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Application Opens for Bush Institute’s North Korea Freedom Scholarship

Scholarships help North Korean escapees pursue educational opportunities and build new lives in freedom.

Press Release by Sarah Gibbons January 28, 2022

DALLAS—Today, the George W. Bush Institute formally opened applications for the 2022 North Korea Freedom Scholarship, designed to help North Korean escapees take advantage of the opportunities America offers and build productive, prosperous lives as new Americans. 

Applicants are eligible for scholarships up to $15,000. The awards help escapees further their education by attaining a post-secondary degree, attending English-language classes, or completing a vocational program. Scholarships may be used to cover tuition, fees, books, and on-campus housing at any accredited institution of higher learning. 

 “We hope that this scholarship will provide a pathway to a better life as many students and families are dealing with financial hardships brought about by the pandemic,” said Lindsay Lloyd, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of the Human Freedom Initiative at the Bush Institute. “We are proud of the success stories in the North Korean escapee community and excited to continue this program to provide support for their education.

In the past five years, a total of $169,500 has been awarded in 48 scholarships to vocational school, community college, university, and graduate-level students who aspire to lead a variety of careers including as doctors, financial advisors, and United States diplomats. During the pandemic and the subsequent global economic hardship, the Bush Institute increased the total funding available to all awardees to $50,000 from $25,000 for 2020 and 2021 recipients. 

The Bush Institute conducted needs assessment studies on North Korean refugee communities, revealing a trend of self-sufficiency but finding many escapees are in low-paying jobs with little chance for advancement. Research shows many want to improve their opportunities through education but face economic obstacles. The findings led the Bush Institute to work with Korean-American and other community leaders across the country to raise over $350,000 to establish the scholarship in 2017. The scholarship is administered by Communities Foundation of Texas. 

Applicants must be born in North Korea or the child of someone born in North Korea and must permanently reside in the United States as a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or refugee. Previous applicants and recipients are welcome to reapply. The application closes April 15, 2022. 

This effort is part of the Bush Institute’s ongoing work to improve the human condition in North Korea

Interested candidates can learn more and apply on the Communities Foundation of Texas website at https://www.cftexas.org/scholarships/scholarship-opportunities/george-w-bush-presidential-foundation-north-korea.

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About the George W. Bush Institute:

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. Through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and an Engagement Agenda – the Bush Institute delivers measurable results that save and improve lives. To learn more, visit www.bushcenter.org.