National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students is the initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India. This program provides financial assistance to meritorious students from the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category, enabling them to pursue higher education in the country.
This program initially consisted of two sub-schemes. The first sub-scheme is the National Fellowship Scheme, which supports students pursuing M.Phil. or Ph.D. courses after having completed their degree in Masters.
The second sub-scheme is the National Scholarship Scheme, mainly designed for those individuals pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate courses in premier government and non-government institutes in the following professional fields:
- Information Technology
These two sub-schemes were merged into a single scheme, the National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students, in the financial year 2017-18.
This article explores the National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students, including its sub-schemes, their application process, eligibility criteria, documentation, and other essential information.
National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students – An Overview
|Name of the Scheme||National Fellowship and Scholarship For Higher Education of ST Students|
|Name of the Scholarship Provider||Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GOI|
|Mode of Application||Online|
National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students – National Fellowship Scheme
National Fellowship Scheme – Eligibility and Course Duration
|M.Phil.||Two years or until submission of a dissertation, whichever is earlier||Completion of post-graduation, admission to specified universities, and a minimum of 55% marks or equivalent in the final postgraduate examination.|
|M.Phil. + Ph.D.||Two years for M.Phil., followed by three years for Ph.D., totalling five years, or until submission of a dissertation, whichever is earlier||Completion of post-graduation, admission to specified universities, and a minimum of 55% marks or equivalent in the final postgraduate examination.|
|Ph.D.||Five years or until submission of a dissertation, whichever is earlier||Completion of post-graduation, admission to specified universities, and meeting the requirements of the Ph.D. program.|
- There are no income criteria in order to become eligible for this fellowship scheme.
- The maximum age limit is 36 years, calculated as on the first day of July in the relevant year of the scholarship award.
National Fellowship Scheme – Universities/Institutions Covered Under the Scheme
Eligible students can enrol in regular and full-time M.Phil./Ph.D. courses in the following categories of universities and academic institutions:
- Universities/institutes/colleges accredited under section 2(f)/12(B) or both 2(f) and 12(B) of the UGC Act.
- Deemed-to-be-University listed under the Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, and qualified to receive grants from the UGC.
- Universities/institutes/colleges that receive grants from the Central or State Government.
- Institutes of National Importance (INI), as officially recognised by the Ministry of Higher Education, Government of India.
National Fellowship Scheme – Awards and Benefits
|Course||Stream||Monthly Scholarship||Monthly Contingency|
|M.Phil.||Humanities & Social Sciences||₹31,000||₹10,000|
|Ph.D.||Humanities & Social Sciences||₹31,000 (first two years) and ₹31,000 (remaining three years)||₹20,500|
|Ph.D.||Science/Engineering/Technology||₹31,000 (first two years) and ₹31,000 (remaining three years)||₹25,000|
1. Monthly House Rent Allowance (HRA) for All Courses: Equivalent to UGC rates, determined based on categories of cities 8%, 16%, or 24%.
2. Monthly Escort Allowance for Persons with Disability (PwD): Fixed at ₹2,000 in alignment with UGC rates.
Note:- A designated bank or agency will disburse Fellowships via the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), utilising the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) method. These funds will be transferred to active bank accounts linked with Aadhaar and mobile numbers.
National Fellowship Scheme – Tenure of Fellowship
The duration of the fellowship is two years for M.Phil. students and five years for those pursuing M.Phil. + Ph.D. or Ph.D. programs alone.
National Fellowship Scheme – Total Number of Fellowship
1. Each year, 750 fresh fellowships will be available under this program.
2. If there are not enough Scheduled Tribe candidates available to utilise all the fellowships, the unallocated fellowships for that academic year will be rolled over to the next academic session.
3. No specific state or university-wise ceiling is imposed on the number of fellowship slots.
4. When the number of candidates exceeds the available fellowship slots, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) will select the candidates based on their marks in their most recent examination.
5. Fellowship slots will be allocated based on priority to the following sub-categories:
- Persons with Disability (PwD): 5% of the total slots
- Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG): 25 slots
- Scheduled Tribe, Others: 462 slots
- Female Candidates: 30% of the total slots
6. If an adequate number of applications are not received for the sub-categories mentioned above, the remaining slots will be allotted to eligible Scheduled Tribe candidates based on inter-se-merit which is the order of merit defined by the University on the basis of the marks obtained in the most recently conducted examination.
National Fellowship Scheme – Selection Process
1. Research scholarship application is accepted online once a year via the online portal at fellowship.tribal.gov.in developed by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- The opening and closing dates of the portal are publicised through print and electronic media, as well as through the universities and institutes.
2. Typically, the portal opens on July 1st and closes on September 30th during the academic year.
- These dates change depending on prevailing circumstances, which will be communicated through the Ministry’s portal.
3. Applicants must regularly monitor the portal for updates on the application form availability.
4. Applicants must carefully review the Instruction Manual before applying online through the portal.
5. Applicants can refer to the help desk module provided on the portal for any inquiries or assistance.
6. Before completing the online application form, research scholars must register on the fellowship portal online.
7. Additionally, they must create accounts on Digi Locker. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has made Aadhaar number a mandatory requirement for uploading documents.
8. The portal provides online verification by the universities where the applicant has been admitted.
- To facilitate this process, a Nodal Officer from the university and a verifying officer responsible for managing scholarships must register on the online portal.
- Candidates can refer to the Instruction Manual available at fellowship.tribal.gov.in for comprehensive details.
9. The Nodal Officer from the university will verify the physical documents uploaded by the research scholars on the portal.
10. It is the university’s responsibility to ensure that the information provided by the research scholar is accurate and matches the physical documents submitted during verification.
11. After receiving details of the student that the institute has duly verified, the Ministry will verify the application online.
12. If any discrepancies are discovered in the application, the Ministry will label it as defective, and the defective application will be visible to the student.
13. The student is advised to correct the defective application and submit it again through the institute’s portal.
14. The institute will then reverify the corrected application and submit it to the Ministry through the portal for final verification and submission before the specified deadline.
15. A merit list will be compiled for the remaining eligible research scholars, considering their performance in the post-graduation examination and adhering to the selection criteria determined by the selection committee.
- The allocation of slots across different research streams will be determined using the methodology adopted by the committee.
National Fellowship Scheme – Documents Required
Applicants are required to upload the following documents on the portal during the registration process:
- Latest coloured passport-size photograph
- Scheduled Caste (ST)/Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) certificate issued by the competent authority
- 10th/matriculation/equivalent certificate as proof of date of birth
- PwD certificate issued by the competent authority
- Post-graduation mark sheet (showing aggregate marks in %) or equivalent % marks if CGPA is used
- Admission/joining certificate for M.Phil./Ph.D./Integrated M.Phil. + Ph.D. from the respective university
- Offer of admission letter for students admitted to IITs/AIIMS/IIMs/IISERs
Note:- Following the submission of the completed application form, along with the accompanying documents, it will be made available online for verification by the concerned university or institute.
National Fellowship Scheme – Leave Benefits for Fellowships
- Candidates are entitled to a maximum of 30 days of leave in a year and public holidays. They are not allowed to take any other vacation.
- Candidates are eligible for maternity/paternity leaves as per the Government of India norms, and this will be granted at the full rates of the fellowship. Such leaves can be availed once during the tenure of the award.
- In addition to the above, women candidates may be granted an ‘Intermittent Break’ for one year. This leave can be availed three times during the fellowship.
- Academic leave without fellowship will be permissible for one year throughout the tenure. This leave can be availed for the purpose of academic assignments, teaching responsibilities, or foreign visits related to research work.
National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students – National Scholarship Scheme
National Scholarship Scheme – Objective
- The National Scholarship Scheme aims to encourage meritorious students from the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category to promote enrollments in graduate and postgraduate programs at the premier institutes identified by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- These institutions offer programs in various professional fields, including but not just limited to Management, Medicine/Science, Engineering and Technology, Humanities, Law, and Social Sciences.
National Scholarship Scheme – Salient Features
- This Central Sector Scheme is entirely funded by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. It covers 100% of the expenses incurred on ST students pursuing courses in institutes approved and officially recognised by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- The scholarship remains valid throughout the course, however, it is contingent upon the student’s satisfactory academic performance.
National Scholarship Scheme – Eligibility and Course Duration
Graduate and Postgraduate Level:
1. The respective institutes shall determine the duration of course.
2. ST students who have secured admission to institutions and courses officially approved by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs are eligible for this scholarship.
3. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs notifies a list of premier institutions. The current compilation of 252 such institutions can be found in Annexure I here.
- Students who have enrolled in these notified institutions are not eligible to apply for the Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme offered by this Ministry.
4. The total family income of the candidate should not exceed ₹6 lakh per annum.
5. All eligible students who have secured admission based on merit to the designated premier institutions and have undergone verification by both the institute and the Ministry in accordance to the scheme’s guidelines are entitled to receive scholarship.
6. Notably, there are no restrictions on the number of slots available for each institute, State, or the field of study.
- However, students admitted under the management quota in private institutions will not be eligible for the scholarship benefits.
National Scholarship Scheme – Awards and Benefits
|Financial Assistance Component||Amount|
|Tuition Fees||Full tuition fee and other non-refundable dues for government/government-funded institutions. For private sector institutions, up to ₹2.50 lakh per annum per student.|
|Books & Stationery||₹5,000 per annum per student without producing bills/vouchers.|
|Stipend||₹3,000 per month|
|Computer & Accessories||₹45,000 as a one-time assistance during the tenure. This can be used to purchase a desktop or laptop computer and related accessories.|
National Scholarship Scheme – Selection Process
- Applications for scholarships are managed through the National Scholarship Portal (NSP) at scholarships.gov.in developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- Upon securing admission to various courses in the designated universities and institutions, students are required to submit their applications online through the National Scholarship Portal (NSP).
- The opening and closing dates of the portal will be publicised through both print and electronic media, as well as through the institutions and concerned State.
- For the registration process, candidates must first register on the online portal before filling out the application form.
- The NSP portal allows online verification by the institutes where the applicant has enrolled.
- Nodal Officers from these institutes must register on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP).
- Detailed instructions can be found in the “Institute Operational Manual” available on the NSP portal.
- Nodal Officers from the institutes will verify the documents uploaded by the applicants on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP).
- The institute is not allowed to charge any fee for verification of application.
- After receiving details of the student duly verified by the institute on the NSP portal, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) will conduct online verification of the application.
- In case of discrepancies found in an application, the MoTA will label it as defective.
- The student should correct and resubmit the defective application through the institute’s portal.
- The institute will then verify the corrected application and submit it to the MoTA through the portal for final verification before the specified deadline.
- The list of candidates selected for scholarship awards will be posted on the website of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
- Scholarship payments to selected students will be made annually through the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) via Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to the student’s accredited bank account.
- Selected candidates must have their bank accounts with banks equipped with Core Banking Solutions (CBS).
- If students do not have Aadhaar numbers, they must apply for Aadhaar cards within one month of registration/admission in their respective courses under the scholarship program.
National Scholarship Scheme – Documents Required
The following documents must be uploaded on the NSP portal in the process of completing the online application:
|Graduate/Post Graduate Level Courses||Fresh Scholarship for Candidate||Renewal of Scholarship for Candidate|
|ST Certificate/PVTG Certificate||Yes||No|
|Scanned Copy of the Bank Passbook||Yes||Yes|
|Mark Sheet or Certificate of Qualifying Examination||Yes||Yes|
|Bonafide Certificate Issued by Institute||Yes||Yes|
National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students – Application Process
Steps for filling out the application form of the National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students are as under:
1. Registration as New Users:
- First-time applicants need to register with the National Scholarship Portal (NSP).
- To begin, they should navigate to the ‘Applicant Corner’ section and select the ‘New Registration’ tab.
- Candidates must provide all the necessary information and then click on ‘Register’ to complete the registration process.
- A unique student application ID and password will be generated upon successful registration, and these details will be sent to the registered mobile number.
2. Logging in to NSP:
- After registration, applicants must log in to the NSP using the newly generated ID and password.
- An OTP (One-Time Password) will be sent to the registered mobile number to change the password for added security.
3. Accessing the Application Form:
- Once the password is updated, candidates will be directed to the ‘Applicant’s Dashboard’ page.
- On the ‘Applicant’s Dashboard’ page, applicants should click on ‘Application Form’ to initiate the application process.
4. Providing Details:
- Applicants should provide all the necessary information, including registration and academic details, basic personal information, contact details, and scheme-specific information.
5. Document Upload:
- Applicants should ensure that all the supporting documents required, such as those verifying their identity and academic eligibility, are uploaded as part of the application.
6. Saving as Draft:
- It is advisable to save the filled-in application form as a draft.
- This allows applicants to review every detail and ensure accuracy before submission.
7. Final Submission:
- Candidates should review all the entered information carefully to complete the scholarship application process.
- Once satisfied, they can click on the ‘Submit’ button after having reviewed the application form.
National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students – FAQs
Can a research scholar transfer his or her fellowship to a different university under the programme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students?
A research scholar can transfer his or her fellowship from one university to another under the programme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students. However, this requires prior approval from the university where the applicant was originally enrolled in and the new university he or she intends to get the fellowship transferred to.
The process involves the following steps:
- Online initiation of the transfer by the old university.
- Acceptance of the transfer request by the new university.
- The uploading of a NOC (No Objection Certificate) for transfer by both institutions.
The transfer process is completed once these steps are followed and henceforth approved by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
Can research scholars change their subject or course under the programme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students?
Research scholars can change their subject or course with prior approval from the university where they are currently enrolled under the programme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students. To do so, the student should update the necessary details on the portal.
However, the course will be for a duration of two years for M.Phil. students and five years for M.Phil. + Ph.D. or Ph.D. applicants.
What should a research scholar do if they need to discontinue their course under the programme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students?
The research scholar must submit an undertaking and the reason for discontinuation. The university must also mark the scholar as “discontinued” on the designated bank’s portal. This action stops further disbursal of scholarship amount.
What is the duration of the scholarship programme meant for the research scholars under the scheme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students?
The duration of the scholarship is for two years for M.Phil. students and for five years for M.Phil. + Ph.D. or Ph.D. students. This period covers the tenure of the fellowship programme.
What are the fields marked as mandatory in the application form meant for the National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students?
The fields marked with a black asterisk (*) are mandatory. These are essential and prerequisite information, the applicants must furnish or make available in the process of filling out the application form.
What are the criteria for awarding fellowships and scholarships under the programme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students?
Award criteria typically include academic excellence, income limits, and adherence to program guidelines. It may also include specific consideration solely meant for the students with disabilities or those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Are there any leave benefits for fellows under the National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students programme?
The fellows are entitled to leave benefits. It includes annual, maternity/paternity, and academic leave. It is clearly mentioned in the program guidelines under the programme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students.
How are fellowship and scholarship amounts disbursed to selected candidates under the programme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students?
Disbursal of scholarship award is done through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) method directly into the beneficiaries’ Aadhaar-seeded bank accounts. In the absence of Aadhaar linkage, scholarship payments could be done through NEFT.
Does the programme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students follow a payment schedule?
The payment schedule under the programme usually follows a quarterly or yearly timeline. This is mentioned in the guidelines.
Is the availability of a registered bank account necessary to receive the scholarship award under the programme National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students?
Selected candidates must have a registered bank account in a bank equipped with Core Banking Solutions (CBS) practices in order to receive the scholarship award under the National Fellowship and Scholarship for Higher Education of ST Students.