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Pathway programs are designed for international students looking to study in the United States, and scholarships can help learners pay for them.

Each year, more than one million international students enroll in U.S. colleges and universities. However, international learners must meet English proficiency requirements to attend college in the United States, which can be a challenge. To help these students, colleges and university offer English-language-specific pathway programs.

During pathway programs, international students study English while learning about their new colleges and universities. However, pathway programs can easily add $10,000 or more to the cost of a college degree.

In this guide, we explore scholarships for international students who want to enroll in pathway programs. These scholarships can help make an American college degree more affordable for international students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can International Students Get Scholarships in the U.S.?

Yes. International students qualify for scholarships and grants to study in the United States. Students can find scholarship opportunities through colleges, professional associations, and government agencies.

How Can an International Student Get a Full Scholarship in the U.S.?

Some schools offer full scholarships for international students who show exceptional academic abilities. Fellowship and grant programs also support international students, as do government programs. For instance, many foreign governments offer scholarships for their citizens to earn degrees in the U.S.

How Can I Find Scholarships for International Students?

International students can start by looking for scholarship opportunities through their prospective schools. A school's financial aid or international student offices can connect students with scholarship opportunities. Private foundations, professional associations, and government agencies also award scholarships for international learners.

Where Should I Look for Full Scholarships for International Students?

Colleges, government agencies, and international foundations can all offer full scholarships for international students. To get started, consider researching opportunities through the Institute of International Education.

What Is a Pathway Program?

A pathway program strengthens English language skills for international students enrolling in U.S. colleges and universities. Typically, colleges set minimum language requirements for international students from non-English-speaking countries. Those applicants must submit scores from language competency tests, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), to demonstrate that they speak English well enough to participate in an English-language academic program.

Pathway programs help students with intermediate English skills advance to the level of proficiency required for college programs. During the program, students complete intensive language courses, as well as academic coursework, study skills classes, and culture courses.

The length of a pathway program depends on the student's language abilities at the beginning of the program. Some universities offer a one-semester pathway program that focuses on strengthening academic-specific English skills. Other programs take a year or more to complete, covering a more comprehensive selection of English skills.

After completing a pathway program, learners can enter U.S. colleges as undergraduate or graduate students. To learn more, visit our page on pathway programs for international students.

What Are Pathway Program Scholarships?

Pathway program scholarships provide financial support for international students enrolling in English-language programs in the U.S. These scholarships help learners build their language skills without taking on student debt. At some colleges and universities, international students can apply scholarship funds toward both their pathway programs and their degrees.

The cost of a pathway program varies by school. At North Carolina State University, for example, pathway program students pay over $5,000 per semester in program fees plus undergraduate tuition. In the 2020-2021 academic year, pathway students paid over $9,000 per semester in tuition and fees. Oregon State University charges $6,000-$11,000 per term for its English language programs.

As a result, international students must budget for their pathway programs, plus tuition costs after completing the program. A pathway program scholarship can cover some or all of these costs.

How Do You Get a Scholarship for International Students?

International students do not qualify for federal financial aid in the U.S. However, international students can still access other forms of financial aid, like scholarships and grants.

Some universities with pathway programs offer scholarships for international students admitted to their programs. University of Montana and Pace University, for instance, both offer merit-based scholarships for international students.

In addition to scholarships offered by U.S. colleges, students may also qualify for full scholarships offered by their governments. However, these forms of financial aid may carry requirements to return home after earning a degree, so be sure to check the requirements in your country.

Professional associations can also fund international students. For example, the AAUW International Fellowship awards $18,000-$30,000 for international students pursuing graduate degrees in the United States. The Institute of International Education also provides resources on grants and scholarships for non-U.S. citizens attending college in the country.

Scholarship requirements vary, depending on the award. For most scholarships, an applicant submits transcripts, test scores, recommendation letters, and a personal statement. Scholarships may also ask for evidence of financial need. Since scholarship deadlines occur throughout the year, international students should create scholarship calendars to help keep track of deadlines.

What Are Examples of Pathway Program Scholarships?

Scholarships for international students in the U.S.A. can help cover the costs of both pathway programs and degrees. These scholarships may require a minimum GPA, evidence of academic promise, or proof of financial need.

You can learn more about pathway programs in the United States or check out the scholarships offered by universities below.

University of Montana

The University of Montana offers an undergraduate pathway program that includes language, academic, and cultural coursework. Each prospective student must submit academic records, a copy of their passport, and English-language proficiency scores. UM sets minimum language scores on tests for pathway admission.

UM offers several scholarships for international students. For example, the International Student Scholarship awards funds to admitted international students seeking a first-time bachelor's degree.

UM also awards the Davidson Honors College Presidential Leadership Scholarship for learners with strong academic records, along with academic department scholarships for exceptional students within specific majors. International students also qualify for intercollegiate athletic scholarships.

Pace University

Pace University offers both an undergraduate and a graduate pathway program for international students. The programs require official transcripts, a personal statement, SAT scores, and language proficiency scores. Admitted students complete 1-3 semesters of English-language coursework to meet proficiency requirements for bachelor's or master's programs.

At Pace, pathway students can receive scholarships to cover the cost of their program. For example, applicants can qualify for merit-based scholarships with proof of academic promise based on grades at the college level. Interested international enrollees can use Pace's merit-based calculator to estimate their potential scholarships. Pace also offers international student loan resources for pathway students.

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