Can International Students Get Scholarships?
Many non-U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals may be eligible to receive federal aid. For instance, if you hold a green card, yes you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may also be an eligible non-citizen if you:
- Have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94)
- Hold a T-nonimmigrant status
- Are a “battered immigrant qualified alien”
- Are a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau
It is a good idea to check with your college or career school’s financial aid office though. Most states and colleges rely on the FAFSA to determine whether you are eligible for aid. But each may have their own rules and processes.
Can non-citizens get financial aid for college?
If you don’t meet any of the above criteria, there may be some scholarships and other aid you can get. To figure this out you might:
- Check with your country’s embassy or with a consulate here in the U.S.
- Look for a government office in your country that may offer aid
- Ask the college or career school you plan to attend whether they offer scholarships for international students
How can I get free scholarships to study abroad?
Many students get federal student aid to help pay to study at international schools. This applies to both undergraduate and graduate levels.
There are different types of aid and procedures to follow depending on the kind of program it is. Is it a study abroad or full degree? Your status as an undergrad or grad student also plays a role in the type of aid for which you are eligible.
Study Abroad (one semester or one year)
You may receive federal student aid for a study-abroad program, if you meet the aid eligibility criteria. For this, you’ll need to fill out a FAFSA.
To help you figure these things out, you should contact the financial aid office at the U.S. school you plan to attend. Do so early as there may be paperwork to do in your international school too.
Earn a Degree from an International School
If you want to earn a degree at an international school, you may be able to get federal funding. Some international schools take part in federal aid programs. But, some of these kinds of aid are loans which you have to pay back.
Which countries give scholarships to international students?
Many countries give scholarships to international students. The United States is one. But if you are a U.S. citizen and want to earn your degree abroad, there may be options too.
For instance, you might study in China on Chinese government scholarships. Or, attend a tuition-free public university in Germany. Norway, Australia, Sweden are other countries you might consider.
Look for programs that interest you. Law for example. Then find out how to apply for a scholarship as an international student. One resource to check is the Fulbright Commission. Many countries in the U.K. take part in their programs.
Which U.S. Universities Give Scholarships to International Students?
A wide range of universities in the U.S. award scholarships to international students. Columbia University in New York City is one example. Columbia admits many international students. These are students who apply for and receive a large amount of financial aid.
Here are five schools in America that may extend funding to international students. Or, they may have programs for global scholars. These encourage international experiences. As such, the school may provide funding for related activities abroad while one is a studying in their university.
- American University
- Emory University
- Cornell University
- Brandeis University
- University of California - Berkeley
Why Consider an International Student Scholarship?
About 1,094,792 international students study at U.S. colleges and universities. One report found that these students contributed $39 billion to the U.S. economy. In fact, international students supported more than 455,000 jobs. All during the 2017-2018 academic year.
U.S. institutions offer a wide array of programs with various amounts for tuition and fees. Many offer international student scholarships. Or extend in-state tuition benefits, waived application fees and deadlines, and similar provisions.
This can make a big difference if you want to study in the states. Why? American schools often have two price tags for tuition. One for residents of the state you study in. The other for non-residents.
If you are a resident, you pay in-state tuition. But if you are not a resident (or international student) you pay out-of-state tuition. This can be several times more expensive.
For example, let’s look at the average cost of earning a bachelor’s degree. Recent figures show the average cost to attend an in-state school is $8,173. For an out-of-state school is $18,415. An international student scholarship, you may pay costs associated with out-of-state tuition.
Can International Students Get Full Scholarships?
Over 600 US universities offer scholarships worth $20,000 or more to international students. Of these, 250 offers ‘full ride’ scholarships. Full scholarships for international students pay the cost of tuition. Plus, other expenses like fees, meals and housing.
The Rotary Peace Fellowship is one such full-ride scholarship for international students. The scholarship covers tuition, fees, housing and travel costs. Also, things like internship and field study expenses. It is for international graduates who want to pursue a master’s degree in areas related to peace. This includes conflict prevention and resolution.
Need based scholarships for international students
Most often, a school calculates financial need by looking at how much your family can afford. Then subtracting this amount from the cost of attendance (COA).
Many schools fund the full financial need of admitted international students. These schools make 'need-aware' admissions. You may still need to be a strong applicant. But this may mean the school will take care of your full financial need.
Merit based scholarships for international students
Other universities are 'need-blind'. They do not base international students' admissions decision on financial status. Yet few U.S. schools are both 'need-blind' and offer full financial aid.
If a university is only able to meet a part of your financial need, you may be able to source extra funding. Resources might come from merit-based university and external scholarships. True they are more competitive but may still be worth applying to.
Colleges grant merit-based scholarships on the basis of skills, talents, or abilities. Some may use TOEFL scores or grade point average in their criteria. While others may favor artistic, musical, scientific or athletic ability.
Individual academic departments may also have funds set aside to help foreign students. This is why consulting the college or university you want to attend is key. They may be aware of unique opportunities.
How can I apply for an international scholarship?
Applying for an international student scholarship may vary from one school to another. Usually, there is some type of paperwork to complete. As a student from another country, this may be complex.
For one, you may have to brush up on your English writing skills. Many scholarships ask for an essay. Some also give a word count. So, you might have to nail the grammar, editing and get your message across in ‘500’ words or less.
Before you apply, you may also want to understand what your intended school values. It is common that American universities look for (grades, yes) and also character. Things like leadership, volunteer experience, being a good communicator and the like.
Also, keep your finances in mind. Depending on where you study and live, the cost of living (housing, food) varies a lot. Suburban or rural areas generally have lower costs than big cities. Plus, you want to understand the value of your currency. Researching exchange rates may be a useful way to budget for expenses.
Top 11 Scholarships for International Students for 2019
To start your search, here are some upcoming scholarships for international students. Find out how to apply!
- Athletic Scholarships
- College-Specific Scholarships
- Company-Sponsored Scholarships
- Grants for College
- Merit-Based Scholarships
- Minority Scholarships
- Our Scholarships
- Scholarship Contests & Sweepstakes
- Scholarships by Major
- Scholarships by State
- Scholarships by Type
- Scholarships for Graduate Students
- Scholarships for High School Students
- Scholarships for Undergraduate Students
- Weird Scholarships
- $1,500 - I Have a Dream Scholarship
- $10,000 - Unigo $10K Scholarship
- $1,500 - Sweet and Simple Scholarship
- $2,500 - Superpower Scholarship
- $3,000 - All About Education Scholarship
- $1,500 - Fifth Month Scholarship
- $1,500 - Do-Over Scholarship
- $1,500 - Flavor of the Month Scholarship
- $1,500 - Make Me Laugh Scholarship
- $1,500 - Shout It Out Scholarship
- $2,000 - Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship
- $5,000 - Education Matters Scholarship
- $1,500 - Top Ten List Scholarship