Published: 17th June 2022
JN Tata Endowment loan scholarship programme: Helping students pursue their higher education since 1892
In the year 2021-2022 alone, the endowment received 1,652 applications. Let's look at how it continues to support students and their higher education dreams
KR Narayanan, Former President of India; Dr Jivraj Mehta, Former Chief Minister of Gujarat; Nowrosjee Wadia, Judge of the Bombay High Court and VT Dehejia, former Chairman, State Bank of India. These distinguished names have one thing in common, apart from the success that they have been enabled to see in their life. The common thread is JN Tata Endowment, a loan scholarship that enables Indians to pursue higher education.
This endowment ensures that no monetary restraints bind the higher education dreams of any Indian, this is the reason the Founder of the Tata Group Jamsetjee Nusserwanji Tata launched it over a century back.
Mind you, it's an endowment, with and not a scholarship and for very good reason. TJ Ravishankar, Director, JN Tata Endowment tells us all about this and more.
Can you tell us about the journey of the programme?
Established by Jamsetjee Nusserwanji Tata, Founder of the Tata Group in 1892, the endowment has awarded more than 5,500 scholars in diverse fields covering more than 829 subjects and branches of specialisation in its 129-year journey. The endowment only supports overseas studies — master’s, PhD and postdoctoral fellowships, in all educational streams. Based only on merit, the JNT Endowment seeks to reward the best and most gifted so as to make them of the greatest service to the country.
The JN Tata Scholarship is considered to be a hallmark of merit, and it is internationally recognised as a prestigious scholarship.
What was the motivation to start the programme and how do you see its future unfold?
JN Tata greatly valued education and the advantages it brought. Having had the opportunity to learn, and having seen its results, JN Tata was determined to do all that he could to offer those advantages to others.
In 1892, he wanted Indians to be able to compete for Indian Civil Services. To instil the spirit of self-sufficiency, Jamsetjee insisted that the scholarships would be in the form of loans. Despite being able to give the money as a grant, he preferred to lend to ingrain the power of self-reliance and self-respect. From the beginning, scholars would repay their loans as soon as they would begin to earn an income with the knowledge that this money itself would go toward supporting another deserving, talented Indian’s education abroad.
The vision for the endowment remains unchanged. It is the hope of the organisation that we can continue to support individuals of great potential, who will work to build our nation, for centuries to come.
Given that it dates back to 1892, how have you brought in modifications to the programme?
As mentioned before, the JNT Endowment is a unique institution with an unchanged mandate — the higher education of Indians. What has changed over the years is the subjects and the number of students. Since 2016, the endowment has been following a completely online selection process, including the use of technology to conduct interviews.
As a part of a rigorous process, an initial shortlist based on defined criteria leads to candidates who take an online test modelled on the lines of Thinking Skills Assessment. From here, candidates are shortlisted for a technical interview conducted by the Director of the Endowment and a subject expert. The endowment has subject experts drawn from the most prestigious institutions such as IIT, TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research), and others, including faculty from universities overseas. The endowment has also brought in former JN Tata scholars as subject experts.
What academic requirements are typically required?
The academic eligibility criteria to apply to the JN Tata Endowment loan scholarship rests on graduation from a recognised Indian university with at least 60% marks on average in either undergraduate or postgraduate levels.
What other help do the students get other than networking opportunities?
Candidates who are awarded the JN Tata loan scholarship receive two other benefits — partial travel assistance and a gift scholarship from our allied trusts. This is decided at the sole discretion of the trustees of the concerned trusts. The Gift Scholarship is based on their academic performance in the course for which they have been awarded the loan scholarship.
The endowment has begun a monthly newsletter called JNTE FAB which publishes scholars' success stories and their achievements, as a way of building a community of scholars.
The endowment has also created subject-specific communities to encourage JN Tata scholars to interact with one another and share their views and ideas to create their own professional networks.
Over the years has the loan amount seen an increase? If yes, then how much?
Loan scholarship enhanced from Rs 2,70,000/- to Rs 4,00,000/- in 2009, to Rs 6,00,000/- in 2015 and to Rs 10,00,000/- in 2017.
Can an individual apply for the scholarship before being accepted into a university?
Candidates may apply even if they do not have the admission/offer letters at the time of making the application, from the universities to which they have applied for the academic year. However, they must update their application status with the endowment once they secured admission by sending an appropriate email.
When does the next cycle begin and what is the state/response of the current cycle?
The next cycle will be starting in December 2022. The endowment has received approximately 1,500 application forms in the current cycle.
Facts and figures
Streams that the scholars have chosen from 2012 to 2021
- Applied Sciences: 611
- Social Sciences: 126
- Each in Pure Sciences, Art and Architecture: 90
- Management Studies: 79
- Law: 60
Master's: 993 scholars, 116 scholars from 2021-2022
PhD: 90 scholars, 16 scholars from 2021-2022
Post-doctoral fellowships and Post-diploma/certificate course: 17 scholars
State-wise distribution of awardees
- Uttar Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
- West Bengal
Countries scholars chose the most
- The USA
- The UK
- The Netherlands