Higher education today puts an increasing emphasis on experiential learning activities, such as field trips, internships, study tours, overseas service learning and exchange programmes. However, these cost money. Despite HKSAR Government provides financial assistance to cover tuition and basic expenses of tertiary education through the Tertiary Student Finance Scheme (TSFS) of Student Finance Office, Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency, it does not help cover the aforementioned learning activities and thus place some students at a disadvantage.
HKU believes that no students should be deprived of good education due to financial constraints. It tries to address the issue and shows its commitment to the promotion of equal learning opportunities among students despite their family backgrounds by providing financial support to those who are the first generation in their families to attend university to take part in different extra-curricular activities. The First-in-the-Family Education (FIFE) Fund was launched in April 2008 to meet this aim.
The FIFE Scheme won the Overall Grand Gold medal and a Gold medal in the Fundraising Programmes Category of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Awards 2009.