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FAQ

A) Eligibility

1 I am a permanent resident of Hong Kong and am currently pursuing secondary education outside Hong Kong. Can I apply for scholarship under the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme (HKSES) to further my post-secondary studies outside Hong Kong in the 2022/23 academic year?

To be eligible for the HKSES, applicants are required to meet the following two criteria:

(a) have right of abode or right to land, or have entered Hong Kong on One-way Permits; and

(b) 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, a student who is currently pursuing studies outside Hong Kong and hence not having resided in Hong Kong continuously for three complete years immediately prior to the commencement of the undergraduate/postgraduate programmes outside Hong Kong will not be eligible for the HKSES.

2 What is meant by “have resided in Hong Kong continuously for three complete years immediately prior to the commencement of the academic programme outside Hong Kong”? If I have left Hong Kong for vacation or short-term exchange programmes during that three-year period, am I still eligible for applying for scholarship under the HKSES?

Generally speaking, if an applicant is engaged in full-time education or employment in Hong Kong for three complete years immediately prior to the commencement of the academic programme outside Hong Kong, he/she will be considered as having met the concerned three-year residency requirement. On the contrary, if an applicant is engaged in full-time education or employment outside Hong Kong anytime during that three-year period, he/she will not be considered as having met the concerned residency requirement and hence will not be eligible for applying for scholarship under the HKSES. Normally, an applicant who has left Hong Kong for vacation or short-term exchange programmes during that three-year period will not be considered as failing to meet the concerned residency requirement.

In assessing whether an applicant meets the concerned residency requirement, the HKSES Secretariat will take into account individual situation of the applicant including the reasons for his/her stay outside Hong Kong, the duration and frequency of such stay, etc.

3 Can I apply if my academic qualification is not obtained in Hong Kong?

It depends on the type of programme you intend to pursue with the scholarship. For undergraduate programmes, only students receiving/received their formal school education in Hong Kong are eligible. For postgraduate programmes which may cover those of master’s 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 Q1(a) & (b) in part A above.

4 If I am a private candidate sitting for public examination in Hong Kong in mid 2022, can I apply for scholarship under the HKSES to cover the undergraduate programme that I am going to pursue in the 2022/23 academic year?

Yes, as long as you meet the criteria set out in Q1(a) & (b) in part A above.

5 Is there any age limitation for applicants under the HKSES?

No. Applicants who meet the criteria set out in Q1(a) & (b) in part A above are eligible to apply for scholarship under the HKSES.

B) Programmes covered by the HKSES

1 Can I apply for the 2022/23 HKSES to fund the undergraduate/postgraduate study that I am currently pursuing?

No. Only those entering the first year of undergraduate or postgraduate studies at world renowned universities outside Hong Kong in the 2022/23 academic year (i.e. during the period of August 2022 to July 2023) will be eligible to apply for scholarship under the 2022/23 HKSES.

2 Can I apply for the 2022/23 HKSES to fund my undergraduate/ postgraduate studies at a university in Australia or New Zealand commencing in early 2022?

No. Only students who intend to pursue the first year of undergraduate or postgraduate studies at world renowned universities outside Hong Kong starting from the 2022/23 academic year (i.e. during the period of August 2022 to July 2023) are eligible to apply for scholarship under the 2022/23 HKSES. Hence, students who intend to pursue undergraduate/postgraduate programmes commencing before August 2022 will not be eligible to apply for scholarship under the HKSES for the 2022/23 academic year.

3 Can I apply for the 2022/23 HKSES to fund my undergraduate/ postgraduate studies at a university in Australia or New Zealand commencing in early 2023?

Yes. Eligible students who intend to pursue the first year of undergraduate or postgraduate studies at world renowned universities outside Hong Kong starting from the 2022/23 academic year (i.e. during the period of August 2022 to July 2023) can apply for scholarship under the 2022/23 HKSES.

4 If my chosen undergraduate/postgraduate programme is jointly organised by a local university and a world renowned university outside Hong Kong, can I apply for scholarship under the HKSES to cover that part of my study at the world renowned university outside Hong Kong?

Applications for studying in undergraduate/postgraduate programmes jointly organised by a local university and a world renowned university outside Hong Kong will be considered by the HKSES Secretariat on a case-by-case basis. In assessing whether such a joint programme will be supported under the HKSES, the HKSES Secretariat will take into account factors such as the length and content of the programme to be offered by the university outside Hong Kong, whether the degree is to be awarded by the university outside Hong Kong, etc. To facilitate the consideration of the HKSES Secretariat, applicants for such joint programmes should provide the relevant details about the joint programmes in Part X of their applications to be submitted to the HKSES Secretariat online via the scholarship application system on or before 31 December 2021 (by 6pm).

5 If I have already been admitted to a world renowned university outside Hong Kong and have been approved to take a gap year in the 2022/23 academic year, should I apply for scholarship under the HKSES for the 2022/23 academic year?

If you will pursue the first year of undergraduate/postgraduate study at a world renowned university outside Hong Kong in the 2023/24 academic year, you are not eligible to apply for scholarship under the HKSES for the 2022/23 academic year.

6 If I have already obtained a bachelor’s degree, can I apply for scholarship under the HKSES to pursue a second bachelor’s degree at a world renowned university outside Hong Kong?

Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria as set out in Q1(a) & (b) in Part A. The same set of assessment criteria will be adopted for all applicants for undergraduate studies. Specifically, in assessing the academic achievements of the applicants, consideration will only be given to the applicants’ public examination results after their completion of senior secondary education, irrespective of whether or not the applicants have obtained a bachelor’s degree.

7 Can I apply for scholarship under the HKSES to cover my study at a foundation programme offered by a world renowned university outside Hong Kong?

According to our understanding, the main objective of foundation programmes offered by a university is to provide the students with an entry route to undergraduate programmes and do not form part of the undergraduate programmes. As the HKSES covers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at world renowned universities outside Hong Kong only, foundation programmes not forming part of undergraduate/postgraduate programmes are not covered under the HKSES.

8 Can I apply for scholarship under the HKSES to cover my exchange programme offered by a world renowned university outside Hong Kong?

No. The HKSES covers all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including those of master’s and doctoral degrees or equivalent levels. Exchange programmes are not covered under the HKSES.

9 How long will the awardees receive scholarship under the HKSES?

Once awarded, the scholarship will last for the normal duration of the concerned programme in respect of undergraduate studies. For postgraduate studies, the scholarship will last for the minimum years required to complete the programme in respect of doctoral degree programmes and up to two years in respect of other postgraduate programmes (e.g. master’s degree programmes). It will be renewable annually subject to the provision of an annual report with satisfactory documentary proof of the awardees’ good academic performance and compliance of terms and conditions set out in the scholarship offer letter during the scholarship period.

10 Can an awardee change to study in another programme at the same university or at another university during their study period?

If an awardee wishes to change to study in another programme at the same university or at another university during their study period covered by the scholarship under the HKSES, he/she has to seek prior approval from the HKSES Secretariat. He/she should apply for the change in writing and the change can only take effect after the HKSES Secretariat has granted the approval. In considering such applications, the HKSES Secretariat will take into account the situation and merits of individual cases and the reasons/justifications provided by the awardees.

C) Choices of Universities / Institutions and Programmes

1 The online application system only allows applicants to fill out up to ten choices of universities/institutions and programmes but I have actually applied for more than ten universities /institutions and programmes. Can I fill in additional choices in Part X of my application?

No. Applicants are only allowed to fill out up to ten combinations of universities/institutions and programmes as choices in their applications.

2 Can I make any change to the choices of universities/institutions and programmes filled out in my application after the application deadline?

Applicants are allowed to make change(s) to the choice(s) filled out in Part II of the application form once before the interview. Such change(s) should be made by completing the “Change of Choice of University/Institution and Programme Request Form” once they receive the shortlisting notification from the HKSES Secretariat, with documentary proof(s) showing that they have already applied for the chosen university(ies)/institution(s) and programme(s) intended to submit for change. However, applicants should take note that such change(s) will be subject to reassessment of the application based on the latest choice(s) of university(ies)/institution(s) and programme(s), therefore it may affect the applicant’s eligibility, shortlisting result and possibly delay the process of the application. Further change to the choice(s) of the university(ies)/institution(s) and programme(s) after the interview is not permitted.

3 If I subsequently decide to enroll in a university/institution and programme which has not been listed in Part II of my application, will my application still be considered under the HKSES?

No. Only choice(s) of university(ies) /institution(s) and programme(s) listed in Part II of your application form or changed choice(s) thereafter approved will be considered in respect of your application under the HKSES. If you decide to enroll in a university/institution and programme which is neither listed in Part II of your application nor thereafter approved, your application will not be further considered under the HKSES.

D) Application Procedures

1 I intend to pursue my undergraduate/postgraduate study at a university in Australia/New Zealand. However, the application period of most universities in Australia/New Zealand for the 2022/23 academic year will not commence until the fourth quarter of 2022. In other words, I cannot provide the documentary proof(s) showing that I have already applied for the chosen university(ies)/institution(s) and programme(s) by the application deadline of the HKSES. Can I still apply for scholarship under the HKSES?

Students who intend to apply for scholarship under the HKSES for studies commencing in the 2022/23 academic year (i.e. during the period of August 2022 to July 2023) should submit their applications and supporting documents online via the scholarship application system at the HKSES website (https://hkses.edb.gov.hk) on or before 31 December 2021 (by 6pm).

If applicants cannot submit the required supporting documents by the application deadline due to certain exceptional circumstances, he/she should state clearly the type of documents that cannot be provided by the time of application and the reasons in Part X of his/her application. The HKSES Secretariat will consider and handle each application on a case-by-case basis with reference to the reasons given by the applicant. Applicants should provide the HKSES Secretariat with the outstanding documents once available.

If an applicant fails to give a valid reason for not providing the required information in the application form and/or required documents in support of his/her application, his/her application will not be considered.

2 My referee cannot provide me with the reference letter by the time of the application deadline. He/she can only provide the documents after the deadline. Can I still apply for scholarship under the HKSES?

Please refer to the answer for Q1 in part D above.

3 Do I need to be accepted by my chosen programme(s) at world renowned university(ies) outside Hong Kong before applying for scholarship under the HKSES?

No. Applicants may indicate up to ten combinations of universities/institutions and programmes as choices in their applications and are only required to provide documentary proof(s) showing that they have already applied for the chosen university(ies)/institution(s) and programme(s). In other words, it is not necessary for applicants to have obtained conditional or unconditional offers from the chosen university(ies)/institution(s) and programme(s) by the time they submit the applications.

4 My public examination results will not be available by the application deadline. Can I still apply for scholarship under the HKSES to cover my undergraduate study outside Hong Kong?

Yes. For those applicants who are currently pursuing senior secondary education in Hong Kong and are going to sit for public examinations in 2022, they are required to provide, among others, assessment by their school principals of the predicted public examination results in support of their applications. The applicants should invite their school principals to fill out the “Assessment by School Principal”, which can be downloaded from the online application system, and submit the completed assessment, together with the completed application and other supporting documents, via the scholarship application system on or before 31 December 2021 (by 6pm).

5 Due to school policy, my school principal/referee cannot provide me with the completed “Assessment by School Principal”/reference letter for uploading to the online application system. What can I do?

If you have problem in uploading the completed “Assessment by School Principal”/reference letter to the online application system yourself, you may ask your school principal/referee to send the documents directly to the HKSES Secretariat with your application number duly quoted via email at hkses@edb.gov.hk.

Besides, you should state clearly the type of documents that cannot be provided by the time of application and the reasons in Part X of the application form to be submitted via the online application system on or before 31 December 2021 (by 6pm).

E) Undertaking to Return to Work in Hong Kong

1 Under what circumstances can the requirement to undertake to return to and work in Hong Kong be exempted?

Awardees would be required to complete the specific study programme and undertake to return to Hong Kong upon graduation to work for at least two years or a period equivalent to the duration of receiving the scholarship, whichever is longer. However, the HKSES Secretariat will have the flexibility to decide, upon application on a case-by-case basis, whether the requirement to undertake to return to and work in Hong Kong could be suitably deferred or waived under exceptional circumstances, e.g. pursuing more advanced studies immediately after graduation, or need to work in the country of their study as a mandatory requirement for acquiring professional qualifications.

2 Will awardees be required to work in fields or professions related to their studies covered by the HKSES scholarship when they return to Hong Kong upon graduation?

No, there is no restriction on the fields or professions in which the awardees have to work when they return to Hong Kong upon graduation from their studies outside Hong Kong.

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