Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal reopens for online applications


Zubair Qureshi


The Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship portal is reopening to receive fresh applications for the academic year 2020-21. All students with family income less than Rs 45,000 a month studying in an undergraduate programme at one of the 119 public sector universities recognized by Higher Education Commission (HEC) are eligible to apply.
The eligible students can apply through an online portal, says a statement issued here Tuesday. However, the statement further said, the scholarship applicants 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 Rs4.827 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 programme, every year, 50,000 students from low-income families will be awarded scholarships for 4 to 5-year undergraduate degree programmes. 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 programme covers all four provinces, AJK and GB. As part of the programme design, 50% of awardees are girls and 2% of awardees are differently abled. The total budget over 4 years is Rs24 billion and 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, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said, “This programme represents three major paradigm shifts. First, this is the largest-ever needs-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.”
Higher Education Commission (HEC) is the lead implementing agency for the Ehsaas undergraduate scholarship programme. 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 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.