid
AUA is committed to providing top-quality education accessible to all qualified students. The need-blind admission policy ensures that students are admitted to AUA solely based on academic merit and not their financial status. This policy assures that no qualified Armenian student will be denied an AUA education simply because of the inability to pay tuition. As mentioned above, in addition to the annual subsidy that reduces the total tuition fee, RA citizens are also eligible for need-based and merit-based tuition assistance that may reduce the remaining cost of education by up to 90%. A limited number of scholarships are also available for academically gifted students.
International students have the opportunity to apply for merit-based international scholarships that may cover up to 50% of their tuition. Moreover, students who are citizens of Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Russia, and Syria are eligible for the Aurora Gratitude Scholarship, which may cover up to the full cost of tuition and, in some cases, also provide housing and travel support.
In 2018 and 2019, AUA launched two major campaigns to establish endowed scholarship funds to support women in IT and veterans: Yes, Armenian Women Can! and Honoring Those Who Served: Investing in Our Veterans’ Education. The University believes that the female population of Armenia can utilize their analytic acumen and intellect to make significant contributions to the development of the IT sector. AUA also acknowledges the need to support Armenian soldiers after their military discharge and return to academic life at AUA.
Making Education Accessible in Rural Areas
AUA’s Open Education offers language, test preparatory, and professional development courses not only in Yerevan but also in the regions of Armenia and Artsakh. Prospective AUA applicants living in or near Gyumri, Dilijan, Yeghegnadzor, Vanadzor, and Stepanakert can enroll in General English language courses in six different levels, as well as take TOEFL iBT test preparatory courses. In most of the regions, course fees are subsidized by the Turpanjian Family Foundation, and in Artsakh, by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU).
Open Houses, Open Classes, and Information Sessions
AUA creates opportunities for prospective students to meet and interact with current AUA students, faculty, and staff during regularly organized open houses, open classes, and information sessions. These events offer an insider’s look into university life prior to application and matriculation. During undergraduate and graduate open houses, prospective students and their parents can talk with admissions staff who walk them through the application process, help them to prepare for the admission interview, and provide coaching in writing successful essays. The participants in the open houses also learn about financial aid opportunities and meet faculty and current students. The open houses are held in English with simultaneous translation into Armenia, but there are also sessions offered in Armenian.
Open classes offer prospective students the unique opportunity to attend actual AUA classes free of charge. This gives a prospective applicant an insider’s glimpse into the academic experience at AUA. They can experience the classroom environment, witness the AUA teaching methodology and observe how the faculty member interacts with students. In addition, AUA organizes information sessions on application requirements, essay writing, and applying for financial aid throughout the fall and spring semesters.
For the upcoming undergraduate and graduate open houses, open classes, and information sessions organized by the AUA Office of Admissions, please visit the admissions calendar.
Library Accessible to All
Founded in 1991, the same year as AUA, the University’s AGBU Papazian Library offers a unique space for exploring the richest English-language collection in the region with over 39,000 volumes, 186,000 e-books, and more than 38,000 e-journals. The library is open not only to the AUA community but also to members of the public at large aged 16 years and over. Library patrons can easily access books, periodicals, audiovisual materials, and online resources that support their learning and research needs.
Supporting Current Students’ Learning Experience
AUA also ensures that enrolled students are successful in their education by offering them various support services via AUA’s Division of Student Affairs. To create a learning environment that facilitates learning for students with diverse learning needs and abilities, Student Affairs offers a host of services including counseling, disability support services, academic support in math and writing, and career counseling. Student Affairs also organizes workshops on topics related to personal and professional skill development and hosts AUA’s Student Council and student clubs. Extracurriculars ease the heavy flow of academic life and ensure a high level of student engagement in campus activities. In respect to disability support services, AUA has acquired assistive technologies procured within the framework of the Erasmus+ INCLUSION Project. The Math and Writing Center supports students who struggle with math and writing by providing free consultation services to boost individual skills. These services are accessible to all AUA students and are free of charge.
At the beginning of the freshman year, AUA students are required to take part in the Peer Mentoring program, where they are placed into small groups by major program led by an upper class student-mentor. The peer mentor is responsible for helping freshmen acclimate to university life. These mentoring relationships last far past the first semester.
Facilities that Promote Learning
The stimulating learning environment is further promoted at AUA by its accessible, well-equipped and modern facilities. Thanks to the grants the University has received from USAID’s Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID/ASHA), facilities on AUA campus have been reconstructed, renovated or built from the ground up. One of the recent additions adjacent to the Paramaz Avedisian Building (PAB) is the Student Union opened in September 2018. It offers AUA students a space to collaborate, organize events, or just socialize between classes. The Student Union is open till 11 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to 7 pm on Saturdays.
AUA’s Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) houses a cutting-edge prototyping lab that allows students and other entrepreneurs to invent, tinker, and realize their ideas using 3D printers, a 3D Faro Edge scanner, CNC machines, and other engineering and design tools and materials.
Another important facility under construction is the student residence in Dzoragyugh, also made possible through a generous grant of $999,000 by USAID/ASHA and thanks to philanthropists George and Dr. Carolann Najarian who donated the semi-constructed building to the University in 2017. The four-story building is just a 20-minute walking distance from the AUA main campus. The student residence will house around 60 students from Armenia’s regions and abroad. The new facility will be fully accessible for disabled students and will open its doors in 2020.
The AGBU Papazian Library has state-of-of-the-art IT facilities: computers and projectors available for use in the library, as well as Kindle e-book readers, tablets and laptops available for borrowed use. Besides 15 individual carrels and 200 seats available in two large halls, the AGBU Papazian Library has seven group study rooms with large LCD screens and an adjacent Collaborative Study Space in the Agbabian Hall that accommodates three multi-seat lounges with media:scape units. Here, students have the opportunity to share individual content from their laptops with other group members using a large 42″ flat-screen monitor. The AGBU Papazian Library is open seven days a week and has special extended operating hours during University exam periods. Emphasis is placed on ensuring individual and collective study spaces that allow AUA students to engage in continuous learning in a stimulating and enriching environment.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.