ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood has said that since 2002, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has granted 8,358 foreign scholarships to Pakistani students.
Replying to a question, the minister told the Senate on Thursday in writing that the average cost of a five-year PhD program is about US$ 24,000 per year including an average of US$ 10,000 of the tuition fee and UD$ 14,000 of living expenses.
Shafqat Mahmood told that the date of commencement and completion varies for each scholarship but the HEC pays the scholarship to Master student for 2 years and to PhD scholars 4-5 years.
The minister told that out of 8,358 awardees, 7,950 (more than 95%) scholars have either returned or are pursuing their studies satisfactorily.
While of the remaining 408 awardees (4.88%), 87 scholars have paid back the scholarship amount plus a penalty of up to 25%.
The House was told that notices were sent to the remaining 321 awardees and after their failure to reply, Legal Cases were filed against them.
The minister told that 22 Cases have already been decided in the HEC’s favor and the recovery process has been initiated whereas the other cases are still in the Court and are likely to be decided in the HEC’s favor.
Shafqat Mahmood further told that in every scholarship program there is a small probability of failure or default. He told that the default rate of 4% over a period of 18 years compares very well with other such scholarship programs.
The federal minister also told that Rs 4.932 million have been recovered from students who did not return to Pakistan while Rs 26.906 million are yet to be recovered and the HEC is pursuing the case vigorously.