The Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal has been reopened to receive fresh applications for the academic year 2020-21. All students with family income less than 45,000, studying in any year of an undergraduate program in any of the 119 public sector universities recognized by Higher Education Commission (HEC) are eligible to apply. Eligible students can apply through an 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, 2020. For the year 2019-20, scholarships worth Rs. 4.827 billion were awarded to 50,762 undergraduate students nationwide.
The 4-year Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship initiative was formally launched by the Prime Minister Imran Khan on Nov 4, 2019. Under the program, every year, 50,000 students from low-income families will be awarded scholarships for 4 to 5-year undergraduate degree programs. Over four years, 200,000 undergraduate scholarships will be awarded on need and merit basis. Scholarships covers 100% of the tuition fee and a living stipend of 4,000 per month.
The geographical spread of the program covers all four provinces, AJK and GB. As part of the program design, 50% of awardees are girls and 2% of awardees are differently abled. Total budget over 4 years is Rs. 24 billion. The students’ academic performance will be monitored, and subject to satisfactory academic progress, scholarship recipients will continue to receive scholarship throughout their undergraduate programme.
Commenting on the paradigm shift in the scholarship policy of the government, Dr. Nishtar said, “This program represents three major paradigm shifts. First, this is the largest-ever needs-based scholarship program. 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 program and third, it is focused on enhancing the earning potential of the recipients.”
Higher Education Commission (HEC) is the lead implementing agency for the Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship program. Last year, 132,192 undergraduate students had applied for scholarships through the online portal. The scrutiny of applications received last year to award 50,762 scholarships was finalized early this year with all 119 public sector universities.
The project is being overseen by the Ehsaas Scholarships Steering Committee, co-chaired by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar and Chairman HEC, Dr. Tariq Banuri. A joint monitoring and evaluation framework has been put in place to ensure transparency and equity.