x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

RAK university looking for new students

The institution replacing George Mason University in Ras al Khaimah is trying to recruit students from across the Emirates after receiving its government licence.

The institution replacing George Mason University in Ras al Khaimah is trying to recruit students from across the Emirates after receiving its government licence. The American University of Ras al Khaimah plans to begin classes on September 6, and officials say they have little time to generate interest among new students. The university was awarded its licence by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in mid-July; the George Mason campus closed at the end of May after a disagreement the RAK Government over funding.

"The timing was just a little off for us this year," said Prof Sharon Siverts, the new university's president. "In a lot of areas, students have made commitments already for September." Recruiting students had proved more difficult than expected at the university, which had just 118 degree-course students nearly three years after bachelor's courses were launched. Prof Siverts said 30 to 40 students from George Mason were expected to continue at the new institution, which will initially offer bachelor's degrees in biology, business administration and electronics and communications engineering.

Prof Siverts did not comment on how many students the new institution wanted to attract in its first year. Officials hope that lower English language requirements - applicants must score 500 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language, instead of 570 as required by George Mason - and lower fees will help attract students. Construction is under way on two dormitories and a student centre, all scheduled for completion by the end of the year. The main university premises are in the former home of Ras al Khaimah Men's College.

dbardsley@thenational.ae