Aga Khan Foundation
Application Deadline: 17 March 2023
Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme
The Aga Khan Foundation’s International Scholarship Programme (ISP) was established by His Highness the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme aims to support gifted, outstanding students from developing countries, who have no other means of financing their studies, to pursue full-time postgraduate studies at reputable higher education institutions of their choice.
Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to apply for the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme:
- Excellent academic records.
- Genuine financial need. Financial assistance is provided according to the needs of students, but the ISP must be considered a resource of last resort. Applicants must demonstrate that they have explored and secured multiple sources of funding. The award funding need is determined individually, by deducting from the eligible student expenses, the total of other grants, loans (if any), parental contribution and student employment income. All students are encouraged to try to reduce the amount requested from the Foundation by applying to other sources of assistance as well.
- Admission to a reputable postgraduate institution of higher learning. The programme gives priority to Master’s degree courses but also considers applications for PhD studies. Local/regional universities and distance learning programmes are acceptable for ISP funding, if the quality of the courses is maintained.
- Strong professional experience, extracurricular achievements, volunteer contributions and leadership skills.
Application Process for the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme
Award recipients are selected through an annual competitive application process. At present, the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme (ISP) is available in: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada*, Egypt, France*, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Portugal*, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda and the USA*. [*Note: in Canada, France, Portugal and the USA, applications are accepted from those who are originally from one of the above developing countries, are interested in development-related studies and who have no other means of financing their education.]
Applicants must be a national residing in of one of the aforementioned countries. As applications are handled by local entities, interested individuals must liaise with the appropriate country-based unit (contact details provided below). E.g. applicants residing in India must apply via the local office in India, while those residing in Kenya must apply via the local office in Kenya, and so on. The Foundation only accepts applications of eligible nationals listed above who are residing in one of the countries where there are local Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Aga Khan Education Services (AKES), or Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB) offices that process applications and interview candidates.
As the ISP must be considered a lender of last resort, preference is given to those who have been able to secure funding from alternative sources. Applicants are requested to make every effort to obtain funding from other sources, so that the amount requested from the Foundation can be reduced to a minimum. While not exhaustive, the following list of other scholarships and financial assistance programmes may be of interest to applicants.
Preference is given to young professionals under 30 years of age.
Applications for short-term courses are not considered; neither are applications from students who have already commenced their postgraduate studies or who are enrolled in part-time programmes.
Application Timelines for the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme
The next application cycle will open in January 2023. The deadline for the submission of completed applications is 17 March 2023. Interested students must contact the local office for application forms, deadline dates and application requirements, as these may vary by country.
Completed applications must be submitted to the agency from which Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme application form was obtained. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
Local scholarship committees may interview applicants about their financial situation, academic performance, extra-curricular achievements and career plans.
As this is a global, competitive award, final decisions are made by an international selection panel in July. Students who are part of the final, global round will be informed of the outcome of their application shortly thereafter.
The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme awards are structured as a half grant and half loan (i.e. 50 percent of the award amount needs to be paid back by the applicant). Scholarships for Master’s studies are granted for the entire duration of the degree course. For PhD students, scholarships are awarded for the first two years, after which students are expected to find funding from alternative sources.
A cumulative service charge of five percent per annum is levied on the amount of the loan. The student’s head of family or another guarantor is required to co-sign the loan agreement.
The repayment period is five years, starting six months after the earlier of the following events: a) graduation, b) termination of studies or c) the withdrawal of support following failure to meet the academic standards expected of ISP students. Those who pursue further education after completion of an ISP-funded programme are also eligible for a moratorium. Graduates who return to work in a developing country, and remain there, are eligible for a moratorium of two years.
The award covers tuition fees and living expenses for the student. The award does not cover living expenses for family members or the cost of international travel.
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