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Scholarships for International Students: International Scholarships for International Students

Students who wish to study abroad can apply for international scholarships and various types of scholarships for international student programs. These scholarships can pay for tuition, books, lab equipment, fees and other supplies associated with the study abroad program, and provide students with the funding they need to complete their degree program or other program in their field of study. Some scholarships for international students are awarded based on financial need, while others are granted based on merit.

How International Scholarships Work

Since there is very little financial aid available for international students interested in studying in the United States, many students have to pay for their college education out of pocket. However, there are several organizations and university departments that offer scholarships for international students.

Most scholarships for international students are awarded to students through the international student services department at a college or university. Many schools offer international scholarships based on merit, international excellence and to non-resident students. The requirements for an international scholarship vary by awarding organization, but the majority require students to maintain a certain GPA, live on campus, and to take a full load of classes each semester.

Students applying for an international scholarship may also need to submit their ACT and SAT score as part of their application.

Types of Scholarships for International Students

Scholarships for international students and international scholarships are awarded by several cultural exchange programs, study abroad associations, international education organizations and financial aid offices. Some of the most readily available types of scholarships for international students are available through:

  • University and college international student departments
  • The World Health Organization
  • The League of Red Cross Societies
  • World Council of Churches
  • United Nations

Students interested in applying for an international scholarship can find a number of scholarships online. Many online scholarship databases list hundreds of grants, fellowships and regular scholarships for international students, and some applications can be submitted over the web.

Examples of scholarship opportunities and funding options for students who wish to study abroad include:

  • American Councils for International Education
  • Rotary International
  • AAUW
  • King Faisal Foundation
  • Cornell University Graduate School Fellowship Notebook
  • The Soros Foundation Network
  • International Education Financial Aid (IEFA)

Colleges and Universities Offering Scholarships for International Students

International students attending a college or university full time may be eligible to receive an international scholarship. Only six schools in the United States offer international scholarships and the admissions process can be very competitive.

Colleges and universities that offer international student scholarships include:

  • Princeton University in New Jersey
  • Harvard University in Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Massachusetts
  • Yale University in Connecticut
  • Amherst College in Massachusetts
  • Dartmouth College in New Hampshire

Applying for an International Student Scholarship

Every international student awarding organization has different criteria for their scholarship program, and some offer scholarships that cover the costs for several semesters. Applicants need to complete a formal international scholarship application, maintain a certain GP throughout their educational career, provide proof of enrollment at a college or university, and in some cases, prove that they will be living on campus. Some awarding organizations don't allow the student to apply for an international scholarship if they are already getting funding through other scholarships or are paying for their program with financial aid.

Some international student scholarships are designed solely for undergraduate studies, while others are designed for graduate students. International students may also be eligible to apply for a fellowship program, study abroad training program or grants that pay for research endeavors overseas.

Tips for Getting an International Scholarship

Whether you're applying for undergraduate international student scholarships or other types of scholarships for international students, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of getting the funding you need. Use some of these tips for getting an international scholarship:

  • Start your search early – talk to an admissions advisor or international student advisor at your college or university to learn about different international scholarships available.
  • Submit solid references – many international student scholarship applications require the applicant to provide a list of references. Make sure that the references you provide can speak about your level of responsibility, dedication to completing a study abroad program, and provide some insights on how well you have performed in your academic career to date.
  • Write a professional essay – some international student scholarship applications require you to submit a personal essay or personal statement with your application. Take the time to write a quality essay and have it edited or proofread by a professional so that your application gets noticed and stands apart from other international student scholarship applications.


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