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2018 Applications Open for the North Korea Freedom Scholarship

On January 16, online applications opened for the 2018 North Korea Freedom Scholarship.

Article by Jeff Kim January 16, 2018 //   4 minute read

On January 16, online applications opened for the 2018 North Korea Freedom Scholarship. The scholarship was established in 2017 by the George W. Bush Institute to assist North Korean escapees who are permanently residing in the United States obtain higher education degrees.  Administered by the Communities Foundation of Texas, the scholarship may be used to support tuition and related costs at any accredited institution of higher learning.  The application period is open through April 1, 2018 and grants will be awarded in June. 

In 2017, the first year of the scholarship, the Bush Institute awarded scholarships to eight North Korean escapees. Below are two thank you letters detailing the impact of the scholarship.  

The scholarship is part of a broader effort by the Bush Institute focused on North Korea to help expose the suffering of the North Korean people and put their stories on the radar of policy makers and opinion leaders. The work has included a call-to-action paper to define a new path forward in improving the human condition in North Korea, as well as original research and opinion polling of North Korean refugees who have resettled in America. 

Leaving North Korea without permission is a crime, and violators and their immediate relatives may face imprisonment or punishment, in light of this some of the recipients have requested to remain anonymous.  

L.K. is studying general education and planning to study either computer science or mechanical engineering. Read more of his story here 

It is a privilege to be one of the scholarship recipients. I am so grateful to President George W. Bush Center and the Communities Foundation of Texas for not only providing the scholarship opportunity but also teaching me the true American values through this opportunity. It provides me a great hope in America and encourages me to study hard for our communities, especially for freedom of North Koreans. The Americans values in terms of education, sympathy, and opportunity changed my perspective on American communities and capitalism. I am grateful to George W. Bush for passing the North Korean Human Rights Act. Without President George W. Bush, I would not be here as a college student.  

Thank You! 


Grace Jo is working toward an associate’s degree in general education and is hoping to transfer to a university and obtain a Bachelor’s in science. Read more of her story here 

As a 2017 recipient of the George W. Bush Presidential Foundation North Korea Freedom Scholarship, I want to say thank you so much for offering this generous scholarship to me. This scholarship will enable me to attend college and take courses toward my degree, a dream that I hope to achieve one day. Having come from North Korea, I never expected to be able to go to college and gain valuable learning that will one day enable me to become a successful professional. Thank you again. 


Grace Jo 

Applications are now open for the 2018 North Korea Freedom Scholarship 

Jeff Kim is a Bush Institute Human Freedom Initiative consultant.