While everyone is dreaming to study abroad, financial issues are one of the biggest problems faced by the majority of us. Look at the enormous amount of tuition fees, price of course books, high living costs and conversion rate; studying abroad does not only cost a bomb, but it is going to cost a nuclear bomb! While it is true enough that plenty of financial aid is available out there, the process of applying for it can still be a daunting one. Going through series of interviews and assessments can be really stressful, and many of us might start wishing for an “interview-less” scholarship. Well, as unbelievable as it seems, there really IS an “interview-less” scholarship!
Starting from 2012 (applicable toall SPM leavers from 2011 onwards), the Malaysian Ministry of Education (Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia) has introduced a new bursary program for all Malaysian students, known as ‘Program Bursary Pelajar Cemerlang SPM’. Students who scored 9A+ and above in their SPM are automatically granted full bursaries to do their Pre-University programme locally. Various types of Pre-U programmes are available, such as The Malaysian Matriculation Programme, STPM, A Levels, International Baccalaureate etc. (In this case I shall focus on A Levels and IB, which are the more common routes to overseas universities.)
The MOE provides a list of local private colleges for students to choose where they would like to complete their Pre-U studies. The bursaries will cover the cost of the chosen Pre-U program. Monthly allowances, book fees and return flight tickets for those who are coming from East Malaysia are also covered by the MOE.
Students who have completed their Pre-U studies under this program can continue pursuing their undergraduate degrees with scholarships provided by the Public Service Department of Malaysia (commonly known as JPA), which are subjected to conditions. Though these conditions are being updated each year, they are definitely achievable! Here’s a rough idea of the conditions:
- Achieve a CGPA of 3.75 or above in your Pre-U programme.
- Secure an unconditional offer from any one of the local public universities, local private tertiary institutions or World’s Prestigious Universities (overseas) for a recognized degree. (A list of universities is also provided by the JPA on their website.)
- Attend one (or two) assessment camp(s) organized by JPA and/or the Prime Minister’s Department (Jabatan Perdana Menteri Malaysia).
The whole process does not require any interviews, which is pretty cool! All the students have to do after getting their SPM results, is to register themselves online in the system. Everything will be processed automatically. Once approved, you can start your college with nothing else but a print-out confirmation letter.
So start your preparation early. Your SPM result can be life-changing. Studying abroad is no longer an impossible dream to all Malaysian students!
Links which you may find useful:
- KPM website: http://www.moe.gov.my/
- JPA: http://esilav2.jpa.gov.my/
- List of approved universities: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5qVTUF0YlkyWUQ0ZUFYZzdxYkE/preview
Grace Chai Huey Yann is a pure science student who is heading to the University of Warwick to read law under JPA scholarship. She is recently crazy about a micro-blogging mobile apps, Dayre.