Afghans account for 25% of foreign students in Iran

April 6, 2022 - 17:48

TEHRAN – Twenty-five percent of the foreign students studying in Iranian universities are Afghan nationals, Mohammad Javad Salmanpour, the deputy head of the Organization for Student Affairs, said on Wednesday.

Afghan students attend Iranian universities in three ways; some enter the university by participating in the national entrance exam of Iran, and some others receive admission from universities that have non-Iranian student licenses. The third group also attended the country's universities through scholarships, he explained.

Many of the Afghan students are studying master's and Ph.D. courses in Iranian universities, he added, IRNA reported.

Currently, foreign nationals constitute 1.64 percent of the country’s student population, which is about 0.14 percent higher than the goal set by the Sixth Five-Year National Development Plan (2016-2021).

According to the plan, some 1.5 percent of the population of university students in the country should be non-Iranian, however, the figure stood at 1.64 percent in the past Iranian calendar year (March 2020-March 2021), Afshin Akhoundzadeh, an official at the Organization for Student Affairs, said, IRNA reported in May 2021.

Also, according to the 20-Year National Vision Document (ending 2025), foreign students should account for 1.8 percent of the whole student population, which is likely to even reach 2 percent, Akhoundzadeh explained.

“Some 57,675 foreign nationals from 133 countries are studying in Iranian universities, 30,600 of whom are studying in universities affiliated with the Ministry of Science, while 25,000 others are receiving education in Azad University, and about 2,000 in medical universities.”

Fifty-seven percent of the international students are studying for a master's degree, 27 percent for a bachelor's degree and 15 percent are educating to receive a Ph.D., while the remaining one percent study at other levels.

Law, Persian literature and computer engineering are the top three fields of study for foreign students in Iran, while civil engineering, business management, political science, English language and literature, Quran and hadith sciences, international relations, electrical engineering, and other majors with the highest number of non-Iranian students.

In 2013, 35 centers were allowed to admit foreign students, which has increased to 77 in 2021.



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