USAID-funded Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has demonstrated its commitment to supporting Pakistani students who are intellectually capable but lack the financial resources to continue their education. Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program (MNBSP) Phase-I has supported scholarships for meritorious but financially disadvantaged students since 2004 to help Pakistan's government improve enrolment in Pakistani universities and achieve international standards. Pakistan's top public and private colleges implemented the first phase at a cost of $10.63 million, awarding 1,807 scholarships in the subjects of Agriculture and Business. Phase-I MNBSP alumni are a diverse group, with many of them being the first in their families to earn a college degree and nearly half of them now providing for their families through well-paying professions.

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Scholarship Details

The second phase of the initiative was initiated by USAID in 2013 at a total estimated cost of $23.1 million. Phase-II includes an additional 3,000 scholarships, with half of those going to female students. A total of 30 universities in Pakistan are now affiliated with the programme, including 19 new public sector institutions to go along with the 11 already in place. As part of the scheme, four female universities, including Lahore College for Women, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Sardar Bahadur Khan Women University Quetta, and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University Peshawar, have been included. To put it another way, MNBSP Phase-II is being implemented by ten universities in Punjab, five in Khyber Pakthukwa, three in Balochistan, four in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), six in Sindh, and one in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

Additional fields, including engineering and technology, medical nursing and social sciences have also been added to the programme. Ability Building Training and Workshops have been added to Phase-II in order to enhance and build the operational and financial management capacity of the participating institutions and the HEC. These students are also given career path training to prepare them for future problems and keep them up-to-date on market developments. In addition, the programme aims to strengthen its alumni network. ​

Eligibility Criteria

Scholarships are offered for:

  • Females only,  for the Academic Session 2021 in  30 public and private participating institutions
  • Master’s/MBA/MS/MPhil/ Education Teaching degree programs in selected disciplines allowed under the scholarship program
  • Female students who fulfilled criteria of need and provided all the information sought for under the rules

Financial Support

The Needs-Based Scholarship program covers funds for the following expenses:

  • Tuition Fee
  • Books
  • Boarding & Lodging
  • Transportation
  • Other Academic Costs​

Scholarship Award Process

  • ​​​​The applications of all potential candidates are reviewed by the Institutional Scholarship Award Committee (ISAC). The committee is headed by the Vice Chancellor of the participating institution, along with members from the institution as well as external members. This is done to ensure impartiality and transparency.
  • The ISAC recommends potential candidates to the HEC Scholarship Management Committee (SMC). The committee includes top Executives of HEC, representatives from the participating institutions, and eminent scholars. The SMC undertakes a thorough review before approving eligible cases.
  • After finalization of awardees’ list, the participating institutions will forward the funds to the selected students.

How to Apply

  • Students are required to apply through following HEC Online Application System: Link given below.
  • Submit a printout of application form along with supporting documents to the student financial aid offices of the  university;
  • Please DO NOT send hard copy of the  application form to  HEC;
  • For more details please contact Financial Aid Offices of University


  • Two years associate degree programs and the nomenclature of BA/BSc programs are excluded;
  • Scholarship award will be made strictly on merit whereas HEC reserves the right to cancel the scholarship award if the information provided by the applicant is found dubious and incorrect at time of physical verification;
  • In public sector universities, admissions secured on self-sustain/ self-support/ self-finance basis, or in evening programs with higher few structures are ineligible
  • Student availing any other scholarship or continuous grant  are ineligible

List of Participating Universities

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