Lalith Athulathmudali Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund was established by the “LALITH ATHULATHMUDALI MAHAPOLA HIGHER EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP TRUST FUND Act no.66 of 1981, with the objective of providing financial assistance by awarding Scholarships for the unprivileged youth to obtain higher education and to create equal opportunities for higher education through improvement of facilities.

In terms of section 3 of the Act, the activities of fund are performed by a Board of Trustees, and the Chairmanship of Board of Trustees is held by the Chief Justice. The Board of Trustees are represented by six members including a Chairman and the minister-in-charge of the subject of Higher Education as the ex-officio founder trustee, the Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Secretary of Education and two trustees appointed by the Minister-in-charge of the subject Higher Education are the other trustees.

Late Hon. Lalith Athulathmudali founded the concept of “Mahapola” in 1980 when he was the Minister of Trade and Naval Affairs. The Mahapola Scholarship was first awarded in 1981 with 422 scholarships and scholarships are also awarded limited student who apply on merit basis as per their G.C.E (A/L) results. The students who secures high marks at the examination are also awarded considering incomes of family.Amoung the annual number of Mahapola Scholarships, 10% are merit based while 90% have been allocated for general scholarship.Rs.5000/- paid for ordinary scholarship and Rs.5,050/- is paid for merit scholarship. 50% of the cost is born by the Government.