Degrees in America are expensive, but an abundance of scholarships are available to help international students out.
Almost all universities have scholarship programmes, most of which are open to applications from international students – although you may need to take SAT or ACT tests. According to the Fulbright Commission, more than 600 American universities offer scholarships worth $20,000 or more to international students. They are typically assessed on either academic merit, financial need, or extracurricular contribution.
In addition to these, there are a range of scholarships available from private organisations and donors, with a broad range of criteria for eligibility. For instance, there are scholarships to study in Minnesota for the descendants of maimed WWII veterans – and in Illinois for those whose parents have had cancer.
Types of scholarships
University scholarships Most universities will offer some kind of financial aid for international students, so your institution of choice should be your first port of call when considering funding.
Financial scholarships These scholarships are based on the financial need of the students. The majority of these are only available for US residents but some universities will give out needs-based scholarships to international students.
Merit scholarships For students who are either academically gifted, were top sports players in high school or excelled in community or entrepreneurial work.
Country-based scholarships These scholarships are targeted at students from developing countries in particular.
Government-funded scholarships The United States government offers many scholarship programmes for international students, some of which are listed below.
Privately-funded scholarships Sometimes private businesses or donors will fund scholarships for international students. These are also more likely to be targeted at developing countries and minority groups, or in specific areas of study.
Part scholarships - These can range from a small one-off payment the student can use towards their fees or a larger payment that is staggered to cover certain costs of going to university.
Private and government scholarships
The Fulbright Commission offers generous scholarships for UK citizens pursuing postgraduate and doctoral studies. Applicants can study any discipline and if successful will receive at least their first-year fees paid and comprehensive health insurance. Some applicants may be eligible for full tuition fee waivers, full-degree funding or money for extra projects.
The American Association of University Women offer a fellowship for non-American women wanting to take a masters or a doctorate in the US. The association offer several fellowships worth $18,000-$30,000 depending on degree and then once won, the money can be reapplied for year on year. Priority is given to women who can demonstrate commitment to the advancement of women and girls.
The Next Gen Scholarship is offering a $1,000 grant for somebody wishing to study in Maryland, Washington or Virginia. It is open to all international students, including those already studying, but candidates must have at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA).
The P.E.O. International Peace scholarship awards up to $12,500 to international students wanting to study at a graduate level in America.
The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship programme provides a limited number of scholarships each year for outstanding students from selected developing countries to pursue postgraduate study. The scholarships are 50 per cent grant and 50 per cent loan.
The Civil Leadership Awards provide a fully funded master’s degree for students who demonstrate academic and professional excellence.
There are many other scholarships available so it is important to really browse the internet and have a look at what different organisations are offering. There are many scholarships for students wishing to study in certain states or in certain subjects, so it’s also important to check those out.
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Scholarships offered by universities
American University in Washington D.C. offers free tuition and board for one international student for a full four years undergraduate study. Some partial scholarships are also available.
University of Arkansas provides a number of funding opportunities for international students.
Brandeis University pays the “full demonstrated financial need of each recipient” of its international scholarship, including one round-trip air ticket each year.
Berea College is the only school in the United States that provides 100 per cent funding to 100 per cent of enrolled international students for the first year of enrolment. After that, students are expected to save $1,000 per year to contribute to their expenses. The college also provides summer jobs to international students to help meet this target.
Clark University automatically considers applicants for a range of merit-based grants. In addition to this, international students can apply for scholarships from $20,000 to $25,000 per year.
Dartmouth College has scholarships and loans for international students, which includes their travel to the US.
Emory University offers generous financial assistance for international students, however these are linked to applications to study. In other words, it is impossible to get rejected for a scholarship but still be offered a place at the university.
Harvard University has a fellowship for up to six Britons undertaking graduate study or research. Fellows receive free tuition and health insurance, as well as a contribution towards living costs.
Illinois Wesleyan University scholarships are offered to qualified international applicants with outstanding academic achievement and test scores on the entrance exams. These awards range from $10,000 to $25,000 per year and are renewable for up to four years.
Iowa State University offers scholarships from $2,000 to $10,000 per year to international students. Applicants will automatically be considered for the merit-based award.
Michigan State University has a Global Spartan Leadership programme for international undergraduates. Recipients receive $8,000 upon completion of the programme requirements – attendance of various leadership training and cultural events. International students can also write an essay about their experience at the university in order to win a top prize of $1,000.
The University of Minnesota offers grants of $5,000 and $10,000 per year for international students. They also have a range of other scholarships which international students are welcome to apply to.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers tuition waivers to international students that have outstanding academic performance and contribute to extra-curricular activities.
New York University offers Wagner Scholarships to a limited number of students per year and international students are eligible to apply. The scholarships involve partial to full tuition scholarships ranging from $25,000 to $47,000.
The University of Oregon awards 30-40 scholarships to international students each year. The scholarships cover tuition and can range from $7,500 to $30,000 per year. In return, recipients are expected to give presentations about their home country to children, community organisations and staff.
Wesleyan University’s Freeman Asian Scholars Programme provides full tuition scholarships for a four-year course for 11 exceptionally able Asian students at undergraduate level. Additionally the university also offers assistance to about 30 international students.
The University of Wisconsin offers hefty discounts on tuition fees through its Non-Resident Tuition Waiver (NTW) programme for most international students studying on the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus, with annual undergraduate fees being reduced to as little as £6,523-£7,912.
This is by no means a definitive list of the scholarships available in the US for international students, but it is a good place to start. Always check you institution of choice for the aid available for international students.
Please note all costs and conversion rates were correct at the time of publication. These may vary over time.
If you are an international student looking to study in the US, make sure you check out which scholarships are available to you from organisations and universities