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Scholarships in Kenya: What You Need to Know
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Scholarships in Kenya: What You Need to Know

It is the dream of the vast majority of Kenyan students to attend college or further their education past secondary school.

It might be disheartening to realise this dream could be thwarted due to a lack of funds and an inability to afford educational expenses.

That doesn't have to be your fate though, because there are several opportunities for students who want to continue their education but lack the funds to do so.

Understanding how to find a good scholarship could make all the difference between you and achieving your academic goals.

Let's dive in.

6 Things You need for any Scholarship Application

Scholarship applications take time, but the effort is definitely worth it! Before you start applying for scholarships or, before you even start looking for scholarships - you'll want to get a few things in order. 

Here are some of the most important things you need to get started on the right foot.

Academic Transcripts - Original and/or certified copies of academic transcripts are required for most scholarships in Kenya and beyond. 

Test results - In some situations, even if it is an optional field on the application, you will be obliged to input your test scores. 

A list of prospective referees - You may or may not need to ask someone for a letter of recommendation. There are three main categories of endorsements you could be requested for: academic, non-academic, and personal. 

  • Academic endorsement is the most common sort of endorsement. This might be one of your teachers or another teacher with whom you've worked on an academic project. 
  • Non-academic endorsements include your supervisor, sports coach, principal, pastor, etc. This is basically  Anyone who has seen your work outside of the school.
  • Personal endorsements are less common, but they can be a beneficial backup if necessary. These are Mentors, family members, or even friends

Curriculum Vitae - Some sponsors often ask for CVs as well. Make sure it's up to date and represents you well. Include all full-time, part-time, and internship roles you've held. If you don't have one better get started on it today!

Photos (often optional) - Many scholarships no longer demand your photos but be prepared with a couple of passport photos just in case.

Essay - It is possible that you will be asked to submit an essay on a certain topic or in response to specific scholarship questions (or yourself). Take care to tailor your resources to the prompt for each scholarship application (and adhere to all word count limits).

Interview - Many scholarship programmes will require you to attend either a physical or virtual interview as part of the evaluation process. You need to be well prepared for this eventuality as it may come in the final stages of the process and could make or break your application. 

Types of Scholarships in Kenya

Ministry of Education Kenya Scholarships (Government Scholarships)

The Ministry of Education offers full scholarships to Kenyan students periodically. These scholarships are granted by governments of friendly countries to Kenya, such as Poland, Egypt, Algeria, and New Zealand.

You will need to submit an application and attend several interviews in order to receive government funding.

Due to their volume, for eligibility and application here’s the link to get you started.

Commonwealth Postgraduate Scholarships

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is an international initiative in which Commonwealth states grant scholarships and fellowships to students from other Commonwealth countries.

Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships are given to remarkable individuals who have the potential to change the world. Every year, the CSC awards around 800 scholarships for postgraduate study and professional development.

Thousands of Kenyans have benefited throughout the years, and who knows? You may be next.

These are fully-funded scholarships for Kenyan students both male and female. The eligibility requirements are unique for each programme.

HELB Postgraduate Scholarships

Kenyans pursuing postgraduate degrees (Masters or PhD) at local public or private universities accredited by the Commission for University Education (CUE) are eligible for HELB partial scholarships.

The scholarship grant is worth between Ksh200,000 and Ksh450,000 for Masters and PhD programmes, respectively, and is valid for two years for Masters and three years for PhD programmes.

HELB Postgraduate Scholarship Application Process

  • The applicant should register for the Postgraduate Scholarship Application, access it, and fill it out completely (PGSA). The Student Portal provides access to the application.
  • After you've filled in all of the essential application details, click and submit the application, then download and print the PGSA.
  • Proceed to get the PGSA signed and stamped by the appropriate authorities, as well as attach all of the required documents as outlined in the checklist.
  • Scan the completed PGSA and its attachments as a single PDF document.
  • Send a scanned PDF copy of your application to

For more on Eligibility requirements, Read Here

University of Nairobi Scholarships

There are a few exciting opportunities at the University of Nairobi. These are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and you should check with the University of Nairobi's financial aid office to determine whether you are eligible or not.

  1. Gandhi Smarak Nidhi Fund Scholarships

The board of Trustees of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi Fund sponsors this scholarship for postgraduate students in a variety of fields.

Keep in mind that the scholarship may only be available for one academic year or may be renewed each and every year.

  1. The Rockefeller Foundation Scholarships

The Rockefeller Foundation has offered educational assistance to Kenyan students since the beginning of the century, and each year it grants merit-based undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships to outstanding students at the University of Nairobi.

  1. The Aga Khan Foundation Scholarships

These scholarships are funded by the Aga Khan Foundation and are open to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

  1. Prof. Muriuki Scholarships

Professor Muriuki Scholarships are provided by the University of Nairobi to regular undergraduate students enrolled at the university.

  1. Mitsubishi Scholarships

This is yet another grant for bright undergraduate students from low-income families.

Unlike previous programmes, however, this reward is only offered to UoN students who excel in the following schools/departments:

  • Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Bachelor's degree programme in environmental conservation/natural resource management offered by the School of Biological Sciences.
  1. Chinese Ambassador Scholarships

The Chinese Embassy in Kenya has a few scholarships available for qualifying University of Nairobi students (undergraduate).

If you're interested in any of the above scholarships, contact the University for more information on how to apply.

Wangari Maathai Scholarships

This scholarship, named after Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, recognises students studying environmental and natural resource conservation programmes at Kenyan universities.

The yearly award is supported by the Green Belt Movement, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the KCDF (Kenya Community Development Foundation).

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered, you must be:

  • A young woman between the ages of 18 and 25.
  • Currently enrolled in a Kenyan tertiary institution and able to demonstrate the impact of an environmental conservation programme (or projects) you founded or participated in on the community (positively).

How to Apply 

Send an email to  to receive the complete scholarship information.

DADD Postgraduate Scholarships

The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship programme provides appropriate postgraduate training to Kenyans working in the public sector at universities such as the University of Nairobi and Strathmore University.

DAAD-funded projects

This scholarship allows you to apply for funding for any of the courses listed below;

  • Communication studies, computer science, and information technology are all options (JKUAT & Strathmore University)
  • Engineering, Technology, Urban Planning, Environmental & Resource Management (KU, JKUAT & Makerere University)
  • Veterinary medicine, health sciences, psychology, and medicine are all fields of study (Mt Kenya University, Busitema University Uganda, and Alzalem Alazhari University, Sudan)
  • Law (Tanzanian German Centre for Postgraduate Studies & EAC Law Tanzania)
  • Management, Business, Economics, and Mathematics are all disciplines (Moi University & Strathmore University)
  • Nature Science (ICIPE, Makerere University, Hawassa University, Ethiopia)
  • Social Sciences, Development, Governance, Education (Addis Ababa University, Moi University, CERM-ESA, Ardhi University, Tanzania)
  • Master’s Programme in German Studies (University of Nairobi)

Kenyatta University OVS Scholarships

Kenyatta University, owing to the Orphans and Vulnerable Students (OVS) Scholarship Fund, is another university that offers full undergraduate scholarships to Kenyan students.

These scholarships are aimed at helping orphans and other vulnerable students with high potential achieve their career goals through higher education.

To learn more about the qualifying requirements and application deadlines, contact the university.


Most of the scholarships mentioned above are only available once a year, so check to see whether they are open for applications and if you missed out this time, you try them out next year.

There are several other funding opportunities offered by specialist organisations more focused on niche areas. This means if you are invested in getting funding for your post-secondary studies, or postgraduate education, you should spend more time researching the array of institutions that can offer full or partial funding. So, please note that this list is nowhere near exhaustive. 

It is also true that every institution of higher learning has a form of scholarship or financial aid scheme that the most needy students can apply for and stand a chance of benefiting from. As soon as you know which institution you have been placed in, you should make plans to know the process of applying for this aid. 

Good luck. 

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Sheila Brenda Andoi is a dedicated journalist, meticulous editor, and skilled communicator with a profound passion for maternal health. Her journey in the world of media and communication has been marked by a commitment to shedding light on crucial issues. Sheila's writing not only informs but also inspires and educates

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