The Aga Khan Foundation’s International Scholarship Programme (AKF ISP) is an opportunity for outstanding scholars from selected countries*, who have no other means of financing their studies, to pursue postgraduate education. Established in 1969 by His Highness the Aga Khan, the AKF ISP has supported more than 1,000 students to date.
Award recipients are selected through a global, annual, and competitive application process. The AKF ISP offers a limited number of new awards in each cycle. Applications for the 2024-2025 award cycle will open in early January 2024 and close on 31 March 2024.
* (i) At present, the AKF ISP is available in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Uganda. (ii) In Canada, France, Portugal and the USA, applications are accepted from those who are originally from one of the countries listed in point (i).
To be eligible for an AKF ISP award, you must:
- have excellent academic records;
- hold a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent training/professional experience;
- demonstrate genuine financial need**;
- construct a thoughtful, reliable, multi-source funding plan**;
- be admitted to a reputable postgraduate institution***; and
- have strong leadership potential, professional experience, extracurricular and/or entrepreneurial achievements, and volunteer contributions.
Note: preference is given to young professionals under 30 years of age.
**Awards are provided according to need, but please consider the AKF ISP a resource of last resort and secure multiple sources of funding to reduce the amount you request. See the section Examples of Other Scholarships and Financial Assistance Programmes below for a ‘starter’ list of other sources of funding that may be of interest.
*** AKF ISP gives priority to Master’s programmes but will also consider applications for PhD studies. Local/regional universities and distance learning programmes are acceptable for ISP funding, only if the quality of the course is maintained. Applications for part-time programmes and short-term courses are not considered; neither are applications from students who have already enrolled in or commenced their postgraduate studies.
Applications are handled by local units of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Aga Khan Education Services (AKES), or Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB). Liaise with the appropriate country-level entity (see contact details below) to request an application form. For example, if you reside in India you must apply via the local office in India, or if you reside in Kenya you must apply via the local office in Kenya. Please submit your completed application to the agency from which the ISP application form was obtained. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
AKF ISP awards are structured as half grant and half loan – where you need to repay 50 percent of the award amount.* Scholarships for Master’s studies are granted for the entire duration of the degree course. For PhD students, scholarships are awarded for the first two years, after which you are expected to find funding from alternative sources.
The award covers your tuition fees and living expenses. It does not cover the cost of international travel, clothing, furniture, or living expenses for family members.
In order to maintain an AKF ISP award, you need to demonstrate good academic standing, as well as ongoing financial need, during the course of your postgraduate programme.
*The repayment period is five years, starting six months after the first of the following events: a) graduation, b) termination of studies or c) the withdrawal of support following failure to meet the academic standards expected of ISP students. A cumulative service charge of five percent per annum is levied on the amount of the loan. Your head of family or another guarantor is required to co-sign the loan agreement.
Contacts by Country
Please use contact details provided by the eligibility tool for the country where you currently live. If a country is not listed below, then the AKF ISP is not available there.