Pursuing Dreams

Higher Education
Wali Sultan, a scholarship recipient of USAID’s Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Project
Derek Brown
USAID is helping talented students pursue their dreams.
“Because of this scholarship, I have security for myself and for my family.” — Wali Sultan

Wali Sultan from Daska in Punjab worried he would not be able to continue his studies after his father died.  “I had always dreamed of studying in a renowned university, but I had no clue about how I would be able to complete a master’s degree and help support my family,” said Sultan.  

Sultan heard about the Merit and Need Based Scholarships offered by USAID and the Higher Education Commission and applied.

His application was accepted and he received a full scholarship to study business administration at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad.  After completing his MBA degree, Sultan was hired by one of the leading telecommunications company in Pakistan as a procurement associate.  “USAID truly came as a blessing in disguise. And with the grace of God, my determination, prayers of my kind mother and financial support of USAID, I have security for myself and for my family.”

USAID’s Merit and Need Based Scholarship Program awards scholarships for university study to academically talented, financially needy     Pakistani students. The program targets students going to government schools in rural or remote areas, especially in northern Sindh, Balochistan, southern Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Students can pursue study in agriculture or management (master’s or bachelor’s degrees) by applying through any of the 11 partner Pakistani universities.  

More than 1,800 smart but economically disadvantaged Pakistani students have received Merit and Needs Based Scholarships under this program. Scholarships fund not only tuition, but also books, transportation and other expenses associated with full-time study. More than 850 scholarship recipients have earned undergraduate and graduate degrees thus far. Most USAID Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship recipients have found a job within six months of completing their degrees.

The Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Program is just one part of the comprehensive U.S. education assistance program for Pakistan, which includes building or rehabilitating more than 850 schools; launching new degree programs in education at 90 teacher colleges and universities; and operating the largest Fulbright academic exchange program in the world.

Last updated: August 22, 2013

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