Postgraduate studentships (PGSs) are a form of financial support provided to full-time research postgraduate (RPg) students to ensure that they do not need to be concerned with looking for other sources of income to support themselves. Being full-time PhD/MPhil students, PGS recipients are required to act as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). GTA engagement is an integral part of the RPg training and not an employment. As such, PGS should not be mistaken as the remuneration for GTA duties. Given that students receiving PGSs do not enter an employer-employee relationship with the University, the PGS award is not taxable income.
Awards given are based on academic merit, English language proficiency, and the suitability of the RPg students for the program of study.
The PGS rate is reviewed annually and may be adjusted upward or downward. The regular PGS rate in the 2019/20 academic year is HK$17,330, except for awardees of the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme and the Asian Future Leaders Scholarship Program. Full-time PhD students who have passed the qualifying examination and have done well in their work may receive a higher rate, subject to availability of top-up funding from the respective department/supervisor.
For details, please refer to the Terms and Conditions of Postgraduate Studentships.
The University administers various scholarships and awards on behalf of individual and corporate donors. Most are offered to students on the strength of academic merit and the recommendations of a School or department. Other scholarships may have conditions specified by the donors. Details are available at the Scholarships and Financial Aid Office website.
Students who have the right of abode in Hong Kong or have resided or have had their homes in Hong Kong continuously for three complete years immediately prior to the commencement of their studies, are eligible to apply for financial aid from the Student Finance Office (SFO) of the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency. Holders of student visas are not eligible to apply for any financial aid from SFO, irrespective of their number of years of residence in Hong Kong.
Full-time students are eligible to apply for the Tertiary Student Finance Scheme (TSFS), and the Non-means-tested Loan Scheme for Full-time Tertiary Students (NLSFT). Part-time students are eligible to apply for the Extended Non-means-tested Loan Scheme (ENLS).
i. Tertiary Student Finance Scheme (TSFS)
Under this scheme, means-tested awards are offered in the form of grants and/or loans. Grants are given for tuition fees and academic expenses while loans are for living expenses. The level of financial assistance is related to the applicant’s family income and financial status. Grants need not be repaid; loans are to be repaid at a relatively low interest rate within a specified period after graduation or upon leaving the University.
ii. Non-means-tested Loan Scheme for Full-time Tertiary Students (NLSFT)
NLSFT is to complement TSFS to provide financial assistance in the form of loans. This scheme offers loans up to the amount of tuition fees to applicants who do not apply for assistance or who fail to receive assistance from TSFS. It also allows students who receive assistance from TSFS to obtain loans up to the difference between the maximum assistance and the amount they receive under TSFS. Loans awarded are not means-tested. Students have to repay the loan at a cost recovery interest rate within a specified period after graduation or upon leaving the University.
iii. Extended Non-means-tested Loan Scheme (ENLS)
Under this scheme, non-means-tested financial assistance is provided to students studying part-time, in the form of a loan up to the amount of tuition fees. Students have to repay the loan at a cost recovery interest rate within a specified period after graduation or upon leaving the University.
Application forms and further details are available at the SFO website. Students with financial difficulties are urged to apply for government assistance as soon as it is open for application.
Students with additional financial needs may apply for loans and bursaries administered by the University. In general, these funds are used to supplement, but not substitute for, government financial assistance. Details of loans and bursaries are available here.