Over one million overseas students study in USA every year. The high quality of the education, cutting-edge research facilities, focused degree programs available only in United States, rich extracurricular options, and diverse student body – all add to the irresistible appeal.
However, the USA is also one of the countries with the highest costs of a college education. Moreover, many colleges have two sets of prices – for local students, and for out-of-state students, the latter often several times higher. This makes tuition costs even harder to meet. No wonder only two-thirds of the international students are able to cover their education with personal or family finances. The rest should rely on international student scholarships to cover a varying degree of their expenses – from a fraction of tuition costs to full college expenses including room, board, and allowance.
How to get scholarships for international students? The short answer – know your strengths and apply accordingly. There is a plethora of options: based on academic excellence, creativity, particular talents, identity, unique interests, or life circumstances. Maybe somewhere out there a scholarship exists created specifically with someone like you in mind!
List of Scholarships For Foreign Students
If you want to enter a college in USA right after finishing high school, you should look for a private scholarship for foreign students. Private scholarships are awarded by individuals, and therefore are more diverse and give you more opportunity. Some of the grant donors might come from an immigrant background and be willing to support promising young people from their home country. Others have particular research programs in mind and hunt global talent regardless of the country.
However, more options are available for students who have already shown their talent and hard work, so if you want to study in the USA, maybe the better option would be to enter one of your local universities and look for exchange programs or post-graduate research grants.
Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme
Who awards: Aga Khan Foundation
Amount: $50,000 (50% grant, 50% loan)
Application period: January 1 – March 31 each year
Qualifications: Eligible are students from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar and Mozambique with a consistent record of academic excellence, admission to a highly reputable university, relevance to AKDN focus areas, and genuine financial need. Applicants should be prepared for the interviewed by local Scholarship Committees about their financial situation, academic performance, extra-curricular achievements, and career plans. Preference is given to students under 30.
Fulbright Foreign Student Program
Who awards: Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or U.S. Embassies
Amount: Tuition, airfare, stipend, and health insurance
Application period: The application cycle opens approximately 15 months before the anticipated start of the grant, the deadline being 11 to 12 months before the grant’s start date. For most programs, application campaign is from January to May.
Qualifications: Graduate students, young professionals, artists from 155 countries around the world, additional requirements depend on the applicant’s country of origin.
More information: https://foreign.fulbrightonline.org/applicants
The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program
Who awards: U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education
Amount: full tuition, stipend, medical insurance, fees, air travel, book allowance, computer subsidy, English language training, professional development allowance (field trips, conference fees, etc.)
Application period: varies by country, Embassies and Commissions must submit their nominations to the Institute of International Education office in Washington, DC by October 1.
Qualifications: applicants from 26 countries participating in the program, undergraduate students with a minimum of five years of full-time professional experience, demonstrating leadership qualities, and English language ability. Should have a record of public service in their community and limited or no prior experience in the USA. Successful candidates will be assigned in diverse groups of 7-15 to the most appropriate host institution based on their area of interest and professional field.
More information: https://www.humphreyfellowship.org/participating-countries-region
Rotary Peace Fellowships
Who awards: Rotary International
Amount: 130 fully funded fellowship
Application period: the 2022-23 application will be available in February 2021.
Qualifications: Dedicated leaders from around the world with at least three to five years of related full-time work or volunteering experience. Accepted candidates will study peace and development issues for 15 to 24 months, including two- to three- month field study, which they design themselves.
More information: https://www.rotary.org/en/our-programs/peace-fellowships
New York University's Global EMPA Program Pentland-Churchill Scholarship
Who awards: International Churchill Society
Amount: full tuition and stipend (2 awarded each year)
Application period: January 1 – May 1 every year
Qualifications: Students with genuine financial need, social awareness, history of academic excellence, seven years of management-related experience from Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. The scholarship is awarded towards pursuing the one-year, Executive MPA for Global Policy Leaders.
Forward Pathway Scholarship
Who awards: Forward Pathway LLC
Amount: $1,000 (2 awarded each year)
Application periods: January 1 – June 1 each year for the next Fall semester, June 1 – October 1 for the next Spring semester
Qualifications: International Chinese undergraduate students enrolled full-time at accredited two or four-year colleges, universities, vocational or technical schools in the United States. Successful candidates will have a GPA above 3.0 and submit a 500-word essay answering one of the following questions:
- What great academic achievements have you made that outperform other candidates?
- What are you going to do with this scholarship (start your own business, entertainment, register for exams for further education, etc.)?
More information: https://www.forwardpathway.com/scholarship
AAUW International Fellowship
Who awards: American Association of University Women
Application period: August 1 – November 15
Qualifications: Female international graduate students (not U.S. citizens or permanent residents) who have completed coursework equivalent to U.S. bachelor’s degree. The selection process takes into account academic achievement and commitment to women’s and girl’s education and rights. Recipients return to their home countries to become leaders in academia, activism, business, government, and science.
International University of Leadership Education Scholarship
Who awards: International University of Leadership
Amount: full tuition for 1 year
Application period: until July 15th for Fall Entry, until December 15th for Spring entry (each year)
Qualifications: International students or U.S. residents, currently enrolled in Bachelor or Master of Business Administration program, showing genuine financial hardship (income statements from employer or unemployment letter should be provided as proof).
More information: https://www.iulf.education/scholarships/
Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship
Who awards: Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
Amount: $1,000 – $10,000
Application period: 2021-2022 Application period September 14, 2020 to February 1, 2021
Qualifications: Students enrolled full-time at an accredited four-year college or university, with major or minor in accounting, business administration, finance or criminal justice, demonstrating desire to pursue a career in fraud examination.
More information: https://www.acfe.com/scholarship.aspx
Kopfler & Hermann 2020 Overcoming Adversity Scholarship
Who awards: Kopfler & Hermann, personal injury attorneys
Application period: until November 30, 2020
Qualifications: Students enrolled in college, graduate school, or holders of GED about to attend college, showing good academic standing with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants will submit a 500-1000 word essay describing overcoming adversity, outlining a specific roadblock through which they fought and became successful in their individual endeavors.
More information: https://kopflerhermann.com/2020-overcoming-adversity-scholarship/
How to Apply For Scholarship For International Students
It is hard to draw one line under the variety of options available. Usually, organizations, funds, and universities that offer scholarships have a unique set of requirements for applicants concerning their eligibility and materials they need to submit. However, here are the areas to focus while your research your scholarship options:
1. Academic level/Field of study
Some scholarships have flexible requirements, while others are aimed specifically at undergraduate or graduate students, or students who intend to pursue masters in a particular field. Consider this to narrow down your search.
2. Your current school
Many universities globally, both governmental and private, collaborate with American schools and offer their students unique terms enabling them to study in the US. Contact your school’s center for global engagement to learn which options are available for you.
3. Application dates
Keep in mind that college scholarships for international students are awarded at a different time compared to domestic scholarships. The application calls usually start in January and continue into early spring. Scholarships are awarded in June and July and are available only for the academic year after next. That means, that this year’s campaign that was running January to March 2020 awarded their candidates with scholarships for 2021-2022 academic year.
Of course, each fund has its own timeframe, but you still must gather all your planning skills and patience – and keep applying.
4. Your English writing skills
If scholarships have anything in common it’s the amount of paperwork. You will have to complete forms, submit letters of recommendation, statements of purpose, and topical essays where you will have to get your message across using limited word count. All this requires a high level of language proficiency.
If your skills aren’t as polished as you wish them to be, consider getting a scholarship essay writing help from WowEssays. We are a US company that helped hundreds of international students to get closer to their dreams. We know what admission officers are looking for and how to bring forward all the unique strengths of the candidate in a perfectly tailored text.
Can International Student Get Full Scholarship?
As a rule, the bigger the scholarship, the stricter the selection process. Essay competitions are the easiest ones to apply to, but the sums awarded usually range somewhere between $500 and $1,500.
However, often students looking for financial aid to study in the US have in mind so-called full-ride scholarships, that not only cover the tuition costs in full, but also room and board, travel expenses, books, meals, fees, etc. These are awarded much rarer and competition for them is the stiffest. However, full scholarships for international students in USA are available for talented and motivated high-achievers. Usually, to apply for them you will have to prove your eligibility with the following:
- High test scores/consistent records of academic excellence (grades)
- Letters of recommendation that highlight your personality
- Outstanding personal essay
- A unique set of skills and interests (volunteering experience, leaderships, or any other relevant to the scholarship)
Note that grades are usually specified in the scholarship description. Some indicate the desired GPA, while others look for a particular class rank (for example, being in the top 3% of your class). Either way, your achievements must be outstanding, because only about 0.2% of students in the USA get a full-ride scholarship – and only a fraction of that number are international students.