Designing a scholarship

Questions to keep in mind when designing your scholarship:

Selection & Participation

  • Who is the target population?
  • What is the target age range?
  • What are the minimum education requirements to participate?
  • What is the timeline for advertisement, application, selection and departure? Do you have resources in place to carry out each of these phases? If not, what additional support is needed?
  • Is the programme inclusive and non-discriminatory in all respects?
  • Does the programme support the participation of women/girls in equal proportion to men/boys?
  • Does the programme support candidates with special circumstances, such as students with interrupted education, students without proof of education certification, or students who wish to transfer academic credits from a previously attended higher education institution?

Refugee Status & Solutions

  • Will the initiative be focused on study exclusively, or linked to resettlement, temporary asylum, or family reunification options?
  • As scholarship initiatives may raise expectations among refugees about durable solutions including resettlement, how will these initiatives help manage these expectations?
  • Is there any aspect of the programme that could affect social cohesion, lead to other negative consequences or be perceived to be discriminatory?
  • What is the desired impact of the scholarship initiative on the participants, as well as on their families and communities?
  • Does the programme intend to contribute to post-conflict reconstruction, social cohesion and peace building processes in the participants’ asylum communities and countries of origin?

Student support

  • Will the initiative ensure adequate certification upon completion of studies?
  • Does the initiative take into account potential language barriers of students who otherwise qualify, for example in the form of language support courses?
  • What specific measures are implemented as part of the selection process to ensure transparency and inclusiveness in line with the considerations outlined above?
  • In cases where the scholarship does not provide full financial support, how will students be guided or facilitated in covering all direct study costs (registration and tuition fees), indirect study costs (e.g. books, supplies, research and other expenses) and cost of living without affecting their academic performance?
  • Does the scholarship initiative include options for short-term diploma studies, such as a preparatory year needed to qualify for a degree programme?
  • Who is the focal person in your organization responsible for coordination and communication at all stages of the programme?
  • What support will be in place for the students to plan beyond their studies including career counselling and guidance?
  • What learning or experiential opportunities will be available to the students during academic/ semester breaks

Additional Information

For an example of comprehensive third country scholarship design, please refer to Building Education Pathways for Refugees: Mapping A Canadian Peer-to-Peer Support Model. 

For an introduction to the essential elements that must be taken into consideration when developing third country scholarship programmes, core protection and technical aspects, and an analysis of Canadian and European initiatives with a view to advancing the potential for moving forward in the European context based on the lessons learned, please refer to ERN+’s webinar on higher education opportunities for refugee students.

For an exploration of the potential for student scholarship and study programmes in the EU, please see the ERN+ scoping paper.