Students at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar watch a women’s basketball game at Education City in Doha on Nov. 4. VCU beat Texas A&M. (Photo by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Six U.S. universities run branches in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar at a sprawling complex outside Doha called Education City. Expenses are said to be fully covered through tuition and a foundation created by the Qatari royal family. Here are details on these Middle Eastern operations. Branches are listed in the order they opened.

Virginia Commonwealth

Bachelor’s in art history and in fine arts (fashion, graphic or interior design; painting/printmaking). Master’s in fine arts (design). Opened in 1998.

Students: 323

Faculty: 63

Tuition (undergraduate): $23,724

Graduates in Class of 2015: 58

Graduates since 1998: 508

Estimated annual budget (fiscal 2014): $41,862,161

Weill Cornell Medical College

Pre-medical (non-degree) and doctor of medicine (MD). Opened in 2002.

Students: 291 (18 preliminary, 93 pre-medical, 180 in MD program)

Faculty: 68 (24 for pre-med program, 44 for MD program)

Tuition: $48,880 (pre-med); $50,950 (MD)

Graduates (MD) in Class of 2015: 42

Graduates (MD) since 2002: 223

***Qatar-related expenditures reimbursed in 2014: $121,709,209

Texas A&M

Bachelor’s in engineering (chemical, mechanical, petroleum and electrical/computer). Master’s in chemical engineering. Opened in 2003.

Students: 508

Faculty: 81

Tuition (undergraduate): About $28,900

Graduates in Class of 2015: 105

Graduates since 2003: 635

No budget information available.


A female student prays in a room designated for female prayer at Texas A&M University at Qatar in Education City. Muslims formally pray five times a day. The building was designed by Legoretta + Legoretta — a well-regarded architectural team. Buildings across the campus were designed by famous architects. (Photo by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Carnegie Mellon

Bachelor’s in business administration, computer science, information systems, biological sciences and computational biology. Opened in 2004.

Fall 2015 students: 414

Faculty: 61

Tuition: $49,610

Graduates in Class of 2015: 104

Graduates since 2004: 481

**Reported expenditures in Middle East and North Africa, 2012-13: $54,583,947

Georgetown

Bachelor’s in foreign service (culture and politics; international economics; international history; international politics). Opened in 2005.

Students: 260

Faculty: 48

Tuition: $48,048

Graduates in Class of 2015: 57

Graduates since 2005: 269

*Qatar Foundation support in 2014: $59,540,167

Northwestern

Bachelor’s in journalism and communication. Opened in 2008.

Students: 207

Faculty: 35

Tuition: $48,624

Graduates in Class of 2015: 39

Graduates since 2008: 137

*Qatar Foundation support in 2014: $45,291,694

Sources and notes:

Each university branch provided its own data on enrollment, faculty, tuition and graduates. A few students are cross-enrolled at multiple branches. VCU’s headquarters in Richmond provided a copy of its contract with the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, which includes estimates for the annual budget of the VCU branch in Qatar. Other universities declined to provide copies of their contracts.

*”Qatar Foundation support” for Georgetown and Northwestern, refers to payments received through contracts and reported to the U.S. Department of Education. Several universities did not report contractual payments to the U.S. government.

**”Reported expenditures in Middle East and North Africa” refers to line items from university tax records that encompass Doha operations. 

***Cornell provided precise detail on how much the Qatar Foundation reimbursed its operations under an expense item reported through U.S. tax records.


Workers complete final stages of the Qatar Foundation Headquarters on the Education City campus in Doha in early November. The building was designed by internationally recognized architect Rem Koolhaas. (Photo by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)