Scholarships for International Students

by TBS Staff
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International learners studying in the U.S. can access undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate scholarship opportunities.

As an international student, you may wonder about the available options for studying in the United States. Fortunately, you do not need to be a U.S. citizen to receive financial aid when studying at a U.S. college or university.

Pathway program scholarships allow international degree-seekers to study in the U.S. without presenting TOEFL scores. Learners can also pursue standalone international scholarships at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels.

Read on for our list of popular scholarship programs for international learners looking to study in the U.S.

Scholarships

true $15,000-$30,000 AAUW International Scholarship
Deadline Nov. 15
About

This fellowship awards graduate and postgraduate female students who are committed to improving womens' and girls' welfare in their countries of origin. Recipients return to their home countries to become leaders in education, social justice, and business. Applicants must have attained a bachelor's degree by the time of the application deadline. Recipients can renew the award for a second year.

Eligibility Limitations

Female graduates or postgraduates at accredited institutions who are not citizens or permanent residents

Apply Here
true Varies Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme
Deadline March 31
About

The Aga Khan Foundation offers annual international scholarships for exceptional students from developing nations. The scholarship strongly favors learners who are passionate about joining the Aga Khan Development Network as leaders and educators. The award is 50% scholarship, 50% loan, and it typically prioritizes master's candidates. However, outstanding postgraduate students are also considered.

Eligibility Limitations

Open to nationals from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar, and Mozambique

Apply Here
true Varies Fulbright Foreign Student Program
Deadline Varies
About

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program recognizes graduate students, student artists, and established professionals. Each year, over 4,000 international students receive scholarship money from the Fulbright Foreign Student program, which currently operates in over 160 countries. Eligibility and selection procedures vary by country. However, all applications are processed either by binational Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or U.S. Embassies.

Apply Here
$1,000-$5,000 MPower Global Citizen Scholarship
Deadline July 20
About

MPower Financing offers the Global Citizen Scholarship to three outstanding international students annually. MPower Financing is a public benefit corporation dedicated to eliminating barriers to education in developing countries. Applicants do not need to be borrowers from MPower to receive scholarship money. However, MPower only awards scholarships to students attending organization-affiliated schools.

Eligibility Limitations

Must have a valid visa, protection under DACA, or U.S. permanent resident status

Apply Here
Full tuition Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program
Deadline March 23
About

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program recognizes international master's students who are from developing countries and enrolled in one of 48 participating programs. The program expects applicants to be employed in development-related work and continue development work in their home countries upon graduation. This scholarship focuses on economic policy management, tax policy, and infrastructure management students.

Eligibility Limitations

Open to nationals from World Bank member countries who have a bachelor's degree and three years of experience working in development management

Apply Here
Varies Margaret McNamara Education Grants
Deadline Jan. 15
About

Margaret McNamara Education Grants support exceptional women from developing countries. This nonprofit organization, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, has awarded over 460 grants in 75 countries. Education grants are designed for women from developing or middle-income countries who intend to work with developing nations to further women and children's welfare.

Eligibility Limitations

Open to women who are at least 25 years old, from MMEG-approved nations, and enrolled at accredited schools

Apply Here
Varies Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program
Deadline Varies
About

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program awards undergraduate and graduate international students from developing nations in Africa who demonstrate financial need. Degrees and majors covered by the program vary by partnering institution, but they include entrepreneurship, science, and humanities. Many partnering schools allow students to bypass fees or SAT or TOEFL scores.

Apply Here
$12,500 P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship
Deadline April 1
About

The P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship awards graduate scholarships for international students who are female and demonstrate significant financial need. This organization also provides resources like tuition waivers, study grants, and personal funds. Recipients must demonstrate their commitment to world peace and unity and usually become leaders in their field.

Eligibility Limitations

Female nationals who are not citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or Canada and have one full year of study remaining

Apply Here
Varies Rotary Peace Fellowship
Deadline May 15
About

The Rotary Peace Fellowship awards international graduate students interested in peace and development issues. Programs for master's students last 15-24 months and include field studies designed by recipients, which last 2-3 months. The fellowship aims to create a new generation of leaders for peacebuilding in nonprofit and government sectors.

Eligibility Limitations

Must have a bachelor's degree and three years of experience in peace development work

Apply Here
Varies Society of Women Engineers
Deadline Varies
About

SWE offers several scholarships for female international students interested in pursuing engineering, engineering technology, or computer science careers. SWE's partner program scholarships align with ABET-accredited engineering programs nationwide. SWE delivers these awards in the fall and summer for students to use during the upcoming school year.

Eligibility Limitations

Must be female and majoring in an engineering-related field

Apply Here
Varies Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program's Tunisia Undergraduate Scholarship Program
Deadline Varies
About

The International Research and Exchanges Board, a nonprofit dedicated to international education and development, offers a special international scholarship for Tunisian undergraduates. The U.S. State Department sponsors this scholarship to foster development in communities across Tunisia. The year-long experience includes 20 hours of community service, part-time internships, and soft skills development.

Eligibility Limitations

Reserved for Tunisian national undergraduates applying to accredited colleges or universities

Apply Here
$500-$3,000 MPower Women in STEM Scholarship
Deadline July 20
About

The MPower organization offers international scholarships for female students interested in pursuing STEM majors at one of MPower's partner universities. MPower selects scholarship recipients based on their academic records, written essays, and potential to serve as role models for future generations of female STEM professionals. Applicants do not need to be MPower borrowers to apply.

Eligibility Limitations

Must be a female student enrolled for full-time study in a STEM program at an MPower-approved institution. Also need a visa, DACA status, or permanent resident status

Apply Here
Varies #YouAreWelcomeHere Scholarship
Deadline Varies
About

The #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign offers special scholarships that cover 50% of tuition for international students seeking higher education. The scholarship selects recipients based on their dedication to advancing tolerance and intercultural exchange. All majors at participating schools may apply. Each applicant must include a written essay or 2-5 minute video about their plans to build their leadership skills.

Eligibility Limitations

First-year international applicant at any participating university

Apply Here

How Can I Find Scholarships for International Students?

There are a few effective search strategies that international students can use to easily identify scholarships. It's best to avoid general search terms, such as "scholarship," in search engines. Instead, use more targeted search terms:

Mentioning your home country in your searches will save you time, as many programs only accept students from specific nations, and you don't want to get stuck sorting through those.

Next, organize your search results in a spreadsheet that includes your main parameters, such as application due date, relevance for your major, and potential financial award. That way, you can easily sort your scholarship options by the metrics that you care about.

Where Should I Look for Full Scholarships for International Students in the U.S.A.?

You can continue your search for scholarships for international students in the U.S.A. with online scholarship databases. Some helpful databases include:

You can also use general scholarship databases to specifically filter and apply for international scholarships. Some examples include:

Finally, check out the nearest U.S. embassy or nearby higher education institutions. Those are good places to find expert advice or information about international scholarship programs.

How Can I Get a Scholarship as an International Student?

Planning is key to securing scholarships. Once you organize your options in a spreadsheet that you can easily sort, begin methodically applying to each of them, starting with the earliest deadlines. You can streamline this process by using the Common App tool. This helpful resource allows you to send the same application to multiple schools at once, and it has an option for applying to scholarships, too.

Most scholarship applications require a few key pieces of information, including your transcripts, an essay, and letters of recommendation. In the case of international scholarship applications, you will need to provide proof of your visa, too. A resume or proof of work in a particular industry may also be necessary.

Make your application stand out by writing a thoughtful, earnest personal essay. Use the space to tell your story honestly while emphasizing the hurdles you face as an international learner, and be sure to outline your goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can International Students Get Scholarships in the USA?

Yes. International students looking to study in the U.S. have many options for undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate scholarships to help them pay for school.

Can I Study in the USA for Free?

Many international scholarships completely cover tuition, room and board, and supplies. However, others only partially cover tuition and expect you to make your own contribution, too. It's important to read the details of your scholarship options before accepting them.

Can International Students Apply for CSS?

Yes. Since international students are not eligible for federal aid determined through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can submit a college scholarship service (CSS) profile to give your college an idea of your financial situation.

Can International Students Use the Common App?

Yes. International students can use the Common App to send one standardized application to multiple schools. Common App also allows you to request international student fee waivers and apply to scholarships.

Image Credit: Artem Varnitsin | Getty Images | EyeEm

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