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ISLAMABAD: Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships Steering Committee Monday approved a budget of Rs 6.53 billion for 67,000 countrywide scholarships for deserving students in academic year 2020-21.

The Committee meeting was presided over by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar.

The steering committee discussed 111,685 undergraduate students including 42,430 females applied for scholarships through online application portal that closed on Nov 30 last year.

The meeting also reviewed the field execution of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship programme with 125 public sector universities.

The scrutiny of new applications is currently underway and it is expected that final selection process will be completed by April this year. The steering committee directed Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Higher Education Commission (HEC) for ensure timely disbursal of funds.

The committee was informed that HEC will reopen the applications portal for 15 days in the second week of the coming March to facilitate students from medical universities in the public sector.

According to federal government, the Rs 24 billion Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship is a ‘ground-breaking programme’ that grants 50,000 scholarships per year to undergraduate students—50 per cent females— from the low-income families, over a period of four years.

The programme is effective in all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit- Baltistan (GB) and covers tuition fee and a living stipend. For the year 2019-20, scholarships worth Rs 4.827 billion were awarded to 50,762 undergraduate students across the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021