- What is the motivation behind Malengo?
We believe that international educational migration is one of the most effective tools for poverty reduction. The evidence suggests that incomes are to a significant degree determined by where a person is, not who they are: even minimum-wage jobs in Germany pay many times as much as the typical job in Uganda. We therefore want to enable young Ugandans to expand their opportunities by completing a Bachelor’s degree in Germany.
- Why Germany?
Germany and its public universities are uniquely suited to the goals of Malengo for four reasons:
1. German public universities have no tuition fees. This is true even for foreign students, including those from outside the EU. Students only pay a low “semester fee” (“Semesterbeitrag”), ranging from EUR 62 to EUR 331 in the universities that are the focus of the program, which covers membership in the student union and travel on local public transport.
2. Admission is unrestricted for many courses, i.e. as long as students meet the minimum entrance requirements (usually consisting of a high school diploma and proof of English proficiency), they can register to study there. Only some highly sought-after programs have competitive entrance procedures; these courses are not the focus of the program. In addition, the Ugandan Certificate of Education (UCE) and Ugandan Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) are officially recognized for subject-specific entry, i.e. Ugandan high school graduates can enroll at these universities if they took the necessary subjects in high school.
3. German universities offer a growing number of Bachlor’s programs taught entirely in English, enabling even students who do not (yet) speak German to study there. Proof of German proficiency is not required to enter these programs, although proof of English proficiency is.
4. Germany has extremely low cost of living relative to most high-income countries. Official estimates suggest that students need EUR 861 per month for living expenses (not including semester fees). In practice, students from abroad live on EUR 646 per month on average.
- Why Uganda?
Uganda is one of the world’s poorest countries, with an annual per capita GDP of USD 777 (World Bank, 2019). It has the world’s second-youngest population, with a median age of 16 and more than 70% of the population below age 25. While Uganda has a rapidly growing secondary school graduation rate (17% in 2016, growing at about 5% per year), enrollment in tertiary education is under 4%. This is partly due to relatively high fees; for example, a Bachelor’s degree at Makerere University costs between USD 269 and USD 742 per semester in fees (i.e. not including cost of living). Finally, the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education is recognized for university entry in Germany.
- What about brain drain?
There are two reasons we don’t find worries about a possible “brain drain” in Uganda persuasive.
First, Malengo is Swahili for “goals”: we believe that every person deserves opportunities to pursue their goals, regardless of where they were born.
Second, the scientific evidence suggests that brain drain is not an important impediment to growth. On the contrary, international educational migration has significant benefits not only for the person who migrates, but also for the home community: migrants often send home remittances; they serve as role models for siblings and friends; and they create economic links between their host country and their home community.
You can find out more about the benefits of international educational migration on our Evidence page.
- Can I donate?
Yes! We are grateful for donations. Donations to Malengo are tax-deductible in the United States, where Malengo is a 501(c)(3) charity; and in Germany, where Malengo is a non-profit LLC (gGmbH).
Please find our donation page here.
For larger donations, please get in touch with Johannes Haushofer ([email protected]).
- What are the eligibility requirements for Malengo?
You are eligible for the program if you fulfill the following set of criteria:
- Basic Eligibility
- You have completed the UCE exam
- You have either already completed the UACE and have at least two principal passes; OR you plan to complete the UACE exam in 2023 and already have your mock UACE results
- Your UACE must be issued in one of the eligible districts, which are listed here. Your place of residence in Uganda does not matter; it matters only where your UACE was/will be obtained.
- You are 30 years of age or below as of December 31, 2023
- You have not yet completed a Bachelor’s program
- Academic Eligibility (based on requirements of German university)
- 2 subjects at the Principal Level of the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) with a grade of E or better, and
- 3 subjects in the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) with a grade of 6 or better, and
- These 5 subjects are general knowledge courses and independent from each other, including Math and English.
- Additional requirements
- You have a Ugandan passport; OR a Ugandan national ID; OR a letter from NIRA showing your NIN number; OR be a refugee living in Uganda and hold a valid refugee travel document. You do not need all documents at the time of application; ONE is sufficient.
- You read, write, and speak good English.
- You come from a background of limited means. We will check this during the application process. If you’re unsure if you qualify, we recommend applying regardless.
- You are motivated to work hard to succeed at a German university and integrate yourself into your community there.
- Basic Eligibility
- Are refugees in Uganda eligible for the program?
Yes. If you are a refugee in Uganda and have a valid refugee travel document, you are eligible to apply for the program. The eligibility criteria and our selection process is the same as Ugandan Nationals, i.e., you are eligible if 30 years as of December 31st, 2023 and below and you have your UACE certificate. If you took your UACE in the year of application and do not yet have results, you are eligible as long as you have your mock UACE results. You must have completed your UACE in one of the eligible districts, which are listed here. The UACE certificate must show at least two principal passes.
- Does it matter where I live?
No, your place of residence does not matter. It only matters where you got your UACE certificate.
- Do I need a passport?
No, but you need a Ugandan national ID card, or a letter from NIRA showing your NIN number.
- Do I need to speak German to be a Malengo Scholar?
No. All programs in the Malengo program are taught entirely in English. You therefore do not need to know any German to become a Malengo Scholar. However, once you begin your studies, we require that you take German classes. German classes are typically offered for free by the universities.
- What experiences and character traits do I need to have to be selected?
A Malengo Scholar is not just a student who receives financial and mentoring support from our organization. A Malengo Scholar is someone who embodies respect, integrity, honesty and persistence in all aspects of her / his / their life. We look for six important traits in our applicants:
- You are academically qualified, which includes good grades and UCE/UACE scores.
- You are financially deserving, which means that you would not otherwise be able to afford studying at a German university.
- You possess personal and academic integrity and honesty. You always tell the truth, produce original work rather than copy others’ work, and are known for being reliable and responsive.
- You have persistence and a strong work ethic. You have overcome challenges in your life and will work hard to achieve your goals.
- You are a strong contributor to your community. You have demonstrated leadership and service to others, and will contribute to the Malengo scholar community in the future.
- You are motivated to become a Malengo Scholar. You have strong conviction and ambition to join this special community and pursue an academic program in Europe. You can articulate how this experience will help you achieve your goals.
- What subjects can I study?
Our eligible Bachelors programs are listed here. We do not support studies for other degree programs.
- Do I have better chances if I select a specific program of study?
No. We treat all eligible Bachelors programs equally. During the application we will ask you about your motivation for the particular programs you want to study.
- I am still waiting for my UACE results. Can I apply?
Yes! Candidates who have valid, good UCE scores and are sitting for their UACE exams in the year of application can apply as long as they have their mock exam results. Candidates who are admitted before UACE results are released are admitted contingent upon receiving good UACE scores.
How and when do I apply to be a Malengo Scholar?
- What are the deadlines to apply to be a Malengo Scholar?
For the 2023 round of applications, the deadlines are as follows:
- If you completed your UACE before 2023: November 30, 2023
- If you expect to complete your UACE in 2023: December 15, 2023
- Where do I apply to be a Malengo Scholar?
You can apply at https://app.malengo.org. You can begin your application and save it and come back to it at any time. Please be sure to follow the specific directions in the application for the word counts and prompts.
Financial Assistance: How much do I need to pay for this program, what funding will I get and do I need to pay it back?
- How much does it cost to apply to Malengo?
Nothing! Applying to Malengo is entirely free. MALENGO DOES NOT ASK FOR MONEY FROM STUDENTS, REFERENCE PROVIDERS, OR ANYONE ELSE DURING THE APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS.
- How much funding do I get and what does it pay for if I’m accepted to Malengo?
Malengo will pay for your university and visa application fees, the IELTS English test, flights, semester fees in the first semester, and your first-year living expenses. Malengo does not provide funding beyond the first year of studies. We expect Malengo Scholars to get part-time jobs during their first year that can cover living and other expenses after the first year. The funding is provided on the basis of an income share agreement (ISA). You can find out more about what this is below.
- How do I pay for my expenses after the first year?
Most students in Germany have part-time jobs to support themselves. We will help you find such a job. We also run a mentorship program, which pairs you with someone who has experience within Germany who can support you with both short- and longer-term career development.
- What is an income share agreement?
An income share agreement means that you receive funding from Malengo to pay for your application fees and living expenses in the first year. After you graduate, if you have a job with a sufficiently high salary, you contribute a share of your income (hence “income share”) to the next generation of Malengo Scholars.
- Is Malengo a loan?
No. A loan has to be re-paid no matter whether or not you earn an income. In contrast, with Malengo’s income share agreements, you only make financial contributions to future Malengo scholars if you have a job and a sufficiently high income. If you don’t have a high enough income for whatever reason – for example, if you pursue further studies, or move back to Uganda and take a job with a salary below the threshold – you are not expected to make contributions.
- What are the conditions of the income share agreement for Malengo Scholars?
If your application is successful, you will receive an offer that includes an income share agreement. The specific conditions for the 2024 cohort have not been determined. For the 2023 cohort, the conditions stipulated that students make financial contributions if they have a job with a salary above EUR 27,000 per year. This threshold is the same regardless of where in the world they live. How much they contribute depends on where they live: If they live in Germany or another high- or upper-middle income country, and their yearly income exceeds EUR 27,000, they contribute 14% of their pre-tax income for a period of up to 10 years (but never more than a maximum lifetime repayment of EUR 56,220). If they return to live in Uganda or another low- or lower-middle income country, and their yearly income exceeds EUR 27,000, they contribute 7% of their pre-tax income for a period of up to 5 years (and again never more than the lifetime maximum). All of these amounts are adjusted for inflation on an ongoing basis.
The specific conditions for the 2024 cohort will be communicated to successful candidates in their offers.
- What if I don’t have an income after I graduate?
The income share agreement means that you only make contributions back to Malengo if you have a sufficiently high income. In the 2023 cohort, students only make contributions once they earn more than EUR 27,000 per year. If they do not have an income, or have a lower income, they do not make any contributions. The threshold for 2024 will be communicated to successful applicants with their offer.
Support for Malengo Scholars: What other support will I receive if I’m chosen to be a Malengo Scholar?
- What non-financial support will I receive if I am accepted into the program to get accepted to university and prepare for going to Germany?
Once accepted, we will help the whole Malengo cohort choose suitable Bachelor’s programs at German universities and apply for them. We will help you prepare for the IELTS English test, gather all necessary documentation for your applications, including getting a passport if you don’t have one. Once you have been admitted, we will help you obtain a student visa at the German Embassy in Kampala. After you have received your visa, we will help you register for health insurance in Germany, look for housing in Germany, and set up travel to get there. You will participate in a pre-departure workshop in Kampala and will receive training and onboarding about what to expect and do once you get to Germany. You will travel to Germany to commence your studies in September and October.
- What support will I receive as a Malengo Scholar when I am in Germany?
Before you leave for Germany, you will be matched with a mentor through Malengo’s mentorship program. The mentor will be your support person throughout your first year in Germany, and help you with any questions and issues, such as how to open a bank account, where to go shopping, how to find friends, how to prepare for exams, and many more things. Other Malengo staff are also available to help you with any questions if necessary.
- What if I want to change my Bachelors program while I am in Germany?
Changing your Bachelors program while in Germany is possible. We will work with you to make it possible if you decide to take this step. Regardless of your change in program, you will still receive funding from Malengo until the end of your first year in Germany.
- Do I have to return to Uganda after I finish my degree?
Malengo does not have rules or expectations about what you do after you finish your degree. We will support you as best we can in whatever you decide to do. This might include continuing to further studies; finding a job in Germany; returning to Uganda; or moving to a third country.
- I applied last year and was not successful. Can I apply again this year?
Yes! As long as you still fulfill the eligibility criteria.
- Do you provide funding for studies in other countries than Germany?
No, but we are planning on expanding to other countries in the future.
- Do you provide funding for programs other than Bachelor’s programs?
- Where can I ask questions?
If you have questions about your application, you can email us at [email protected] or WhatsApp us at +256 775085112 . Given the large number of requests, we may not be able to answer all inquiries.