American University of Iraq-Sulaimani is a private university, which means that there is nothing such as a free lunch at AUI-S.
Students who come to AUI-S, even those on scholarship, know that there is a monetary price on the education they get. So it is normal to see things given in exchange for an amount of money.
However, this doesn't mean that there are no different classes at AUI-S. Oppositely, the classes at AUI-S are visible to a large extent. First, because it is a small university. Second, because some of the top rich people 'children are at AUI-S.
On the other hand, there are poor students. Poor in this context means those people who can't provide extra money for their education. They may have some money to sustain daily needs, but they can't pay for their education, residence and transportation.
Between these two classes, there is a large middle class body of students at AUI-S.
These students are not extremely rich neither extremely poor. They can live comfortably if there was not a sudden change in their income.
We want to argue that the policies applied at AUI-S are not in favor of the poor and middle class students who constitute the majority of the AUI-S student body.
Most of these problems are connected with financial aid students, which we will speak about in another piece. However, we want to give specific examples of the pro-rich behavior of the AUI-S administration.
AUI-S's decision to get $100 for books and another $100 for the dorms hurt a lot of students financially. This might seem funny for some people who only speak in terms of millions and billions, but that is the truth. There are students whose families have had a hard time to get $200. Students coming from low income families don't get $400 easily a year, taking into account that an average Iraqi's GDP per capita is only $2,500.
A student from a poor family normally gets between $100-$120 from her family monthly. This means that the family gives between $1200-$1400 to the student. When another $400 is added to the $1200, the family clearly experiences hard times.
The situation gets worse when the poor student is coming from a big family. Students with more than 3 siblings, who are students too for most of the time, suffer more than anyone else. We have more than one example of families who can't provide $100 to their child monthly. The student, finding no appropriate job fitting his schedule, works for very low wages.
There are students at AUI-S who have more than 3 jobs in order to make ends meet. However, AUI-S seems to continue these policies of raising money at the expense of the poor and middle class students.
The garage, which is filled with all kinds of expensive cars almost all the time, is a gift offered from the university to the rich students. Since parking is free, anyone who can get a car comes with a car. The crowded garage is getting more and more crowded every day, but the university has no solution. AUI-S can get a lot of money out of putting a price on parking. This will hurt no one, since the majority of the students coming with their own cars to the university are rich students. The price that they will pay, say $10 for one day, doesn't affect the rich students very much, while the profit made by AUI-S, say $15000 a month, helps AUI-S a lot.
The American University of Iraq-Sulaimani claims to be working out solutions to find more resources and get more money, but it seems that this attempt is going to cost poor and middle class students only. Students who belong to this category have a stable income for most of the time, so they can't give the university more than what they do now. There are students who have a really hard time finding $400-$800, but they do their best to find that money and give it to AUI-S. However, they are not ready to pay more and more money. There are families who will choose not to send their children to AUI-S if the price of the education kept increasing.
AUI-S should find ways, one which we have proposed above, to get more money but not hurt the majority of the students.