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Student-Athlete Learning Support and Admission Scheme (SALSA Scheme)

General information

Q1 What is the SALSA Scheme?

A1 The SALSA Scheme will facilitate the admission of outstanding Hong Kong athletes to the UGC-funded universities. Providing focused, multi-pronged and personalised learning support to the athletes, the universities will introduce direct admission schemes or streamline existing admission channels targeted for prospective students with remarkable achievements in sports. The UGC will allocate additional funding to the universities for offering personalised support to student-athletes at central and individual levels, such as the appointment of Student-Athlete Support Coordinators for one-stop guidance and support from admission to graduation, as well as additional personal teaching assistants to enhance academic support for student-athletes at the individual level.


Q2 How much will each university receive as funding support under the SALSA Scheme?

A2 The UGC has earmarked $100 million for allocation to UGC-funded universities under the SALSA Scheme in the 2022/23 to 24/25 triennium (the 2022-25 triennium). Funding is provided to universities in the form of (i) Central Support Grant of $1 million for each university per academic year (AY); and (ii) Individual Support Grant at a rate of $150,000 per student-athlete, with exact amount to be disbursed to each university based on the actual enrolment number of student-athletes in active study for undergraduate programmes in each AY.


Q3 What is the estimated number of student athletes who will be benefited under the SALSA Scheme?

A3 The SALSA Scheme will benefit both existing student-athletes and those to be admitted beginning from the 2022/23 AY. Based on the information provided by the eight UGC-funded universities, there are currently around 120 qualified student-athletes studying undergraduate programmes and we expect the number of beneficiaries to rise as a result of introduction of direct admission schemes by the universities.


Direct Admission of Student Athletes

Q4 For student-athletes who are interested in the direct admission schemes, should they apply to the UGC or if there is a central application arrangement?

A4 The UGC-funded universities have their own direct admission schemes. Student-athletes should make application direct to individual universities.


Q5 Where can interested student-athletes find the information on admission arrangements of individual universities? What are the contact points of universities for enquiries?

A5 The eight UGC-funded universities have their own direct admission schemes for prospective student-athletes with details and contact information available on their websites. Hyperlinks to their respective websites can be found here.


Q6 Is there any minimum entrance requirement for admission of student-athletes under the SALSA Scheme?

A6 The UGC encourages all the UGC-funded universities to consider applications from any athletes who are eligible to represent Hong Kong in regional or international competitions. In the spirit of institutional autonomy, universities can exercise maximum flexibilities while seeking to benefit as many outstanding athletes as possible. There is no minimum academic or age requirement of student-athletes for applying for direct admission under the SALSA Scheme. The minimum entrance requirement for undergraduate applications (i.e. "3-3-2-2" or "3-3-2-A" in future) as well as any additional departmental level expectation, should be waived under the direct admission scheme. Universities are also welcome to favourably consider applications from outstanding retired athletes in recognition of their achievements. Self-nominations may also be considered.


Q7 Does the UGC require universities to follow any specific application procedures or selection criteria under the SALSA Scheme?

A7 The UGC fully respects the institutional autonomy of universities in selecting students for admission. Nonetheless, we have laid down our expectation on the broad framework of admission arrangements, namely admission should be talent-based through assessing the suitability of an applicant based on the talents of the applicant in sports, supplemented by consideration against the interests, future plans and commitment to complete the academic studies by the applicant. Admission decisions should not be based on academic performance. Universities should also preferably offer a wider range of suitable undergraduate programmes with reference to the range of study paths chosen by admitted student-athletes currently, especially subjects related to sports and healthy living, education, business and social science disciplines. In addition, the direct admission scheme should not be constrained by the number or amount of scholarship available, though universities are welcome to offer scholarships to successful applicants with external funding. All UGC-funded universities may draw up the details of their own direct admission schemes including application procedures, selection criteria and result announcement arrangements.


Q8 Does the applicant need to withdraw from study if he/she is a current S6 student in order to be eligible for the SALSA Scheme?

A8 Prospective S6 students may continue to pursue their studies and sit for public examinations while applying for direct admission to undergraduate programmes under the SALSA Scheme.


Q9 If the athlete is a current JUPAS applicant, can he/she apply for direct admission to the university under the SALSA Scheme? Does the applicant need to withdraw from JUPAS?

A9 Prospective S6 students applying for entry into undergraduate programmes under JUPAS may concurrently apply for direct admission under the SALSA Scheme. However, once he/she has accepted an offer made by any UGC-funded university under the direct admission scheme, he/she must withdraw his/her JUPAS application.


Q10 If the athlete has acquired a local sub-degree qualification, can he/she apply for direct admission to the Senior Year of undergraduate programmes in universities under the SALSA Scheme?

A10 Universities have their own flexibility to allow applicants possessing sub-degree qualifications to apply for admission to their undergraduate programmes as senior year intakes under their direct application schemes.


Q11 If an athlete possesses a Bachelor's degree, is he/she eligible for direct admission under the SALSA Scheme? Besides, will he/she be counted for disbursement of Individual Support Grant (ISG)?

A11 Admission of students is within the institutional autonomy of the universities concerned. Universities thus have their own flexibility to decide whether applicants possessing a Bachelor's degree should be eligible to apply for admission under their direct application schemes. Nevertheless, as the SALSA Scheme focuses on helping student-athletes in pursuing their first degree at undergraduate level, he/she will not be counted for disbursement of ISG.


Q12 Will the UGC offer any assistance in case of rejection of application?

A12 In the spirit of the institutional autonomy of universities, the UGC will respect individual university's final decision on selecting students for admission.


Learning Support

Q13 What kind of learning support will be provided for student-athletes under the SALSA Scheme?

A13 On learning support, UGC-funded universities are encouraged to provide personalised support at central and individual levels to student-athletes. Universities are invited to designate a Student-Athlete Support Coordinator, who will be the focal point for providing guidance and support from admission to graduation at central level.

At individual level, universities will be granted with "Individual Support Grant" at a rate of $150,000 per serving student-athlete in active study per AY, which is primarily for supporting the recruitment of personalised teaching assistants who will be performing the role of "buddies" of the student-athletes to support their academic studies amidst competing priorities for training or competition.


Q14 Should student-athletes apply to the UGC Secretariat for the "Individual Support Grant"?

A14 No. "Individual Support Grant" is allocated to universities based on the number of qualified student-athlete in active study for undergraduate programmes in each AY directly, not to the student-athletes. Universities should then make use of the funding in appropriate manner for the direct benefit of the student-athletes.


Q15 What are the criteria for the "Individual Support Grant"?

A15 "Individual Support Grant" will be disbursed to university for each student-athlete satisfying the following criteria:

  1. The student-athlete in active study is a senior current elite athlete:
    1. nominated for admission by Hong Kong Sports Institute; or
    2. of a recognised National Sports Association and has achieved Elite Vote (EV) Point 3 or above according to the EV Level of Elite Athletes. Results of junior championships will not be considered; and
  2. The student-athlete is eligible to represent Hong Kong in competitions that are sanctioned by the respective international federation.

Self-nominated student-athletes are also eligible for "Individual Support Grant" if criteria 1(ii) and 2 above are met.


Q16 Are student-athletes allowed to extend their study period?

A16 Universities would have full flexibility to extend student-athletes' study periods beyond the normative study period of the programme concerned such that they could focus on their training and participation in competition outside Hong Kong if needed. We would like to take the opportunity to reiterate that, all along, universities are not penalised for admitting student-athletes who do not meet the minimum entrance requirements, or for having student-athletes who cannot complete their studies within the normative study period of the programme concerned.



Q17 Is there any information or figures on the SALSA Scheme available for the public?

A17 To enhance transparency, the number of students with non-academic talents admitted to UGC-funded undergraduate programmes of each university through direct admission schemes will also be published on an annual basis.