On the eve of the feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius, a National Program of the Stefan Stambolov Fund is officially launched to give Bulgarian students the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree at some of the world’s leading universities, the government announced. Under the national program, set up on the initiative of Prime Minister Kirill Petkov, the state will provide selected students with up to BGN 200,000 a year provided they return to work in their home country after graduation.
The public debate on the draft national program ended on May 9th and is now awaiting approval by the cabinet. The selection of the first group of 10 students who will receive funding for their studies abroad in the academic year 2022/2023 is scheduled for June.
The Fund will provide two million leva each year for three years. Three selection campaigns will be conducted to approve ten students each. The cost of transfer to the foreign university, tuition, accommodation costs and medical insurance will be covered by the fund.
The selected candidates will have to sign a contract with the state under which they will be required to return to Bulgaria within six months of graduation in order to work for at least three years or repay the interest-bearing funding.
Applicants must be Bulgarian citizens with a higher education or postgraduate degree obtained in the last five years in a professional field corresponding to the postgraduate program in the application and with a grade point average of at least 5.00 (out of 6.00). This year’s funding will be given for studies at universities ranked among the top 15 of the four most important world rankings at the time of the development of the national program.
In a videotaped speech on the establishment of the Stefan Stampolov Fund, Prime Minister Petkov said that Saints Cyril and Methodius had paved the way for the Bulgarian people to know. In modern history, the progressive politician Stefan Stambolov, by investing in European youth education with motivation, offered to the country people who laid the foundations of modern Bulgaria.
The Fund aims to help Bulgarians with proven ability to acquire skills related to current and future professions and apply their experience in Bulgaria. The knowledge and skills acquired during their studies abroad, as well as their expanded worldview, will contribute to the development of the country’s economy and society, Petkov said in his videotaped message.