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Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme

Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme


1. Introduction

(a)   Background

(b)   Objective

(c)   Eligibility

(d)   Scholarship and Bursary

(e)   Means Test for Bursary

(f)   Undertaking to Return to Work in Hong Kong

(g)   Steering Committee

(h)   Interview Panel Members


2. Applications for the 2017/18 Academic Year

(a)   Applications for Scholarship

(b)   Choices of Universities/Institutions and Programmes

(c)   Selection

(d)   Applications for Means-tested Bursary



3. Press Release 


4. Video Sharing of Awardees


5. List of Awardees


6. Enquiries


1. Introduction


(a)  Background


In his 2014 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced a series of initiatives in a bid to provide senior secondary graduates with broader and more diversified further study pathways both in and outside Hong Kong.  These include the launching of a new scholarship scheme to support outstanding local students to pursue studies in world renowned universities outside Hong Kong.  With a funding commitment of $347,965,000 approved by the Legislative Council, the scholarship scheme will benefit three cohorts of students, with up to 100 students per cohort, starting from the 2015/16 academic year and be subject to a review of the effectiveness of the scheme afterwards.  To underscore its paramountcy as the scholarship of our Asia’s World City, the scheme is officially named as the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme (HKSES).  The scheme was launched on 25 November 2014.


(b) Objective


The HKSES aims to support local students to pursue studies in world renowned universities outside Hong Kong, with a view to grooming a top cadre of talents with global vision, international network and world-class education, thereby contributing to enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness as Asia’s World City in a globalised knowledge economy.


The scheme also seeks to support those students who have excellent academic achievement but lack the financial means to study in top-notch universities outside Hong Kong.


(c) Eligibility

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


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

(ii)  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, students entering Hong Kong on student or dependant visas will not be eligible for the HKSES.  Besides, if an applicant is engaged in full-time education or employment outside Hong Kong anytime during the three-year period immediately prior to the commencement of the academic programme outside Hong Kong, he/she will not be considered as having met the residency requirement set out in (ii) above.


For undergraduate programmes, only students receiving their formal school education in Hong Kong are eligible. This would cover all Hong Kong students who receive senior secondary education in Hong Kong, including those studying local (e.g. Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education) and non-local (e.g. International Baccalaureate) curricula in Hong Kong.


For postgraduate programmes, which may cover those of master 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 (i) & (ii) above.


(d) Scholarship and Bursary


All awardees will receive a non-means-tested scholarship to cover their tuition fees, subject to a ceiling of HK$250,000 per annum, whichever is lower.


In addition, a means-tested bursary will be granted to students who may need additional support to pursue their study, subject to a ceiling of HK$200,000 per student per annum.  The means-tested bursary will consist of two components, up to HK$50,000 per annum for covering tuition fee in excess of HK$250,000; and up to HK$150,000 per annum for covering living and other study-related expenses. 


The value of the award will be correspondingly reduced if an awardee also receives other awards to finance his/her same study overseas.


For those applicants who eventually receive scholarship from other sources covering the tuition fee and living cost in full, they may still be considered for awarding a Scholarship Title under the HKSES (without any monetary benefit) as a token of Government’s recognition of their outstanding achievements.  The same set of assessment criteria for other HKSES awardees will be applied to this kind of awardees.


Once awarded, the scholarship will last for the normal duration of the concerned programme in respect of undergraduate studies and up to two years in respect of all postgraduate studies.  It will be renewable annually subject to the provision of satisfactory documentary proof of the awardees’ good academic performance.


(e) Means Test for Bursary


The Student Finance Office (SFO) of the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency will assist the Education Bureau in conducting the means test for students who apply for the means-tested bursary.  The same means test formula of the SFO as applicable to local tertiary students with five tiers of financial assistance based on the result of the means test will be adopted. There will be five levels of bursary, i.e. 100%, 75%, 50%, 25% and 15% for different Adjusted Family Income groups. The resulting amount will then be further reduced by the percentage (i.e. 100% (no assistance), 80%, 60%, 40%, 20% and 0% (no reduction of assistance)) set out against the net asset value per family member of the applicant.


In view of the fact that awardees will be away from Hong Kong during their studies, the means test will be conducted only once throughout the study rather than on an annual basis, unless the awardees encounter significant changes in their family circumstances which warrant reassessment.  Awardees of the means-tested bursary may however be subject to random checks during their study.


(f) Undertaking to Return to Work in Hong Kong


Awardees (including those awarded with Scholarship Title only covered under (d) above) 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 Steering Committee on the HKSES 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.


(g) Steering Committee


A Steering Committee was set up to advise the Government on the policy, strategy and administration of the HKSES.


Membership (from 25 September 2014 to 24 September 2017)



Dr Victor FUNG Kwok-king, GBM, GBS


Non-Official Members

Mr Ronnie CHENG Kay-yen

The Hon Mrs Regina IP LAU Suk-yee, GBS, JP

Professor Nancy IP Yuk-yu, BBS, MH, JP

Mr KONG Qingping 

Professor Paul LAM Kwan-sing, SBS, JP

Professor LEUNG Yuen-sang, MH

Mr Joseph Luc NGAI

Mr PANG Yiu-kai, GBS, SBS, JP

Professor SUEN Wing-chuen

Professor TSUI Lap-chee, GBM, GBS, JP

Dr Allan WONG Chi-yun, GBS, JP

Mr Andrew YAO Cho-fai, BBS, JP

Mr Patrick YEUNG Pui-choi


Ex-officio Member 

Permanent Secretary for Education



Principal Assistant Secretary for Education (Higher Education)


Terms of Reference

(i) To set the overall strategy and direction of the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme (HKSES);
(ii) To determine the scope, parameters and details of the implementation of the HKSES, including but not limited to the principles and criteria for the selection process;
(iii) To select the awardees under the HKSES;
(iv) To consider applications relating to the compliance with conditions of the scholarship; and
(v) To consider any other matters that may be referred to the Steering Committee by the Education Bureau concerning the policy and administration of the HKSES.


(h) Interview Panel Members



2. Applications for the 2017/18 Academic Year (Now closed)

(a) Applications for Scholarship


The HKSES was open for applications from eligible Hong Kong students who intend to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies at world renowned universities outside Hong Kong starting from the 2017/18 academic year (i.e. during the period of August 2017 to July 2018).  Applications should be submitted online via the scholarship application system on or before December 31, 2016 (by 6pm).  Supporting documents including the written confirmation of receipt of applications by the relevant universities/institutions, reference letter by school principal or referee, the completed assessment by school principal (for applications of undergraduate programmes only), research proposal (for applications of research postgraduate programmes only), etc, have to be uploaded to the scholarship application system by the same deadline.


For those supporting documents completed/written by third parties, e.g. assessment by school principal and reference letter by school principal or referee, such documents can be submitted directly by those third parties to the HKSES Secretariat via e-mail at  The relevant e-mail should be issued to the HKSES Secretariat on or before December 31, 2016 (by 6pm) with the application number of the applicant issued by the online application system duly quoted in the email.  Besides, the applicant has to state clearly the type of documents that cannot be provided by the time of his/her online application and the reasons in Part X of his/her application.


Applicants are required to read through the “Notes for Applicants” at pdf and operational details of the HKSES set out in this website before completing and submitting applications for scholarship under the HKSES.


Towards the application deadline, the online scholarship application system may be overloaded due to large volume of applications.  To ensure timely submission of applications, applicants are advised to submit their applications online as early as possible.



(b) Choices of Universities/Institutions and Programmes


Applicants may indicate up to ten choices (each choice comprising a combination of one university/institution and one programme offered by that university/institution) in Part II of their applications and provide documentary proofs showing that they have already applied for the chosen universities/institutions and programmes in support of their applications for scholarship.


If the choices of universities/institutions and programmes filled out by an applicant in Part II of the application include those in the Mainland, the applicant may provide documentary proofs showing that he/she has already applied for the chosen Mainland university(ies)/institution(s) and programme(s) on or before 28 April 2017.


If the choices of universities/institutions and programmes filled out by an applicant in Part II of the application include those situated in Australia or New Zealand, the applicant may provide documentary proofs showing that he/she has already applied for the chosen university(ies)/institution(s) and programme(s) in Australia or New Zealand within one month after his/her application for the chosen university(ies)/institution(s) and programme(s).


Applicants are allowed to make change(s) to the choices filled out in Part II of their application form once before the interview.  Such change(s) should be made by completing the “Application Form for Changing a Choice of University/Institution and Programme”, with documentary proofs showing that they have already applied for the chosen universities/institutions and programme intended to submit for change.  However, applicants should take note that such change will subject to reassessment of the application based on the latest choice of universities/institutions and programmes, therefore it may affect applicant’s eligibility, shortlisting result and possibly delay the process of the application.  Further change to choice of the universities/institutions and programmes after the interview is not permitted.  If an applicant eventually decides to enroll and study in a university/institution and programme other than those filled out in Part II of his/her application, his/her application will not be considered under the HKSES.


(c) Selection

The Steering Committee will adopt a merit-based approach to selection, targeting the best and most outstanding Hong Kong students who are admitted to world renowned universities or programmes.  Selection will be based on the academic achievements and other attributes such as leadership qualities and potential, contribution and commitment to the society, etc. 


Up to 100 scholarships will be awarded each year.  Whilst there will be no pre-determined split of or quotas for awardees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, the HKSES will primarily benefit students pursuing studies at undergraduate level.  The selection will also cover applications for study in design, arts, sports or other unconventional disciplines in reputable specialised institutions.


While there is no limitation on the disciplines of study, priority will be given to programmes that are conducive to building up Hong Kong’s long-term competitiveness, in particular those not available in Hong Kong and disciplines related to innovation and technology..


Other things being equal, priority will be given to students from needy families who will otherwise not have the opportunity to support their studies in prestigious overseas universities.


To facilitate an objective and rigorous selection, the Steering Committee will adopt a three-stage selection process – preliminary screening, shortlisting and interview.


(i)    Preliminary screening (January to February 2017): Upon receipt of the applications, the Secretariat will conduct preliminary screening based on the academic results and choices of university/programme.  Each applicant is allowed to list ten combinations of universities/programmes as choices in order of priority in their applications.  When assessing the choices of universities/programmes, reference will be made to the top 100 universities/institutions in each of the four world university ranking tables published by QSShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityTimes Higher Education and US News and World Report respectively; and the top 30 colleges in the National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings published by the US News and World Report. Choices not listed in these lists will still be considered subject to justification provided by the applicants.  Consolidated details of the applications will be ranked in priority order for consideration and shortlisting by the Steering Committee at the second stage.


(ii)    Shortlisting (February to March 2017): The shortlisting process will involve assessment of both academic achievements and non-academic attributes of the applicants with a view to coming up a pool of selected applicants for interview.  Shortlisted applicants will be notified individually. 


(iii)   Interviewing (April 2017 onwards): Shortlisted applicants who have received confirmed offers (not including conditional offers) from the chosen universities and programmes will be invited to attend interviews during which the overall credential of the applicants will be assessed by face-to-face interviews.  Selection of the final awardees will rest with the Steering Committee having regard to the assessment given by the interview panels on individual applicants.


Shortlisted applicants will receive a notification by end May 2017. Those who do not receive the notification may assume that their applications are unsuccessful. 


Shortlisted applicants who have attended interviews will be notified of the results after the interviews.  The decision of the Steering Committee on the awardees shall be final and there is no appeal mechanism for the outcomes.


List of awardees for the 2017/18 academic year will be announced in August 2017.


(d) Applications for Means-tested Bursary


Applicants who intend to apply for means-tested bursary under the HKSES are required to indicate so in Part VIII of their applications for scholarship covered under (a) above.  Eligible applicants who have indicated so and have been shortlisted for further consideration in the selection process will be invited to apply for means-tested bursary in April 2017.


For details about the application for means-tested bursary under the HKSES, please refer to the Guidance Notes at pdf.


3. Press Release



4. Video Sharing of Awardees



5. List of Awardees



6. Enquiries


Enquiries about the HKSES should be directed to the HKSES Secretariat of the Education Bureau at 3509 7395 or



Education Bureau
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

August 2017

Last revision date: 01 July 2017
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