Frequently Asked Questions: Uganda–Germany Program

Candidate Overview: What do we look for in a Malengo Scholar?

  • Who can apply to Malengo?
    Any young person resident in Uganda who meets the following eligibility criteria: (1) they have a UCE certificate and are sitting for their UACE in 2022, OR (2) they have a UACE certificate or pass slip obtained in 2017 or later, AND (3) they obtained or will obtain their UACE in an eligible district. The UACE certificate must show at least two principal passes. Better grades improve your chances of being accepted. You do not have to be a Ugandan citizen.

    You must have either an ID Card, a passport or a NIRA letter stating your NIN.

  • 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:
    1. You are academically qualified, which includes good grades and UCE/UACE scores.
    2. You are financially deserving, which means that you would not otherwise be able to afford studying at a German university.
    3. 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.
    4. You have persistence and a strong work ethic. You have overcome challenges in your life and will work hard to achieve your goals.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

  • Do I have better chances if I select a specific program of study?
    No. We treat all eligible Bachelor’s programs equally. During the application we will ask you about your motivation for the particular programs you want to study. For this reason you should select degree programs that you are qualified for and passionate about.

  • I obtained my UACE in 2015 or earlier. Can I still apply?
    No, unfortunately you are not eligible to apply to Malengo.

  • 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 2022 can apply. Candidates who are admitted before UACE results are released are admitted contingent upon receiving good UACE scores.

Application Process: How and when do I apply to be a Malengo Scholar?

  • What are the deadlines to apply to be a Malengo Scholar?
    The first priority deadline is November 23, 2022. If you apply by this deadline, you have the best chance of being admitted. The earlier you apply, the better, as we will review applications on a rolling basis.

    The second priority deadline is December 15, 2022. This deadline is primarily intended for those who sit for UACE exams in 2022 and may therefore not have time to apply by the first deadline. However, ALL applications received by this second deadline will be considered.

    In exceptional cases, we may review applications received after December 15, but in this case extenuating circumstances have to be explained and approved. 
    We will not review incomplete applications. If sections are missing or incomplete (e.g. your essays do not meet the word count), your application will be rejected. 

  • Where do I apply to be a Malengo Scholar?
    You can apply at www.students.malengo.org
    The portal opens on October 28, 2022. 
    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.

  • How do I activate the account?
    The candidate must first register at the student portal with your given full name, email address and a password. Make sure to key in the correct email and to remember your password as you will need it to log in at a later step! You will then receive an email with a link to activate your Malengo account. You must click on the link in order to activate that account. This will forward you to the student portal where your account would have been activated. Log in with the email and the password you used to register. The final step is to start the application.

  • What are the identification/ID requirements?
    You can submit an application with either
    – a Ugandan National ID Card,
    – a Ugandan passport, or
    – a verified letter from NIRA with your NIN number (as seen in the picture below). The NIN number must be visible on those documents.
    No other documents may serve as an identification

  • What information will I need to provide to apply to be a Malengo Scholar?
    The application portal will take you through a series of questions and documents to upload which you can see on www.students.malengo.org starting on October 28. You will be asked for  i) your academic qualifications (grades, UCE scores, and UACE if available); ii) personal details that include how to reach you and your background; iii) information about your income and assets to determine financial eligibility (this will later be verified); iv) essay questions about what we look for in a Malengo Scholar (see question in first FAQ section); and v) references from teachers or others who can speak to your  academic and personal qualifications.

  • What is an academic reference letter, what do they need to share about me, and who can I ask to write one?
    We require one academic reference letter from someone who knows your academic qualifications. This should be a teacher who has taught you, or an academic advisor, or a headmaster who can speak to your academic experiences. The letter should discuss how well you have dedicated yourself to your studies and your performance in school and on academic tests. After they write the letter, they should give it to you so you can upload it as part of your application. We will contact them directly based on contact information you provide to confirm that they wrote the letter.

  • What is a character reference, what do they need to share about me and who can I ask?
    We also highly recommend you submit a character reference. A character reference focuses on your non-academic personal qualities, such as i) personal and academic integrity and honesty; ii) persistence and work ethic; iii) contribution to community; and iv) your motivation to be a Malengo scholar. A character reference is optional; you do not need to submit one. However, it will help build our understanding of your qualifications. Your character reference can be written by anyone who knows you well, including a community or religious leader, someone who has taught you at school or in an extracurricular activity, e.g. a coach. It cannot be a family member, or someone you are in a romantic relationship with. Your character reference may be submitted as a video, or as a written letter which you upload as part of your application. We will ask for the contact information of your character reference to confirm that they approve the reference.

  • What are you looking for in the essays, and how do I submit those?
    We ask for five short written or video essays to help us get to know you. The essays focus on personal integrity and honesty, persistence and work ethic, contribution to community, and motivation to be a Malengo scholar.
    For some essays, you can choose between uploading a video (max. 3 minutes) and a written essay (200–500 words). Other essays must be written (200–500 words).

    Please take care to stay within the word and time limits, to answer the questions directly, and to proof-read your answers to make sure they have no errors. In line with our value of personal and academic integrity and honesty, please be sure that you alone are the originator of these essays. If we find that you have copied, plagiarized, or had someone else write these responses, you will be automatically disqualified from the program.

  • How do I know my application has been submitted?
    Once you press ‘Submit’, your application should enter our system. Do not worry if you don’t see a submission page after. You will receive an email to the email address that you provided during your application. This email will state that you have successfully submitted your application. Kindly check your Spam folder in case you are not able to see the email in your Inbox

Selections Process: What can I expect once I submit my application?

  • What happens after I submit my application?
    We will review applications as we receive them, so applying early gives you the best chance of admission. Some candidates will be interviewed (either in person or virtually). If you are chosen for an interview, you will receive specific instructions on what to expect. It is important that you respond immediately to interview scheduling requests. Please make sure to check your emails regularly (at least once per day) and look into the spam folder to make sure that you don’t miss it.

  • When will I hear whether I am selected for the program?
    We anticipate sending out official offer letters to admitted students by end of February 2023.

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 TOEFL test, flights, semester fees in the first semester, and your first-year living expenses (about EUR 12,000). 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?
    The income share agreement we offer stipulates that you make financial contributions if you have a job with a salary above EUR 27,000 per year. This threshold is the same regardless of where in the world you live.
    How much you contribute depends on where you live: If you live in Germany or another high- or upper-middle income country, and your yearly income exceeds EUR 27,000, you contribute 18% of your pre-tax income to future Malengo Scholars for a period of up to 10 years, or a maximum repayment of EUR 30,000. If you return to live in Uganda or another low- or lower-middle income country, and your yearly income exceeds EUR 27,000, you contribute 9% of your pre-tax income for a period of up to 5 years, or a maximum of EUR 30,000. Regardless of how high your income is, you never contribute more than EUR 30,000. (All of these amounts will be adjusted for inflation on an ongoing basis.)

  • What if I don’t have an income after I graduate?
    The income share agreement means that you only make contributions to future Malengo Scholars if you have a job and a sufficiently high income. Currently you only make contributions if you earn more than EUR 27,000 per year. If you do not have an income, or have a lower income, you do not make any contributions.

Support for Malengo Scholars: What kinds of other support will I receive if I’m chosen to be a Malengo Scholar?

  • What kinds of 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 TOEFL 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. We anticipate sending students to Germany in September 2023.

  • What kinds of 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 started studying and don’t like the Bachelor program I chose and want to change it?
    Changing your studies while in Germany is possible but somewhat complicated because your visa is tied to the program you choose at the beginning. Because Malengo wants you to finish your studies in an area that you will want to work in, we accept if you want to change your program, however you will need to make the change with assistance and approval from your university. 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.

Other Questions:

  • 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?
    No.

  • 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.

MALENGO DOES NOT ASK FOR MONEY FROM STUDENTS, REFERENCE PROVIDERS, OR ANYONE ELSE DURING THE APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS.