Applying for Scholarships in Malaysia? Here’s a Quick Guide

July 27, 2023
Vimalesvaren Palasekaran

*Information in this article accurate at the time of writing

If you are a student with aspirations to pursue higher education in Malaysia but you’re concerned about the financial burden, you are not alone. The good news is that Malaysia offers a plethora of scholarship opportunities, designed to support and nurture academic excellence, talent, and potential.

Securing a scholarship can be a game-changer, providing not only financial assistance but also recognition for your achievements and dedication. From government-sponsored scholarships and private institution grants to corporate offerings, here are some available types of scholarships in Malaysia, helping you find the best-fit opportunity that aligns with your academic pursuits and career goals.

Types of scholarships in Malaysia

1.    Government scholarships

The most common way to apply for a scholarship is through governmental bodies. The Malaysian government offers scholarships through different ministries and agencies, each with its own set of eligibility criteria and requirements. Some well-known government and government-linked programs include:

  • Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam(JPA) scholarships
  • Yayasan Khazanah
  • MARA scholarships
  • Ministry of Higher Education.

Pay attention to when the call for application happens and be timely with your submissions. Most of these scholarships also come with job assurances for a certain period upon graduation that will be notified to you before you accept the scholarship offer.

2. Corporate scholarships

Getting scholarships through private corporations in Malaysia can be a great way to support your education and career aspirations, especially from companies in fields that you wish to work for. Start by researching private corporations in Malaysia that offer scholarships as part of their talent acquisition or corporate social responsibility programmes.

Some major companies, especially those in industries like banking, telecommunications, and energy, have scholarship programs to support students in various fields of study.

Some of the leading corporations renowned for their scholarship programmes include

You could also find the full list of private entities and other organisations offering scholarships on scholarship aggregation sites or newspapers especially after the announcement of public exam results.

These types of scholarships are an effective way for companies to attract, acquire, and retain high-quality talents as well through the bond that usually accompanies them.

3. Philanthropic efforts

If you are eligible, you could also find some scholarships that are given out as part of philanthropic efforts by non-profitable charitable institutions and non-governmental organisations. There may be strict qualifying criteria in addition to satisfactory academic results to be eligible for this type of scholarship but on the plus side most probably you may not be bonded to work anywhere specific after graduation.

4. University assistance

Some institutions of higher education also provide scholarships and other financial aid to attract more students to enrol in them. Remember to always adhere to the scholarship stipulations as well as the institution's rules and regulations to lock-in the scholarship during your study.

5. Embassies & high commissions

Other countries with close ties to Malaysia may also have scholarship programmes and study grants that Malaysians could take advantage of. Just as competitive as the other forms of financial assistance, you could take advantage of this experience to broaden your horizons while serving as ambassadors of the country.

6. Turning loans into scholarships

Many types of study loans, including MARA and PTPTN have avenues to change your initial study loans into scholarships upon graduating with the required qualifications. Most of the time you would need to ensure consistent good grades or participation in other curricular activities throughout the study period to be able to switch your loan into a scholarship as well.

How to apply for scholarships in Malaysia?

Now that you know where to find scholarships that you could potentially apply for, you should begin the process to get that funding. Each scholarship program may have its own unique process, so it's essential to follow the specific instructions provided for each scholarship you apply to. However, here are some general steps you should take when applying for scholarships in Malaysia.

1. Research available scholarships

Start by researching the scholarships available and the application window for each of them. The fact that you found this article means you’re going in the right direction!

2. Check eligibility criteria

Once you've identified a scholarship programme that interests you, carefully review the eligibility criteria. Ensure that you meet the specific requirements, which may include academic performance, field of study, nationality, age limits, and more.

3. Gather required documents

Prepare all the necessary documents as per the scholarship application guidelines. Commonly required documents include academic transcripts, certificates, identification documents (passport or IC),recommendation letters, and a personal statement.

4. Apply online or offline

Some scholarship applications can be submitted online through the official scholarship websites or application portals. Others may require physical application forms that you need to download and fill out. Follow the instructions provided by the scholarship provider for each application method.

5. Submit the application

Ensure that you submit your application before the deadline. Late submissions are generally not accepted.

6. Prepare for interviews

Depending on the scholarship program, you maybe called for an interview as part of the selection process. Prepare for thei nterview by researching the scholarship organisation, understanding their values, and practicing common interview questions.

Read our guide to interviews for fresh graduates here for some handy tips!

7. Wait for results

After the application submission and any subsequent interviews, wait for the scholarship results to be announced. This can take some time, so be patient.

8. Fulfil scholarship requirements

Once you become a scholarship recipient, you must fulfil the scholarship requirements, such as maintaining a certain academic performance, participating in activities as required, and complying with the scholarship's rules and regulations.

Where to apply for scholarships in Malaysia?

TL;DR? Here’s a short list of scholarships that are available for interested applicants!

1. Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam

2. Ministry of Higher Education

3. Bank Negara

4. Maybank Foundation

5. Yayasan Khazanah

6. OSK Foundation

7. Lion-Parkson Foundation

8. Kuok Foundation

9. Tenaga Nasional

10. Petronas

Some extra tips

Competition for corporate scholarships can be tough, so it is important to stay positive and persistent in your pursuit of funding opportunities. If possible, attend career fairs, networking events, or seminars hosted focusing on scholarships.

Building connections and engaging with stakeholders, especially company representatives can positively influence your scholarship application. Also keep an eye on websites and other relevant platforms to stay informed about new scholarship opportunities that may become available in the future. Good luck!

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