New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) With the Turkish government offering a comprehensive scholarship programme, the rush of international students to get a degree from the top universities of the country has grown over the years.Turkey has 34 universities in the overall Times Higher Education World University Rankings including the Bilkent University and Hacettepe University, among others.The government-funded scholarship programme, called "Turkiye Scholarships", welcomes international students at all academic levels as well as research and language learning opportunities.What attracts the students to this scholarship is that besides providing financial support, it also offers university and programme placements to its awardees at all levels of higher education.Since "Turkiye Scholarships" has been entrusted to the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), the body in charge of administering the scholarship programme, students' interest in the scholarships has been on the rise with every passing year, according to Abdullah Eren, Head of YTB."Back in 2012, Turkiye Scholarships programme received 42,000 applications, while last year it reached a record number of 146,600 applications from 167 different countries. This year, we also aim to set a new record," said Eren.The programme provides around 5,000 scholarships every year including full-time degrees (bachelor's, master's and PhD) as well as short-term programmes such as research scholarships and language and culture programmes.Applications for the year 2020 are open between January 10-February 20, 2020, and are received online through the scholarship programme's online application system, free of charge.Referring to the great interest shown in the programme, Eren pointed out that the growth in interest of the programme is due to the wide range of services and programmes that the scholarship covers."It is an all-inclusive programme that covers the cost of tuition fees, monthly stipend, accommodation, health expenditure, round-trip flight tickets and a one-year Turkish language course for all students. Hence, it's one of the world's most comprehensive scholarship programmes," Eren said.The scholarship programme is competitive and merit-based, where next to the candidates' academic excellence, additional extra-curricular social and other qualifications are taken into consideration.All awardees are provided with a one year free of charge Turkish language course regardless of their programme and academic background, wherein students get the chance to be acquainted with Turkish culture with a variety of trips and programmes provided in their first year, next to learning Turkish.Following graduation, students are initiated into the Turkey alumni network, which holds around 150,000 graduates from around 156 countries.
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