In Turkey, university placements and the distribution of scholarships for higher education are determined based on students’ performance on the national university exam, where only the top candidates who score within the top 1 percentile are provided financial aid. With limited financial means, university candidates from vulnerable populations are at a distinct disadvantage relative to other students in reflecting their true potential on the nationwide university entrance exam; hence they have less likelihood to be placed in the nations best schools/colleges.
On the other hand, charitable giving for students in need is a strong tradition among philanthropists. The combination of these two considerations triggered the idea of the Anatolian Scholarship Program for highly accomplished students from underprivileged backgrounds, who are not eligible for a full scholarship under the public national scholarship system but who are high achievers and exceptional individuals in all regards.
Designed to offer affordability and provide greater access to high quality education, the Program was launched in 2011 providing scholarships for 14 students with the support of 6 sponsor companies. As of 2019, the number of students benefitting from the program has reached 606 and the number of sponsor companies has exceeded 250. In addition, more than 1000 individual contributors (mostly alumni) support the Program.