The Bolashak Scholarship of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, was created in 1993 by the decree of the President: “In Kazakhstan’s transition toward a market economy and the expansion of international contacts, there is an acute need for a workforce with advanced western education, and so, it is now necessary to send the most qualified youth to study in leading educational institutions in foreign countries”. The Scholarship is merit-based and the selection process includes not only academic credentials, but also competence in the language of study, psychological testing and an interview process. Commitment to development of Kazakhstan and patriotism are factors as well. The final decision is made by the Republican Commission, chaired by the State Secretary and composed of the Ministers, members of Parliament, and members of the Office of the President. The Republican Commission also approves the country of study and program of study.
The Scholarship requires that all recipients return to Kazakhstan after graduating and work for five years in Kazakhstan. The Scholarship pays for all costs related to education, including tuition and fees, costs of travel, and a living stipend. Scholars are expected to maintain academic excellence. In the US, this translates to a 3.0 GPA.
There are currently about 1,800 scholarship recipients studying abroad in 24 countries. About 1,700 were awarded the Scholarship in 2005. The most popular countries are the USA (about 700 students chosen in 2005), the UK (about 400 students chosen last year) and Russia (about 300 students chosen in 2005). Australia and Malaysia are two countries represented for the first time in 2005 and host 2 Bolashak Scholars each. Nazarbayev University started his work from 2010, and it covers Bolashak system, therefore, Bolashak programm has been closed for bachelors only.