Majority of the financial aid available to university students across the world is mostly in the form of soft-loans and partial or fully funded scholarships. The source of this funding could be government agencies, banks, financial institutions, NGOs, philanthropists, public or private sector companies or the universities themselves. The criteria for getting this financial aid vary depending upon its source, type, sponsoring organisation and the country. This paper describes a unique flagship educational programme and the largest of its kind in Pakistan that not only provides capacity building of students and teachers from non-metropolitan areas of the country but also fully-funded scholarships that cover admission fee, tuition fee, boarding and lodging, book costs, food costs, transportation costs, health insurance and stipend, etc. This programme is called National ICT Scholarship Program (NICTSP) and was executed by National ICT R&D Fund targeting talented and deserving students from rural areas across all provinces/regions of the country. This programme generated enormous interest amongst FSc students fulfilling the basic eligibility criteria and became the highest budget and most successful programme of National ICT R&D Fund for the years 2007 till 2013.
Keywords: information and communication technology, ICT, Pakistan university education, undergraduate degree, scholarship, outreach, capacity building