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K’taka govt removes cap on scholarships for SC/ST students applying to foreign varsities

In a boost to the prospects of SC/ST students in Karnataka seeking degrees from foreign universities, the state government has done away with the cap on tuition fee for students who apply under the Prabuddha scheme. Previously the cap for each student was Rs 40 lakh.

The Prabuddha Overseas Scholarships Scheme, re-launched under the Social Welfare Department in December 2018, allowed students from these socially disadvantaged communities to pursue postgraduate and PhD programmes. The students could study for free or partially subsidised costs, including the student’s course fees, living costs and air tickets. The government has now extended the scheme for graduate courses as well.

Till date, under the scheme, 30 students have been selected and sent to foreign countries and Rs 13.11 crore has been spent under phase-I since then.

The students applying for this scholarship can apply for a list of select courses of universities in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the US listed in the department’s website, based on their choice of streams.

From this phase, all students of SC/ ST category who have cleared their Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Scholastic Aptitude/Assessment Test (SAT) are eligible to apply.

“For the second phase, there are several changes including the removal of the cap of scholarship on what each student can get. Another big change is that students can also go abroad for undergraduate studies too. Now the scheme will cover 100% of the travel, college fee, living expenses,” Kunal Shah, a private consultant working with the department told.

“Also this time we have streamlined the courses which we identified based on their reputation and record. This way we are encouraging people to go to any and every college. The entire process is online and one will be called for verification once they meet the criteria and the scholarship will be issued immediately,” he added.

The changes in the scheme come after Priyank Kharge, the Minister for Social Welfare, met beneficiaries of the first phase on June 17 along with their parents.

While students from families having an annual income of Rs 8 lakh and less were eligible for 100% financial aid, students from families having an annual income of Rs 8-15 lakh were allowed a 50% subsidy. Students having a family income of Rs 15-25 lakh could get 33% of their costs provided by the government.

The government had allocated Rs 120 crore in total for roughly 400 students for this financial year.

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