USAID Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship Program

The United States Agency for International Development’s Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship Program (USAID DISP) aims to support current and future community leaders of Burma, particularly those from vulnerable groups, to gain access to quality higher education learning opportunities by offering regional and local higher education scholarships, grants, and a variety of higher education opportunities via multimodalities that strengthen the overall educational landscape of Burma. 

USAID/Burma’s higher education (HE) programming advances United States Government strategic objectives to promote inclusive democracy and economic growth by educating, equipping, and preparing Burma’s next generation of leaders. The five-year USAID DISP activity, which was launched in August 2023, directly aims to further that goal by supporting current and future community leaders of Burma, particularly those from vulnerable groups, to gain access to quality learning opportunities. This will be achieved via multi-modalities that strengthen the HE and overall education landscape, through both scholarship opportunities and grants. 

Through DISP, individuals of all backgrounds will earn higher education degrees, receive professional certifications, and gain access to contextualized curricula through short- and long-term training in Burma and throughout select countries in the region.

Our network of offices and affiliates around the world is led by talented and dedicated international education experts who implement initiatives driven by key regional and global needs. 

For more information on the scholarship and grants under contract components of the program, as well as application links for both, please see the sections below.

Scholarships represent a key to unlocking the doors of education for aspiring individuals. These financial awards, often granted based on academic achievement, merit, or specific talents, play a pivotal role in making education more accessible and empowering individuals to pursue their academic dreams. Beyond just easing the financial burden, scholarships provide a platform for deserving individuals to showcase their potential and contribute meaningfully to their chosen fields. As beacons of support, scholarships not only invest in individual success but also contribute to building a diverse and enriched academic landscape, fostering a generation of empowered and driven learners. Through DISP, USAID is offering Burmese learners the opportunity to pursue higher education through a variety of platforms.

Scholarships Offered

  • Master’s degrees (in-person in the Philippines and Thailand) 
  • Bachelor’s degrees (in-person in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand) 
  • Online master’s degrees with the University of Arizona 
  • Online bachelor’s degrees with the University of Arizona 
  • Online graduate certificate courses with the University of Arizona 
  • Online short-term certificate courses with the University of Arizona  

PhD

DISP offers scholarships for PhD students already enrolled in a doctoral program in the region, who are looking for financial assistance to supplement their research, tuition fees, and academic-related activities. The DISP program will review PhD scholarship applications on a case-by-case basis. For more information email scholarships@dispburma.org 

Community-Engaged Inclusive Leadership Program (CEIL)

The Community Engaged Inclusive Leadership (CEIL) program will support all DISP scholars through University of Arizona online courses and opportunities. This support will be done by engaging with all DISP scholars in core activities and training based on academic program. The CEIL Program will be conducted virtually using synchronous and asynchronous learning. The CEIL program content will be focused around three core areas: leadership; advocacy and engagement; and college access and opportunities. The CEIL program will also include service learning and mentorship opportunities.

Service Learning 

Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that connects academic curriculum to community problem-solving. Service learning is a required component of DISP. The service-learning experience may be in-person or virtual, depending on the specific circumstances of each scholar. The purpose of service learning is to provide scholars with opportunities to practice their newly acquired technical, management, and leadership skills in a real-world setting, and to ensure that training benefits extend beyond the individual level and reach communities.

How to Apply

To apply for DISP, you need to submit all applicant information, essays and supporting documents within the application period. A full list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) can be found here.

Applications open from January 15, 2024 (11.30pm MMT) to February 23, 2024 (11.30pm MMT)

Those who have previously created an account on the Slate Application system should use their existing account to apply for DISP 2024 Application.  New applicants must register, complete, and submit their applications through the website. The application includes:

  • Personal Information 
  • Contact Information
  • Education History
  • Professional Experience, Employment History & Volunteer Work
  • International Experiences
  • Academic Interests 
  • Two essays
  • Upload required Supporting Documents:
    • Academic Records (Certificates & Transcripts). Note: Transcripts with complete record of grades from all years attended
    • A copy of both sides of National Registration Card (NRC) for in-person programs
    • A copy of front page of passport (If available)
    • 3 letters of recommendation
      Note: Recommendation letters in English are preferred but if your recommender cannot provide one in English, the letters can be written in Burmese. However, if the applicant is selected for an in-person interview, the recommendation letters need to be translated before the interview date – the program team will advise.

After applicants have completed and submitted their applications, each application will be reviewed to confirm that they meet the eligibility criteria. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be asked to complete an online test to check your level of English. If you score above the minimum requirements of the program you are applying for, your application will be reviewed again, and you may be shortlisted for an interview. More information on the English Diagnostic Test is below.

English Diagnostic Test 

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be asked to complete an online test to check your level of English. The test will take place on the Teaching and e-Learning Platform. You will need to register, and a test date will be provided for you in early March. If you score above the minimum requirements of the program you are applying for, your application will be reviewed again, and you have a chance to be shortlisted for an interview.

TOEFL ITP Diagnostic Test Preparation Resources:

Interviews & Final Selection

If you meet the selection criteria, fit the DISP profile, and meet the requirements of the program you applied for, you will be invited for an interview. The interviews will take place in April on Zoom. You will be invited via email, and the program team may request some additional information ahead of the interview.

Please do not submit more than one application.

Eligibility

Please see below the lists of eligibility criteria for master’s degree programs, bachelor’s degree programs, graduate certificate programs, and certificate courses. Please keep in mind the following:  

  • Applicants who have no transcripts will not be eligible for degree programs, as this is a minimum requirement. Such applicants may apply to short-term non-credit bearing courses with the University of Arizona.  
  • Applicants who have transcripts from “alternative” institutions are encouraged to apply and the DISP team will advocate for flexibility and try to gain admission for selected scholars with such credentials.  
  • For applicants who have transcripts for some years of university but not all, credit transfer may be possible for University of Arizona programs. 

Master’s Degree Programs

You are eligible for a DISP Master’s degree scholarship if you:

  • Are from Myanmar.
  • Are residing in Myanmar or one of the bordering areas.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree with good academic achievement.
  • Have at least one-two years of full-time professional work experience, or equivalent volunteer service in a professional setting.
  • Preference will be given to applicants under the age of 40.

You are not eligible to apply for a DISP Master’s degree scholarship if you:

  • Hold a citizenship other than Myanmar.
  • Live in a country other than Myanmar or one of its neighboring countries.
  • Have earned a master’s degree from any country other than Myanmar.
  • Have not met the minimum 1 year of full-time professional work/volunteer experience requirement for the scholarship before submitting the application.
  • Are an employee of USAID or other U.S. Government (USG) agencies or an immediate family member of USAID or USG employees, including Personal Services Contracts (PSC) and interagency agreements with USAID.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

You are eligible for a DISP Bachelor’s degree scholarship if you:

  • Are from Myanmar.
  • Are residing in Myanmar or one of the bordering areas.
  • Are 40 years of age or younger.
  • Have at least the equivalent of a high school diploma with good academic achievement, plus one year of university education OR
    Have a minimum GED score of 145 in each category.
  • Have at least one year of full-time professional work experience or community service/volunteer work.

You are not eligible to apply for a DISP Bachelor’s degree scholarship if you:

  • Hold a citizenship other than Myanmar.
  • Live in a country other than Myanmar or one of its neighboring countries.
  • Are 41 years of age or older.
  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree from any country other than Myanmar.
  • Have not met the minimum one year of full-time professional work experience or community service/volunteer work for the scholarship before submitting the application.
  • Are an employee of USAID or other U.S. Government (USG) agencies or an immediate family member of USAID or USG employees, including Personal Services Contracts (PSC) and interagency agreements with USAID.

Graduate Certificate Courses 

You are eligible for a DISP graduate certificate scholarship if you: 

  • Are from Myanmar. 
  • Are residing in Myanmar or one of the bordering areas. 
  • Have a bachelor’s degree. 
  • Preference will be given to candidates aged 40 or younger. 

You are not eligible for a DISP graduate certificate scholarship if you: 

  • Hold a citizenship other than Myanmar. 
  • Live in a country other than Myanmar or one of its neighboring countries. 
  • Have earned a master’s degree from any country other than Myanmar. 
  • Are an employee of USAID or other U.S. Government (USG) agencies or an immediate family member of USAID or USG employees, including Personal Services Contracts (PSC) and interagency agreements with USAID. 

Certificate Courses (Non-credit Bearing) 

You are eligible for a DISP certificate scholarship if you: 

  • Are from Myanmar. 
  • Are residing in Myanmar or one of the bordering areas. 
  • Preference will be given to candidates aged 40 or younger. 

You are not eligible to apply for a DISP certificate scholarship if you: 

  • Hold a citizenship other than Myanmar. 
  • Live in a country other than Myanmar or one of its neighboring countries. 

Selection Criteria

All applications are checked against the eligibility criteria, language skills, and assessment of the essays and recommendation letters as follows:

  • Clear leadership/community development goals in fields relevant to Myanmar/Burma’s sustainable and inclusive development.
  • Demonstrated leadership and contribution to the community and/or work environment through community engagement, volunteerism, work performance, and personal involvement.
  • Commitment to return to Myanmar/Burma (or home community if from bordering areas) at the end of their program.

Clear evaluation rubric for essays, recommendation letters and interviews will be developed to ensure equal treatment of applicants. Interview panelists will also be trained in overcoming bias to ensure inclusivity.

Current Program Offerings

If you are applying for the USAID Diversity Inclusion Scholarship Program (DISP) and wondering what program to study, read our program catalog below.

Choosing the right program for your study is one of the most important steps of preparing your scholarship application. You first need to decide which programs you are interested in. On your DISP scholarship application, you will be able to select up to three preferred programs. If you are selected as a scholar, DISP will assist to place you in one of your preferred programs depending on your suitability for the program and the university admissions procedures.

Important: Awarded DISP scholars will be assisted in the university placement process using your DISP application; however, the Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship Program cannot guarantee that selected scholars will be admitted to their desired course. We advise you to research the admissions criteria of your desired program before applying for a scholarship so that you are prepared for the admissions process. 

Note: Funding for PhD candidates currently enrolled in PhD programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please email scholarships@dispburma.org for more information. 

Bachelor’s Degrees (In person) 
Master’s Degrees (In person) 
Online Programs
Bachelor’s Degrees (Online) With The University Of Arizona 

Bachelor’s Degree programs available with the University of Arizona (online) are listed below. All the programs take four years to successfully complete. The number of credits required for graduation is 120 credits in total. All these programs follow a self-paced learning model; therefore, you can fast-track your learning journey and earn your undergraduate degree in less than 4 years.

Online Certificate Courses With The University Of Arizona 

All these online certificate courses with the University of Arizona, are designed, based on self-paced learning model; therefore, you can fast-track your learning journey and complete your course on your own timeline.

Master’s Degrees (Online) With The University Of Arizona 

Graduate / Master Degree programs available with the University of Arizona (online) are listed below. All the programs take two years to successfully complete. The number of credits required for graduation varies in credits total. All these programs follow a self-paced learning model; therefore, you can fast-track your learning journey and earn your undergraduate degree in less than 2 years.

Graduate Certificates (Online) With The University Of Arizona 

All these online graduate certificate courses with the University of Arizona, are designed, based on self-paced learning model; therefore, you can fast-track your learning journey and complete your course on your own timeline.

In the realm of education and beyond, grant funding can serve as a catalyst for turning dreams into reality. These opportunities open doors for individuals and organizations to drive innovation, bridge financial gaps, and access resources that propel them and their communities towards success. By providing the necessary financial support, these opportunities empower individuals and organizations to chart their own course, fostering a landscape where aspirations are not limited by financial constraints, but rather fueled by the belief that with the right support, anything is possible. To this end, USAID DISP is providing grants to individuals and organizations to address the current and future needs of Burmese education.  

Under DISP, $8.3 million has been allocated for grants under contract (GUCs), with $5 million earmarked for basic education and $3 million earmarked for higher education. The remaining $300,000 will later be used to for DISP and USAID Lincoln Scholarship Program alumni network activities to increase the number of USAID beneficiaries applying newly acquired leadership skills in their communities for the development of a pluralistic and democratic Myanmar in the future.   

The primarily pool of funding for GUCs ($8 million) seeks to support activities related to human and institutional capacity development that would expand access to higher education for Myanmar citizens with a focus on leveraging basic and higher education activities that would enable expanded access to higher education opportunities for all Myanmar citizens.   

Annual Program Statement & Grant Application

Beginning January 15, 2023, DISP began seeking proposals for GUCs under an Annual Program Statement (APS), which closes December 31, 2024. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The first deadline for application review is March 15, 2024. Responses will be sent to applicants within six weeks of the deadline. The full schedule of deadlines is below:  

  • Round 1: 15 January 2024 – 15 March 2024 
  • Round 2: 16 March 2024 – 15 May 2024 
  • Round 3: 16 May 2024 – 15 July 2024 
  • Round 4: 16 July – 15 September 
  • Round 5: 16 September- 15 November 
  • Round 6: 16 November- 31 December 

Read the 2024 Annual Program Statement to learn more about USAID DISP grants under contract. The application for the 2024 DISP Annual Program Statement is now live and hosted on a secure external application portal, Slate. 

Note: In the application, you will be required to submit both a technical proposal and a budget, templates for which are provided in the application portal. Applications which do not use these templates will not be considered for a grant. The templates will be provided in the application link itself, and you can access and download the templates. For a full list of questions about the grant application, please follow this link.

For all grants-related question, please contact grants@usaiddisp.com.

Contact us

Thank you for your patience while our external program website, usaiddisp.com, undergoes updates. For general program and component-specific questions, please contact us using the email addresses below.

General Program

Grants Under Contract

The information provided on this Web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.