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Government Offers to Pay for Harvard Education in Return for 3 Years Labor at Gazprom

Only students with bachelors degrees will be considered for financial support, and those that take part in the program will be obliged to work for a Russian company for three years once their course at the foreign university ends.

The government will this year launch a scheme to give selected Russian students the chance to study at illustrious foreign universities, including Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge, at the expense of the federal budget, an Education and Science Ministry official told ITAR-Tass Monday.

A supervisory board for the Global Education program is currently being set up, after which the selection process will get under way, said Anna Usachyova, head of the ministry's department of information and regional politics.

Izvestia reported Monday that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week signed a government decree creating the program, which will invest a total of 4.4 billion rubles ($128 million) in the program between 2014 and 2016.

But the government is not letting anyone get away with a free lunch — the plan contains a number of built-in clauses to make sure the state reaps the benefits of its investments.

Only students with bachelors degrees will be considered for financial support, and those that take part in the program will be obliged to work for a Russian company for three years once their course at the foreign university ends. Students who do not fulfill this requirement will have to pay back three times the amount of money spent on their tuition, Izvestia reported.

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