"Russia's Best Universities: Choose Yours" is a new website for foreigners seeking a free education in Russian universities. The site includes a search engine to help foreigners choose a Russian university, and an online admissions application system.

207 of about 900 higher education institutions in Russia have been selected for inclusion in the search engine. Dmitry Guzhelya, deputy head of Rossotrudnichestvo, told RBTH that the selection criteria for inclusion in the database were strict: a university must have an international student services office, a dormitory, an English-language website and social networks.

What can you learn on RUSSIA.STUDY?

The new website gives foreigners access to information about Russian universities in one place and streamlines the application process. Previously, admissions applications could only be submitted in person or via postal mail.

The online database contains practical information about each university, including its academic departments, international rankings, qualities of the university, and the availability of scholarships, as well as tuition, room and board costs.

Soon the site will also provide information about dormitories, pre-academic programs, the number of international students enrolled, application deadlines, and the kind of athletic facilities available on campus.

How to use it?

1. Create a personal account on the registration page.

2. Enter your personal data, upload scanned school/university documents.

3. Select up to six Russian universities, in order of priority.

4. Submit the application.

5. Track your application to each university online, and receive responses from the universities.

What happens to an application?

Once the candidate has applied online, the application goes to Rossotrudnichestvo's office in the student's home country, where it is reviewed in a competitive process. Recommended applications are then forwarded to the Russian Education Ministry for review. Each year, about 15,000 international students are offered scholarships to study in Russia.

According to Guzhelya, the universities also choose their potential students.

"Once the application is submitted for consideration by the Russian Education Ministry, a commission refers the applications to the universities for their review, since the applicant can specify up to six universities, in order of priority," Guzhelya said.

If the first university rejects the candidate's request, the application goes to the next university from the applicant's list. Candidates can track online which university reviewed and rejected them, as well as the reason for rejection. If candidates do not know Russian, they are offered a preparatory language course.

What happens if all six universities decline? "Then the application is sent to a seventh university, which was not selected by the candidate, but which has a shortage of students," Guzhelya said.

The search engine is available in 12 languages on the websites of the international news agencies Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) and Sputnik, and there is also a bilingual website.

This project is the result of collaboration between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Science, and Rossotrudnichestvo.

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