A government scholarship that paid for nearly all of Saudi Arabian students’ education will soon no longer extend to most Maritime universities.
The King Abdullah Scholarship Program covers about 95 per cent of student’s education and living costs.
Abdullah Albadan, a sixth-year petroleum engineering student at Cape Breton University, says he wouldn't be in Canada without it.
"Maybe the government has developed a different way to develop people,” said Albadan. “They're creating new universities over there."
As of Tuesday, the scholarship will only fund students attending Dalhousie University.
It came as disappointing news for Cape Breton University, where Saudi Arabian students make up one-eighth of the campus population.
"Our current students will obviously stay with us until the end of their scholarships,” said David Wheeler, president of Cape Breton University. “But it's likely that in the future we'll have very, very few students coming directly from Saudi Arabia."
Cape Breton University Students’ Union President Brandon Ellis says Saudi Arabian students have largely been a success story at the school.
"Our valedictorian was a Saudi student last year,” said Ellis. “He also helped create the CBRM Youth Council, so they're not just involved here on campus – they're also involved in the broader community."
More than 1,100 Saudi Arabian students attend university in Nova Scotia, including nearly 300 at Cape Breton University.
The Saudi Cultural Bureau in Ottawa would not offer comment on why the Saudi Arabian government made its decision.
CBU says despite the decision, it expects its overall international student numbers to remain strong.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.