CNN reports that with its budget under pressure as a result of the oil price crash, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been forced to tighten the rules of the US$6 billion King Abdullah Scholarship Program, limiting it to those attending one of the top 100 universities globally, or studying a programme rated in the top 50 in its field, writes Ivana Kottasova for CNN.

The story covered also in University World News ( Issue No. 400) underlines that the Saudi government “did not specify the scale of the cuts, but said the new conditions are part of its efforts to save money. It is cutting overall spending on education by 12% this year. The programme was founded in 2005 and covers full tuition, medical insurance, a monthly stipend for living expenses, and an annual round-trip airfare for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students. Previously, there were few restrictions on where and what Saudis could study”.

Roughly 90% of students from Saudi Arabia studying abroad are supported by the fund and it is anticipated that a fall in the number of Saudi scholarships will hurt United States universities. Almost 60,000 Saudi Arabian students enrolled at US universities last year. That makes them the fourth biggest group of foreign students in the US, behind students from China, India and South Korea, according to the Institute of International Education. Full report on the CNN site .