UNESCO-Colunga Foundation scholarship helps Chilean students to further their higher education

  • The scholarship is an inclusion project for higher education in Chile. It provides economic support for students belonging to the UNESCO Network of Colleges’ Preparatory Courses, developed by several Chilean universities. The scholarship provides resources to fund expenses related to university attendance.

November 2014 - Contributing to improve access to higher education in Chile, placing emphasis on encouraging young people to study and then return to their communities in order to contribute to community development. This is the reason why UNESCO and the Colunga Foundation have joined forces to create the “New Hope, New Future” scholarship for higher education. This economic support currently benefits 197 low-income university students. It can be renewed for a maximum three semesters.

These scholarships are specifically directed to regular first year students in one of the careers at universities participating in UNESCO Propaedeutic Universities network.  This is a program created in 2007 within the framework of the Chilean Ministry of Education Prioritary High Schools Programme in association with UNESCO Santiago, among other institutions. UNESCO Propaedeutic Universities network is a project that has borne fruit in more than one way regarding higher education equality.  It includes support and Effective Access to Higher Education Chilean government programme.

The “New Hope, New Future” Scholarship aims to help young people with academic talent gain access to, and continue, higher education studies, by means of a monthly benefit amounting to 85,000 Chilean pesos (US$140) for students from rural areas and 75,000 Chilean pesos (US$ 120) for students from urban areas.

The following universities participated in the 2014 pilot phase: Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez, Universidad Austral (Coyhaique campus), Universidad Católica de Temuco, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Universidad Católica del Norte (Coquimbo campus), Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción and Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación. The second application period for this scholarship starts in March 2014.

Talent is equally distributed in the population

UNESCO Santiago director Jorge Sequeira addressing scholarship recipients

Jorge Sequeira, director of UNESCO Santiago, stated that making the right to education for all a reality is one of the main building blocks for fairer and more democratic societies. This requires education and broader social structures. In this sense, the role of different social stakeholders is fundamental. “Our sincere recognition and admiration for the initiative being developed by the Colunga Foundation. The Foundation is deeply involved, with concrete actions, in contributing to ‘move the limits of what is possible’ for a group of outstanding youth.  These youngsters will undoubtedly be the foundation for building a fairer and more committed society and country in a few more years.  When that moment comes, it will be our pleasure to celebrate their graduation from university”.

At an event held in Santiago, Chile in late 2014, Colunga Foundation executive director Karinna Soto encouraged young people as follows: “We hope that this scholarship will not only provide economic relief now. We expect it helps you understand that you are now following a road that will soon be a path for others.  Others who have difficulties and dreams like you.  And in the future you and they will undoubtedly help build a better society for everyone”.

Francisco Javier Gil is the UNESCO Propaedeutic Universities network representative in Chile. He is also consultant for the Ministry of Education, USACH and Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. Professor Gil presented data that prove how effective these programmes are. “Between 1990 and 2014 we pooled data proving that talent is equally distributed in the population (…) over these years we have seen that funding 100% of students’ tuition fees is not always enough.  This is because the students who need these scholarships have to study and work to support their households and for their own basic support (…). This is why we will double our efforts so that future state scholarships will include a monthly allowance, among other changes. We will put forth our best efforts to ensure that this noble initiative by the Colunga Foundation and UNESCO becomes a State policy”.

In turn, María José Manguay, one of the recipients of the Universidad Católica del Norte (Coquimbo) foundation programmme, recognised this programme and the Colunga Foundation-UNESCO scholarship as follows: “You have to study to have a better future. Thanks to this scholarship, all we have to do now is study. Thank you very much for the opportunity you have given us all”.

Additional information:


María José Manguay, student at Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo (Chile).

Francisco Javier Gil
UNESCO Preparatory Courses program representative in Chile

Jorge Sequeira
Director, Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago)

María Yaritza Galaz, student at Universidad de Santiago de Chile

Daniela López (Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, Chile) and Wladimir Vergara (Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile)

Intervención de Karinna Soto
Executive director, Colunga Foundation


Photo gallery: Flickr

Contacts at UNESCO Santiago

  • Cecilia Jaramillo
    “New Hope, New Future” Scholarship Coordinator
  • Carolina Jerez                                                                     
    Public information / Digital content
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