Scholarship Programs

Graduating to a Better Future

Our Impact


Students Awarded Multi-Year Scholarships with Tutoring Support


Scholarships Granted to Disadvantaged Students to Promote School Completion


Students Currently Receiving Four-Year Scholarships for University Study

The Need

Vietnam boasts an impressive 100% enrollment rate for its primary schools. This rate plummets nearly 30% for secondary school enrollment, largely due to the high costs associated with post-elementary school education. School fees and associated expenses, like books, uniforms, and transportation, make it impossible for many students to continue their education, despite their academic abilities.

Students whose families are unable to afford tutoring classes, a standard supplement to formal schooling in Vietnam, often fall far behind their peers who can afford to access extra academic support. As they fall farther behind in their studies, their likelihood of dropping out increases. Even if these students manage to graduate from high school, they often find themselves unprepared for rigorous college entrance exams. Completing high school not only benefits the graduate and his or her family. A better educated workforce strengthens the fabric of society by contributing to reductions in teen pregnancies, decreases in crime, and increased economic development.

Our Approach

Thrive’s SPELL Scholarship program and related scholarship initiatives focus on high school completion, providing comprehensive support to poor students in Vietnam who are at risk of dropping out. SPELL – Scholarship Program to Enhance Literacy and Learning – is a holistic approach that helps the most disadvantaged students from the poorest districts in Vietnam transcend an entrenched cycle of poverty. Students are guaranteed a scholarship until high school graduation, provided they remain in school. SPELL ensures they successfully navigate the transition from middle school to high school, and on through to graduation. A US$1,000 scholarship provides a student the support necessary to earn a high-school degree.

Launched in 2004, the first SPELL initiative has served as the model for other Thrive Educate scholarship initiatives. These include a three-year Global Partnership on Output-based Aid program (GPOBA), the SPELL Goes to College program (SGTC), the two-year IT Education program and SPELL Summer English Program (SSEP). Together, these programs have supported over 14,000 students.

Addressing the Key Challenges

Our Scholarship programs recognize and address the key factors that contribute to school dropout: financial constraints, academic challenges, and lack of parental involvement. The programs address financial constraints by identifying and covering all education-related costs incurred by each student’s family – fees, books, uniforms, transportation, insurance, and in some cases, room and board. Rather than a one-size-fits all approach, our Scholarship programs tailor support to each student’s needs.

Providing Academic Support

To promote academic success, SPELL provides, mandates, and monitors after-school tutoring, so students who are struggling in school can get the academic help they need. Tutoring is a critical intervention for students who have outstripped their parents’ educational attainment, and cannot count on them for help with their studies.

Partnering with Community Organizations

A key factor in the success of the SPELL programs is their close partnership with the community-based Study Promotion Association (SPA), a national volunteer organization active at all levels of society. SPA members are retired government officers, who have worked in the education field and command great respect in their communities, are familiar with local school operations, and know the teachers, families, and students. The organization’s local chapters are deeply involved with program implementation, assisting with student referrals, monitoring academic progress and promoting family involvement.

Equipping Students for the Future

For most SPELL students, formal education is capped by high school graduation, and the prospect of a better job and better life. SPELL students who want to continue their education, and have the academic record and aptitude, can seek a four-year university scholarship through the SPELL Goes to College program, now in its fifth year. Whether they complete high school or college, SPELL students leave the program equipped to support themselves and make a positive contribution to their families and their communities.

Selected Partners & Funders