About the CSFP

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is an international programme under which Commonwealth countries offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other member states. The CSFP was established by Commonwealth education ministers at their first conference in 1959. Since then, Commonwealth Scholarships have become one of the most prestigious and best-known international scholarship schemes. Over 35,000 individuals have benefited.

The five main principles of the Plan, laid down at the time of its formation, are that it would:

  • Be distinct and additional to any other schemes
  • Be based on mutual cooperation and the sharing of educational experience among all Commonwealth countries
  • Be flexible, to take account of changing needs over time
  • Be Commonwealth-wide, and based on a series of bilateral arrangements between home and host countries
  • Recognise and promote the highest level of intellectual achievement

The CSFP is reviewed at the Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) held every three years.

You can read the latest Plan Report, presented to ministers at 20CCEM in Fiji, February 2018, here.

Countries and territories offering scholarships

Each individual country decides whether to offer scholarships and, if so, what type. The awards have traditionally been supported by host governments and/or universities.

The following countries currently offer Commonwealth Scholarships:

The CSFP endowment fund

The CSFP endowment fund supports Commonwealth Scholarships hosted by low and middle income Commonwealth countries, now known as the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships.

The fund was established by education ministers in 2009, on the 50th anniversary of the CSFP, to ensure Commonwealth-wide learning opportunities. 

The fund has been supported by donations from 13 Commonwealth governments and around 200 alumni – the full list of donors is available to view here. On 16 April 2018, at the opening of the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London, HRH Prince Harry announced an additional contribution by the UK Government to expand the fund by £5 million.

The fund currently supports around 30 two-year Master’s students at any given time (15 new awards annually). From 2019, this number will rise to 30 new scholarships being made available each year. To date, there have been 81 recipients of Commonwealth Scholarships in low and middle income countries.  

In 2017, scholarships were awarded for study in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, South Africa, University of the South Pacific, Sri Lanka, Swaziland and University of the West Indies.

The fund is managed by the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Scholar stories

Click on the image below to read about the experiences of Commonwealth Scholars in low and middle income countries.

Commonwealth Scholar stories