ISLAMABAD: The government will provide scholarships to 50,000 deserving students this year under its Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship Programme.

The scholarship portal has been reopened to receive fresh applications for the academic year 2020-21. All students with family income of less than Rs45,000 per month studying in the undergraduate programme in any of the 119 public sector universities recognised by Higher Education Commission (HEC) are eligible to apply. The eligible students can apply through the online portal: https://ehsaas.hec.gov.pk/.

The scholarship applications will have to mention the universities to which they are applying. The portal is open to new applications till October 30.

For the year 2019-20, scholarships worth Rs4.827 billion were awarded to 50,762 undergraduate students nationwide.

Applicants from public-sector universities can apply for scholarships till Oct 30

The four-year undergraduate scholarship initiative was launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 4, 2019. Every year, 50,000 students from low-income families will be awarded scholarships for four to five-year undergraduate degree programmes. Over four years, 200,000 undergraduate scholarships will be awarded on need and merit basis. The scholarships cover 100 percent of the tuition fee and a living stipend of Rs4,000 per month.

The programme covers all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. As part of the programme design, 50pc of awardees are girls and two per cent are differently-abled. Total budget over four years is Rs24 billion. The student’s academic performance will be monitored, and subject to satisfactory academic progress, scholarship recipients will continue to receive the fund throughout their undergraduate programme.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Nishtar said: “This programme represents three major paradigm shifts. First, this is the largest-ever need-based scholarship programme. It is reserved for students from low-income families aiming to enable them to aspire for higher education. Second, it is the largest-ever national scholarship programme and third it is focused on enhancing the earning potential of the recipients.”

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is the lead implementing agency for the programme. Last year, 132,192 undergraduate students had applied for scholarships. The scrutiny of the applications to award 50,762 scholarships was finalised early this year.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2020