Funding education through scholarship: How to avail it in India?

Without getting scholarship, many meritorious students belonging to not-so-wealthy families can’t afford to take admission even in top Indian universities – forget availing the opportunity abroad.

education, higher education, scholarship, education expenses, medical colleges, Ukraine, government scholarship, Scholarship Platforms in India
While in the US, $100 billion is set for funding students, the government here is simply not pushing for scholarships in India.

A significant number of students get enrolled in top universities across the world every year. So, there is no dearth of brilliant students in India. However, without getting scholarship, many meritorious students belonging to not-so-wealthy families can’t afford to take admission even in top Indian universities – forget availing the opportunity abroad.

Apart from the fact that the degree has an international accreditation, the reason behind Indian students choosing to study medicine in Ukraine is because the fees there are half of the fees that they would pay in the private medical colleges in India.

Due to the lack of adequate scholarship facilities in India, after coming back from the war torn country, they now want the government to get them admitted in government-run medical colleges. If students knew of the scholarships that existed in India – many students would have chosen differently.

While in the US, $100 billion is set for funding students, the government here is simply not pushing for scholarships in India.

So, where do students go if they want a scholarship in India? Where do they find what is available?

Career counselor and college planner Charushilla Narula Bajpai, Founder & Key Mentor for UniversityConnection, writes on the need for scholarship platforms.

The Need for Scholarship Platforms in India

Counselors, teachers, and parents often advise students – that the best way to predict the future is to create it. That’s great, but what if that future requires more than scoring good grades, creating super-star profiles, or securing admission to a dream college or university? What if that future needs real, tangible support in terms of resources, funds, and an opportunity to realise your true potential?

Meet Kavita. She comes from a single-income household, stationed in a small town with limited access to career guidance at her school. When Kavita shared that she wanted to pursue fashion design, everyone (even her friends) laughed at her. Not willing to give up, she wanted to learn from the best in places like London, Italy, or France. Many sneered at her audacity. She did not know much about applying abroad but did her best to get accepted at a premium fashion college in the country. But where were the funds for that? The university had no system for financial assistance, nor were there many searches that could lead her to where she wanted to be.

Let’s meet Ritika. She’s been pursuing her love for math and economics and aspires to study in the United States. Her mom’s a homemaker, and her father works at an organisation. Her family of five also includes her grandmother and younger brother. They all depend on the father’s income. Her parents’ mandate was clear to her: If you want to study abroad, get a scholarship. Ritika researched through and university websites and found a #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship. She applied through a common portal and not only made it to some great universities with scholarships, but she even applied for additional need and merit-based financial aid and got more than 80 per cent of her tuition waived.

Frankly, Ritika could have also ended up like Kavita, with limited funds and nowhere to go. Both sought out funds, but one found it easy to access student scholarships, and the other kept looking. Of course, counselors may argue that Kavita should have researched better. She would have found the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) launched in 2020 that puts together hundreds of scholarships offered by the central and state government agencies and also the UGC (University Grants Commission).

Let us explore different types of scholarships currently available in India, to name a few:

  1. Government scholarships such as
    National Means Cum Merit Scholarship
    Post Graduate Merit Scholarship for University Rank Holders
    Prime Minister Scholarship Scheme and more.
  2. Merit-Based Scholarships which prioritises academic scores/ grades
  3. Women Scholarships that is specially for the female students to encourage them
  4. Means-Based Scholarships which provides aid to those who seek financial assistance to pursue higher education
  5. Merit cum Means-Based Scholarships that supports students who are not only seeking financial assistance but are meritorious in their academic journey
  6. Talent-Based Scholarships that focuses on the student’s achievements in co-curricular / extracurricular activities on different levels
  7. Community-Based Scholarships for specific communities or minority communities
  8. Private Scholarships and more!

Scholarships in India

NSP is taken as one of the many Mission Mode Projects under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) akin to a sustainable development goal leading to nation-building. It’s a great start towards digitizing and one that needs applauding. However, when one (as a counselor or college planner) needs to refer to and suggest options to someone aiming for, let’s say, international relations or psychology or undergrad versus postgrad scholarships in India, the ease of finding that information becomes important. The portal requires student-centricity along with scholarship-centricity, and the creators need to ask, ‘What does a student or a counselor search’? As an example, try this search: “Scholarships to study fashion designing in India”. You will most likely be directed to international scholarships along with paid results.

The prerequisites for scholarships vary from public grants to private institutions that offer scholarships that can be fully funded or partially funded by them. But it is vital that the students carefully consider their scholarship application while researching the websites and scholarship portals to understand them better.

Here are 4 primary prerequisites:

  1. Academic grades / transcripts
  2. Declaration of family income
  3. Additional examinations
  4. Additional essays to elaborate on the need for scholarships

Encouraging students to explore multiple scholarship opportunities must be prioritised. It makes them believe in their own capabilities and plan for their dream university along with a scholarship. A well-researched and comprehensive Complete Application Admission Schedule (CAAS) from us has helped students receive more than $50 million in scholarships in the last three years alone, including the Holland Scholarship, multiple Global Scholar Awards, and even presidential and other merit and need awards at various universities. It’s encouraging to see many private universities in India integrating financial aid and scholarships as part of their offerings and neatly elaborating this information on their website with a defined mandate. Symbiosis, OP Jindal, Ashoka, KREA, Plaksha, and many more often have more than 50 per cent of their students studying on some scholarship or the other, and one wonders whether the same students would have opted for a public university in case they had access to better research.

A scholarship is not just money on the table; it is a value proposition. It means someone believes in an individual’s future, their ability to bring about change and so finds it meaningful to invest in them!

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First published on: 05-05-2022 at 21:53 IST