By: Mir M.Hosseini
Originally founded as Islamic Azad University of Tehran on Aug, 1, 1982, this private institution of Higher Education currently has an enrollment of 1.5 million students, making it the world's second largest.
Islamic Azad University Central Tehran Branch is the first and the largest branch of Islamic Azad University among domestic and foreign branches which was established in Tehran in May 1982. It started its activities with 6 courses in Bachelor's degree, one course in Associates degree admitting 200 students.
Islamic Azad University's activities quickly expanded throughout the country, so that today thousands of students are enrolling every year. Not relying on government funding, it receives charitable donations and charges tuition fees.
Azad University has over 400 branches across the country and also in other countries. It has branches and universities in U.A.E., United Kingdom, Tanzania, Lebanon and Armenia. Over the years, the university has accumulated assets estimated to be worth between $20 and $25 billion.
Azad University diplomas are recognized by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Masters and doctorate programs have been offered in many different branches of Islamic Azad University.
In 2011, a variety of issues surrounding the Islamic Azad University including the life-term presidency of Abdollah Jasbi and high tuition fees filled the state media. Observers saw this as an internal struggle between centers of power. Amid the controversy, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that the endowment of the university's assets was against the law.
The disputes surrounding the Islamic Azad University emerged after the Board of Trustees headed by Ayatollah Rafsanjani announced the previous year that it had endowed all movable and immovable properties of the university.
In a meeting of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution on Tuesday Jan, 17, 2012 Farhad Daneshjoo was appointed as the new president of the Islamic Azad University, thus ending Abdollah Jasbi’s 29-year presidency.