Some Supported Students
Prayas's Students Support Program provides scholarships and financial assistance to deserving and needy students to start or continue basic, higher or vocational education. A well defined operational process and a network of committed volunteers in India and USA ensures effective implementation of this program.
An individual student seeking financial assistance from Prayas must be in a situation where he/she cannot start or continue his/her education for lack of funds. Such determination is made by Prayas's volunteers based on a set of defined criteria and guidelines.
Support covers expenses like school/college fees, books, study materials, uniform, commuting, etc. Support is provided for one year at a time. Continuation of support is decided every year based on student's performance and any changed circumstances. A Prayas volunteer is attached to each supported student as a mentor, who guides the student as needed, periodically monitors his/her studies progress, and coordinates expense reimbursements.
Appropriate review and monitoring mechanisms are implemented to ensure effective and transparent operation of the program.
In general, a student seeking financial assistance from Prayas must be in a situation where he/she cannot start or continue his/her education for lack of funds. Such determination is made based on a set of defined guidelines, some of which are listed below.
- Prayas considers supporting the education/training of the students who wish to but cannot start or continue one of the following due to lack of funds:
Basic or primary education (upto grade V), secondary/higher secondary education (from grade VI to grade XII), graduate degree, post graduate degree, professional qualification/diploma, vocational training.
- If the student is seeking support for a professional qualification/diploma or a vocational training, the nature of that course/diploma/degree is taken into consideration. Prayas supports such education/training that is likely to genuinely enhance the student's prospects for employment or entrepreneurship, and not that which a student might want to pursue as a mere hobby or interest.
- When determining whether or not a student has funds available to support his/her education/training, the following is considered as available sources of funds for the student:
Total income of the students's family, student's own total earnings, if any, any scholarships or grants the student already receives.
Application for support may be submitted by a student himself/herself, or by a family member, relative, teacher, etc. A program management group in India reviews each application and approves or disapproves support based on the defined criteria and guidelines. Often a volunteer meets the student and his/her family to assess the circumstances and need before a decision of support is made. Upon commencement of support the student or his/her family is required to provide a proof of residence and proof of enrollment in the school/college/institute, for example a receipt of fee deposit.
A Prayas volunteer who lives in the student's city or region is associated with each supported student as a mentor. Each mentor meets each student associated with him/her once in four months, and discusses the student's progress in studies, marks/grades obtained in tests, difficulties faced, etc. and provides guidance as needed. The mentor submits a progress report of the student after this meeting.
Students or their families reimburse their expenses with the help of their mentors. Detailed records are kept of all funds usage in each case, including the date and purpose of each expense. Students are required to provide receipts/bills for all major expenses.
Support to each student is reviewed for renewal once a year. Factors like change in student's family's income, mentor's feedback, etc. are taken into consideration when making the decision to renew support.
Prayas's leadership teams in US and India oversee and guide the program implementation. The leadership team in US receives a monthly update of all supported students, progress reports and funds usage. The leadership group in India may also seek the opinion of the US team in deciding support for some cases. The leadership groups in US and India communicate regularly. Members of the leadership team in US also review operations in India during their periodic personal visits to India.
Most operational processes of Prayas are well defined and documented. Prayas team has built simple and effective IT systems for efficient functioning. For instance, all support applications, decisions and progress reports are entered online and maintained in a database directly accessible to the management teams in US and India.
Some Supported Students