Historically, higher education has long played a vital role in building tolerance, promoting innovation, and transforming communities, both in Pakistan and beyond. This in turn helps support stronger economies, healthier nations, and a better world.

Despite the formidable economic challenges recently faced by much of the world, including Pakistan, higher education remains as important as ever. In particular, those fortunate enough to receive it appreciate the empowerment, independence, and new horizons which typically accompany a quality university education. Put another way, “Education is the key to unlocking the world, providing a passport to opportunity, success, and freedom”.

For nearly 160 years, Forman Christian College, A Chartered University (FCCU), has pursued these ideals with the added objective of making higher education available to as many people as possible, regardless of their social, economic or religious background.

Against this backdrop, Forman’s financial aid programs play a key role, providing financial assistance to deserving students in ways that also help build and maintain one of the most vibrant and diverse campus communities in Pakistan.

For many students, this financial assistance opens a door to higher education that would otherwise remain shut. Moreover, the benefits to this new world that they can now enter include not only the opportunity to attend classes and earn a degree; it also sets the stage for later success through their active participation in internships, research, and dozens of student societies, providing hands-on experiences in ways that both build skills and shape personalities to last a lifetime.

In recent years Pakistan has faced a series of big challenges including Covid-19, massive flooding, political uncertainty and economic upheaval. In some cases, immediate relief was provided, based in part on targeted fund-raising efforts designed to assist students and their families directly affected by floods or the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, Forman has also worked hard to increase the funding pool available to deserving students via our general scholarship fund.

These efforts have borne fruit. For example, during the 2021-2022 academic year, Forman provided scholarships valued at PKR 241 million to nearly 2,000 students. Similarly, during the current academic year (2022-2023), Forman is making PKR 329 million available in scholarship funding at all levels — Intermediate, Undergraduate and Post-Graduate.

Support for our scholarship programs is provided through a variety of targeted mechanisms, all based on the interest, generosity and support of our many donors. Examples included gifts to our general Scholarship Endowment Fund; donors who set up Named Scholarships in honor of loved ones; Zakat giving, especially during Ramadan; and individual contributions made with a specific beneficiary community in mind such as women or minorities.

Drawing on the resources channeled through these various initiatives, the intent is to ensure that all academically qualified applicants can indeed obtain a Forman education, despite family economic circumstances that may at times make this seem difficult if not impossible. The fact that “Friends of Forman” everywhere including alumni, faculty, staff, foundations, philanthropists, corporate responsibility programs and others share in this worthy goal is what makes these financial aid programs possible.

In sum, FCCU is committed to providing multiple paths to success, ensuring that students coming from families with limited means have the opportunity to obtain an education in one of the most historic institutions of higher learning in Pakistan. As in the past, we expect this generation of Forman students to join the ranks of Forman alumni now numbering more than 30,000, in turn making a positive mark on their families, communities, country and indeed the entire world while also exemplifying Forman’s long-standing motto: “By Love Serve One Another“.

The writer, Jonathan S. Addleton, is a former diplomat and current rector at Forman Christian College University in Lahore.

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