In his 2014 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced a series of initiatives in a bid to provide senior secondary graduates with broader and more diversified further study pathways both in and outside Hong Kong. These include the launching of a new scholarship scheme to support outstanding local students to pursue studies in world renowned universities outside Hong Kong. With a funding commitment of $347,965,000 approved by the Legislative Council, the scholarship scheme will benefit three cohorts of students, with up to 100 students per cohort, starting from the 2015/16 academic year and be subject to a review of the effectiveness of the scheme afterwards. To underscore its paramountcy as the scholarship of our Asia’s World City, the scheme is officially named as the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme (HKSES). The scheme was launched on 25 November 2014.
The HKSES aims to support local students to pursue studies in world renowned universities outside Hong Kong, with a view to grooming a top cadre of talents with global vision, international network and world-class education, thereby contributing to enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness as Asia’s World City in a globalised knowledge economy.
The scheme also seeks to support those students who have excellent academic achievement but lack the financial means to study in top-notch universities outside Hong Kong.
To be eligible for the HKSES, applicants are required to meet the following two criteria –
(i) have right of abode or right to land, or have entered Hong Kong on One-way Permits; and
(ii) have resided in Hong Kong continuously for three complete years immediately prior to the commencement of the academic programme outside Hong Kong.
In other words, students entering Hong Kong on student or dependant visas will not be eligible for the HKSES. Besides, if an applicant is engaged in full-time education or employment outside Hong Kong anytime during the three-year period immediately prior to the commencement of the academic programme outside Hong Kong, he/she will not be considered as having met the residency requirement set out in (ii) above.
For undergraduate programmes, only students receiving their formal school education in Hong Kong are eligible. This would cover all Hong Kong students who receive senior secondary education in Hong Kong, including those studying local (e.g. Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education) and non-local (e.g. International Baccalaureate) curricula in Hong Kong.
For postgraduate programmes, which may cover those of master and doctoral degrees or equivalent levels, students who have obtained their undergraduate qualifications either in or outside Hong Kong are eligible, provided that they meet the criteria set out in (i) & (ii) above.
(d) Scholarship and Bursary
All awardees will receive a non-means-tested scholarship to cover their tuition fees, subject to a ceiling of HK$250,000 per annum, whichever is lower.
In addition, a means-tested bursary will be granted to students who may need additional support to pursue their study, subject to a ceiling of HK$200,000 per student per annum. The means-tested bursary will consist of two components, up to HK$50,000 per annum for covering tuition fee in excess of HK$250,000; and up to HK$150,000 per annum for covering living and other study-related expenses.
The value of the award will be correspondingly reduced if an awardee also receives other awards to finance his/her same study overseas.
For those applicants who eventually receive scholarship from other sources covering the tuition fee and living cost in full, they may still be considered for awarding a Scholarship Title under the HKSES (without any monetary benefit) as a token of Government’s recognition of their outstanding achievements. The same set of assessment criteria for other HKSES awardees will be applied to this kind of awardees.
Once awarded, the scholarship will last for the normal duration of the concerned programme in respect of undergraduate studies and up to two years in respect of all postgraduate studies. It will be renewable annually subject to the provision of satisfactory documentary proof of the awardees’ good academic performance.
2. Applications for the 2017/18 Academic Year
(a) Applications for Scholarship
The HKSES is now open for applications from eligible Hong Kong students who intend to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies at world renowned universities outside Hong Kong starting from the 2017/18 academic year (i.e. during the period of August 2017 to July 2018). Applications should be submitted online via the scholarship application system on or before December 31, 2016 (by 6pm). Supporting documents including the written confirmation of receipt of applications by the relevant universities/institutions, reference letter by school principal or referee, the completed assessment by school principal (for applications of undergraduate programmes only), research proposal (for applications of research postgraduate programmes only), etc, have to be uploaded to the scholarship application system by the same deadline.