USEFP understands the correlation between poverty and the availability of quality educational opportunities in Pakistan. As such it is constantly endeavoring to expand its outreach, diversify its student-body profile, and initiate programs that promote inclusivity.
One such effort undertaken by EducationUSA this quarter, has been the inclusion of students from the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) in Islamabad, to its EducationUSA Opportunity Fund (OF). The EducationUSA Opportunity Fund (OF) is a program that assists highly qualified students who are eligible for full financial aid from U.S. colleges and universities but lack the financial resources to cover the up-front costs to apply, such as standardized test and application fees, or airfare. Students from the FDE come from low-income and often underprivileged backgrounds; the OF represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these students who would otherwise not be able to finance higher education either at home or abroad.
Each candidate from the OF undergoes a rigorous process of evaluation carried out by EducationUSA Advisers, followed by an interview by the EducationUSA Manager, and further approvals by the Regional Educational Advising Coordinator (REAC) and a Public Affairs Official from the U.S. Embassy or the Consulate. Working in conjunction with teachers and administrators from the Federal Board, this year EducationUSA shortlisted 130 students and interviewed approximately 40, finally selecting five students who were inducted to the OF.
Under the scope of the OF, EducationUSA advisers will work with FDE students to bring their academic literacy and college preparedness on par with students from private schools. This effort will include a series of events including workshops, boot camps and standardized test preparation. The crop of students inducted into the OF from the FDE displayed interests in a wide rage of disciplines including pharmacy, paleontology, chemistry, psychology, philosophy, and petroleum engineering. In addition, they were all passionate about contributing to the social and economic uplift of their communities and the country at large.
EducationUSA’s OF supports a total of 28 students across Pakistan of which five are from the FDE that will feature as a part of the OF for the first time this year.