Students have a lot to gain from an education abroad; it increases their international exposure, allows for cultural exchange and provides a stepping stone to limitless opportunities. Studying abroad however, has a cost to it that not all can afford—especially in highly regarded destinations like the United States. The hard truth is also that most scholarships are awarded to locals and not as many to foreign students.

Don’t let this discourage you though; there are still a few good scholarship options that you may be eligible for when considering to study in the US.

Here is an overview:

Fulbright Program for Foreign Students: Sponsored by the US government, the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students is an international educational exchange program aimed at developing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. This program enables graduate students from 155 countries worldwide to acquire a postgraduate or doctoral degree in the US; program selection and eligibility criteria may vary for each country, so do your homework!

These scholarships are administered by the Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or US embassies in each country and all applications are processed by these offices. The Program covers the cost for tuition and textbooks, airfare, and also provides a living stipend and health insurance.

AAUW International Fellowships: These Fellowships, awarded by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), are given to women internationally who wish to pursue postgraduate studies at accredited US universities.

In order to be eligible for these Fellowships, candidates must possess the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree and must have applied to their proposed institutions of study by the time of the application. The Fellowships are worth $18,000 for masters students.

Your Own Search: As scholarships tend to be awarded based on several eligibility criteria, you should also conduct your own scholarship search, as you already know what requirements you will meet. Fortunately, most higher education institutions in the US provide their own financial aid and scholarships; the best way forward then, is to check with each college or university that you are interested in about the financial aid and scholarships they offer that you can apply for.

Also, if you are looking to do your bachelor’s in the US, contacting your chosen college is your best bet for getting funding, as it is hard to come by government scholarships for international students at the undergraduate level. Here are a few other things you can do:

  • Ask your college about any scholarships given out for extra-curricular activities, such as awards for excellence in sports or volunteer work.
  • Find out about future scholarship opportunities. Keep in mind that a lot of schools may not offer aid packages and donor-based scholarships to first-year overseas students, but do so later, based on student performance—and of course—other eligibility requirements.

Good luck in your search for the right funding!

If you are planning to study in the US, you can also check out our F1 visa interview guide.

*Coming Soon* Scholarship information for international students going to UK and Canada.

About the Author: Ambria Farid is a technical writer and researcher, working primarily in the field of education. She holds a bachelor’s in Management Science and also works as part of a consultancy team for NGOs.