ISLAMABAD  – Forty-one students are pursuing advanced degrees at the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University in Rawalpindi, under the need-based scholarships from the US government.Dr Marilyn Wyatt, wife of US Ambassador Cameron Munter, met with the scholarship holder students on Monday to celebrate their academic achievement and discuss their progress, a press release issued by the US Embassy here on Monday said. “Our work together on education is the best possible example of facing a challenge today to build a better world tomorrow,” said Dr Wyatt. “This scholarship programme is an investment that will pay dividends for the students, their employers, and Pakistan for years to come.” The scholarships are a commitment by the US to help boost academic achievement in Pakistan. They are given by the Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Programme of the USAID.According to the press release, since 2004, nearly 1,600 scholarships have been awarded to talented but financially needy students, allowing them to pursue advanced study in agriculture and business administration. Arid Agriculture University is one of 11 institutions of higher education in Pakistan taking part in this scholarship programme, which is administered in cooperation with the Higher Education Commission.Students are selected for the scholarships based on their financial need, after meeting the school’s admission requirements. The programme focuses on students from rural and remote areas in Northern Sindh, Balochistan, Southern Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and FATA. Twenty-five percent of the scholarships are designated for women students. The program is also helping partner universities establish student enrollment and financial aid systems.