- The cost of studying abroad
- What will a study abroad scholarship cover?
- Who provides study abroad scholarships?
- Different types of scholarships
- Country-specific scholarships
- Applying for a study abroad scholarship
Scholarships for International Students – What You Need to Know!
Many students dream of studying abroad. It’s no secret that an international experience offers students the opportunity to make new friends, participate in an internship, explore a global city, create professional connections, and immerse in a new culture, all while gaining a prestigious education. That’s why students are signing up in droves to take their education abroad.
However, many students falsely believe that studying abroad is too expensive for their budget. The good news is that there are plenty of study abroad scholarships for international students who are interested in pursuing a course or a degree abroad. Many universities and other institutions of higher education set goals to recruit a specific number of students from abroad as a way to diversify their student body and enrich the cultural experience of the campus.
That’s why many schools have created scholarships specifically for international students who otherwise may not have been able to afford it. Likewise, many universities also offer their own students the chance to study abroad by offering similar study abroad scholarships. There are also plenty of independent organizations that offer global scholarships to interested students as a way to promote education and international relations. These paganizations are often run by former students who have studied abroad themselves and recognize what a fun and enriching experience it can be.
The important thing is that you understand which scholarships are available and which you are eligible to receive. Once you see how much support is available and you apply to receive as many scholarships as possible, all that’s left to do is start deciding where your top study abroad destinations are.
Continue reading our comprehensive study abroad scholarship guide to help you obtain the aid you deserve! Or, get started right away by downloading a list of global scholarships for international students!
The cost of studying abroad can vary greatly depending on the length of your studies, the city you choose to study in, and what kind of accommodation you find. Naturally, full study abroad programs are more expensive than just taking a single semester or course abroad. Therefore, it’s important to plan in advance in order to know how much financial support you will need.
There are several factors to consider besides just tuition fees. Determine the cost of living in your new city. How much does an average accommodation cost? Is food typically expensive? Do you plan on eating and drinking out at bars or restaurants? Do you want to still be able to travel while you are abroad? Do your courses require you to purchase expensive materials? Will you have any income? There are many important questions to answer in order to calculate a total sum of what you will need.
Although it may seem expensive, there are also many ways to stay on a budget! For example, don’t pay rent alone, find a roommate. You will immediately cut your accommodation costs in half! Cook for yourself whenever possible. Eating out can add up quick, especially if you are adding drinks to the tab. Look for student discounts. Even some of the world’s most famous attractions and sights offer steep discounts if you flash a student ID, so take advantage!
That being said, study abroad scholarships come in a wide range of amounts. Make sure to check in advance so that you can budget accordingly.
Depending on which global scholarship you receive and who is providing it, what the scholarship will pay for or not varies greatly. Most scholarships are designed to cover your basic cost of studying. This includes the cost of tuition, student fees, books, and any other school-related costs. In some cases, a portion of our living costs will also be covered, including the cost of food and accommodation. Other international scholarships are less strict. They will simply provide you with a lump sum of money which you can apply to your studies however you deem appropriate. That doesn’t mean spend your money on just whatever, it’s all still meant to fund your education. The difference is that you’re able to prioritize your own budget and apply the financial aid accordingly.
Oftentimes, scholarships also come with stipulations from the donor. Most organizations consider it as an educational investment rather than simply a gift. For that reason, college scholarships usually have strings attached. It’s common for scholarships to require a certain grade point average throughout your studies or for a certain performance level to be maintained for you to continue receiving financial aid.
It's also important to take into consideration when the study abroad scholarship money will be awarded. Scholarship money is most commonly paid out in a lump sum before the start of the semester, but can, in some situations, be distributed in installments throughout the year. Scholarships are either paid to the student or to the school bursars office directly. Each school or organization has their own procedures for when scholarship money will be awarded. Make sure to ask in advance so that you’re not stuck with a big bill and no funds to cover it.
Finding a Study Abroad Scholarship
Scholarships can come from many sources and usually you’re eligible to receive more than one form of aid. Check the guidelines for each global scholarship to see what you qualify for. There are several different sources for scholarships funding such as:
- Private donors
Oftentimes, these institutions are run or influenced by people who have studied abroad themselves and understand the value of an international education. This is a huge benefit to students who want to study abroad, especially since many scholarships are reserved specifically for them!
Sources of scholarships for international students will also vary from country to country. Checking with the school or the local embassy is helpful in seeking scholarships. Whichever type of scholarship you decide to apply for, remember to be patient and persistent! Scholarships are an excellent way to help you achieve your study abroad dreams. Continue reading to learn more about each individual scholarship provider.
Colleges and universities will readily help their students find study abroad scholarships and international grants. Admissions offices may automatically offer scholarships and grants when you apply, or they may require that you apply for financial aid in advance.
To find global scholarships through a college or university, it is best to go through an academic adviser or financial aid office. The adviser will recommend different types of scholarships you qualify for based on academic records, athletic ability, special talents, or financial need. School-based individual scholarships through the university may be offered as full-tuition or partial payments.
Make sure to also check at the school where you plan to study abroad. They may offer additional financial aid if a scholarship from your home university is not enough to cover the cost. If you are studying an entire degree program abroad, make sure to check if your new university offers scholarships specifically for international students. Oftentimes, schools need to meet a certain quote of international students, so they will offer financial aid as an incentive.
Federal or state governments are a great source of financial aid for international students. In the U.S., the government is the largest source of need-based financial aid, primarily in the form of the Pell Grant.
State governments may fund grants and scholarships for residents attending college in their state. In addition, foreign governments may offer international grants or global scholarships for international students to study in their country.
In order to find available grants and scholarships from governments, it is useful to contact the country's embassy. They will offer more detailed information.
Private and Individual Donor Scholarships
Many companies, foundations, community organizations and clubs sponsor study abroad grants. Scholarships and education grants from these organizations are called “outside” or “private” scholarships. Organizations offering these types of private scholarships can be institutions such as labor unions, religious centers, public organizations or clubs. A private scholarship is generally a one-time form of aid.
Individual donors, on the other hand, are individuals who have set up a private fund for students to receive financial aid. These study abroad scholarships or grants vary in amount and have specific eligibility requirements set by the donor. Scholarships are awarded from academic merit or financial need depending on the donor.
To find global scholarships through individual donors, a bit more searching is usually required. Sometimes these scholarships are advertised, but more often than not, you will have to seek them out on your own.
Now that you know where to find an international scholarship, it’s also important to know what kind of scholarships are being offered. Depending on the scholarship, there are different eligibility requirements. Likewise, different global scholarships will cover different costs related to the study abroad experience.
With proper planning and research, you'll be on your way to receiving financial aid for undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate studies abroad in no time. Check out some of the different types of scholarships below to pick one that’s right for you!
Merit scholarships are typically the ones that come to mind when you think of a scholarship. In order to qualify for a merit scholarship, you must demonstrate academic excellence. The most obvious indicator of your academic achievement is your grades. However, merit scholarships aren’t just limited to your grades. Some universities will also take into consideration any special talents you may have, including athletic abilities or musical skills.
The money granted by a merit-based scholarship is almost exclusively meant to cover tuition fees. Whether it covers only partial or full tuition is dependent on the university’s budget, your grades, or your financial need.
As the name suggests, need-based scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated the financial need in order to pursue their dream study abroad experience. If the student is still supported by their parents, the scholarship provider will analyze the parents’ income and ability to pay for the tuition fees. They may also look at factors such as the number of members in your household, tax statements, citizenship, employment or your country of origin. If the student supports themselves, their own income will be assessed.
Need-based scholarships are designed to provide assistance for studies when students or their guardians are not able to afford tuition and fees. Therefore, the money granted by a merit-based scholarship is also meant to cover just tuition fees in most cases. These scholarships are independent of merit scholarships, and in some cases, you may qualify for both depending on the program or university. Be sure to check with your financial aid adviser to see what type of scholarships you qualify for.
Athletic scholarships are given to top-notch athletes by universities to recruit them for their athletic teams. Full-ride scholarships for athletes are common among many universities. Athletes compete for these prized athletic scholarships, but they also come with a price.
While benefiting from a free education, athletes pay with their rigorous training while balancing their studies. Often athletic scholarships are awarded to athletes while in high-school based on their performance in sports.
Program or Field Specific Scholarships
Program-specific scholarships are most often related to a specific level of studies such as bachelor’s or master’s level, or to a specific program, such as an engineering or nursing program.
Program-specific scholarships may be offered directly from the school, or, sometimes, from a private donor who is affiliated with the university such as an alumnus who has set up a scholarship foundation. Sometimes these scholarships are offered to you with your university admission and you don't even have to apply for them.
There are also several study abroad-specific scholarships within this category. Some universities may target students in specific fields to boost their own international student population in specific programs.
If you belong to a minority group, take advantage of the scholarships options established specifically for you. Most universities want to ensure they are providing equal access to education. Therefore, they offer scholarships to members of marginalized groups that may not otherwise have access to the same opportunities as more privileged students.
Eligible groups include, but are not limited to, women, racial minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community.
If you already know in which country you plan on studying abroad, take a look at some of the country-specific scholarships. These offer a great opportunity for students to earn a scholarship since the country-specific requirements limit the number of applicants. Take a look at some of the country-specific study abroad scholarships below in some of students’ top-study abroad destinations!
HUMBER INTERNATIONAL ENTRANCE SCHOLARSHIPS
Humber College in Toronto, Canada offers full and partial tuition scholarships to international undergraduate students. The scholarships are divided throughout their three semester intakes each year (Winter, Summer, Fall). Applications will be considered based on academics, community involvement, referee/reference letters and statement of interest.
ELIGIBILITY: These scholarships are open to students coming directly from high school/secondary school studies, who are non-transfer students (i.e. haven’t attended college or university, or studied in Humber’s EAP program), and are unlimited in quantity. Humber awards degree scholarships automatically to graduating high school students based on academic achievement.
AWARD: Humber College offers one full tuition scholarship and several scholarship worth from $5,000 CAD to 1,000 CAD throughout the year.
DEADLINE: This scholarship has a rolling deadline as it is offered more than once per year.
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH AWARDS
The IDRC offers various scholarships for master’s, PhD and post-doctoral students to fund work that will address challenges in developing countries. There are also some scholarships available to Canadian students to conduct research that will benefit the developing world.
ELIGIBILITY: These scholarships are open to Canadians, permanent residents of Canada, and citizens of developing countries pursuing a master’s or a doctoral degree at a recognized university OR who have completed a master’s or a doctoral degree at a recognized university.
AWARD: There are 13 scholarships available. The award varies depending on the scholarship.
CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE SCHOLARSHIP
For the purpose of supporting the development of Confucius Institutes, facilitating international promotion of the Chinese language and dissemination of Chinese culture.
ELIGIBILITY: This scholarship is open to international students from 18 to 35 years old. The applicants must have Chinese Proficiency Test HSK 210 or HSKK 60.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded full coverage on tuition fees, accommodation fees, living allowance and comprehensive medical insurance.
DEADLINE: The deadline ranges from February to May every year.
BILATERAL PROGRAM FOR BACHELOR’S DEGREE
In order to promote the mutual understanding, cooperation and exchanges in politics, economy, culture, education and trade between China and other countries, the Chinese government has set up a series of scholarship programs to sponsor international students, teachers and scholars to study and conduct research in Chinese universities.
ELIGIBILITY: This scholarship is open to new students during their bachelor’s degree who are no older than 25 years of age.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded a living allowance of ¥1,400 CNY per month.
DEADLINE: The deadline ranges from January to April every year.
HUBEI PROVINCIAL SCHOLARSHIPS
In order to adapt the development of study abroad in china and increase the use efficiency of scholarships for international students, Hubei Province has established regulations of Hubei Provincial Scholarships Management for the purpose of talent cultivation, scientific research, social service, and cultural exchanges in universities and colleges.
ELIGIBILITY: These scholarships are open to foreign citizens with valid passports.
AWARD: The award varies depending on the scholarship.
DEADLINE: The deadline ranges from February to June every year.
EIFFEL SCHOLARSHIPS IN FRANCE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
The Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Program was established by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development to enable French higher education establishments to attract top foreign students to enroll in their master’s and PhD courses. It helps to shape future foreign decision-makers in the private and public sectors, in priority areas of study, and encourages applications from emerging countries at master’s level, and from emerging and industrialized countries at PhD level.
ELIGIBILITY: This scholarship is open to candidates of non-French nationality. Candidates with two nationalities, one of which is French, are not eligible.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded a monthly allowance of €1,181 EUR (a maintenance allowance of €1,031 EUR and a monthly stipend of €150 EUR). In addition, the following expenses are directly covered: one international return journey; social security cover; and cultural activities. Scholarship holders may also receive an additional housing allowance, under certain conditions.
CIVIL SOCIETY LEADERSHIP AWARDS
The Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) provides fully-funded scholarships for master’s degree study to individuals who clearly demonstrate academic and professional excellence and a deep commitment to leading positive social change in their communities.
ELIGIBILITY: This scholarship is open to citizens of the following countries: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Laos, Libya, Myanmar/Burma, Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
AWARD: Not specified.
AMPÈRE EXCELLENCE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
The Ampère Scholarships of Excellence provide excellent international students with the opportunity to pursue one of the eligible master’s programs offered at ENS de Lyon.
ELIGIBILITY: This scholarship is open to all international students enrolling in a master’s degree.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded €1,000 EUR a month during one or two academic years.
DAAD SCHOLARSHIPS IN GERMANY FOR DEVELOPMENT
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) provides scholarships for international students for a range of postgraduate courses at German Universities.
ELIGIBILITY: These scholarships are open to graduates with at least two years of professional experience.
AWARD: Depending on academic level, monthly payments of 750 euros for graduates or 1,000 euros for doctoral candidates; Payments towards health, accident and personal liability insurance cover; Travel allowance, unless these expenses are covered by the home country or another source of funding.
DEADLINE: The deadline varies depending on the program of study you’re enrolled in.
HEINRICH BOLL SCHOLARSHIPS
The scholarship department of the Heinrich Böll Foundation grants scholarships to undergraduates, graduates, and doctoral students from inside and outside Germany.
ELIGIBILITY: These scholarships are open to iternational students, both EU and non-EU, who are not educated in Germany.
AWARD: Non-EU students will be awarded up to €750 EUR per month plus various individual allowances; EU students will be awarded up to €649 EUR plus €300 EUR of book money per month.
BOCCONI SCHOLARSHIP FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Bocconi University is committed to making higher education accessible to students from all backgrounds worldwide. Università Bocconi offers need-based scholarships to international first year Bocconi Master of Science Program applicants. This scholarship is offered to give all students the chance to complete their higher studies. Students are chosen based on economic conditions and academic achievements.
ELIGIBILITY: This scholarship is open to students from all nationalities. The awarding of the scholarship takes into consideration not only the economic conditions of the students but also their academic performances.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded a full tuition waiver, worth up to €12,700 EUR per year.
DEADLINE: There are five rounds for the application process.
ITALIAN GOVERNMENT SCHOLARSHIP FOR FOREIGN AND IRE STUDENTS
The Italian government scholarship is for foreign citizens and Italian citizens abroad (IRE). Scholarships are offered for a variety of programs that are carried out by Italian higher education institutes.
ELIGIBILITY: This scholarship is open to foreign students or Italian students permanently residing abroad. Applicants may apply for scholarships if they have the academic qualifications required for enrolling on the courses at their chosen institution.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded a full tuition waiver, worth up to €12,700 EUR per year.
JAPANESE GOVERNMENT SCHOLARSHIPS FOR INTERNATIONAL UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology offers scholarships to international students who wish to study at Japanese universities as undergraduate students under the Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship Program for 2018.
ELIGIBILITY: These scholarships are open to citizens of countries that have diplomatic relations with the Japanese government.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded tuition and other fees, allowance of ¥117,000 JPY per month (an additional monthly stipend of ¥2,000 JPY or ¥3,000 JPY may be provided to those undertaking study or research in specially designated regions) and travel costs to and from Japan.
DEADLINE: The deadline varies depending on the scholarship.
MAE AECID SCHOLARSHIPS
This scholarship program is a leading example of the political cooperation between Spain and the rest of the world. The call for applications is published each year by the Directorate General for Cultural and scientific relations of the AECID.
ELIGIBILITY: These scholarships are open to Spanish and foreign nationals, of legal age, holding a degree in higher education (and in some cases, university students in their final year) or those who can demonstrate professional experience in certain activities, depending on the particular grant applied for.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded a monthly allowance, participation costs, traveling and insurance costs of the students. The amount varies depending on the scholarship awarded.
DEADLINE: The deadline varies depending on the scholarship.
ERASMUS MUNDUS PARTNERSHIPS
Erasmus Mundus is a cooperation and mobility program in the field of higher education that aims to enhance the quality of European higher education and to promote dialogue and understanding between people and cultures through cooperation with third world countries.
ELIGIBILITY: These scholarships are open to EU and non-EU students.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded monthly allowance, participation costs, traveling and insurance costs. Students are allowed to study in partner institutions from EU and non-EU countries in a range of disciplines at a range of academic levels.
DEADLINE: The deadline varies depending on the scholarship.
CHEVENING SCHOLARSHIPS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Chevening is the UK government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders and is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organizations, Chevening offers two types of awards: Chevening Scholarships and Chevening Fellowships, the recipients of which are personally selected by British Embassies and High Commissions throughout the world.
ELIGIBILITY: This scholarship is open to citizens of a Chevening-eligible country.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded tuition fees, monthly stipend, and travel allowance.
CIVIL SOCIETY LEADERSHIP AWARDS
The Civil Society Leadership Awards (CSLA) provide fully funded master’s degree study to individuals who clearly demonstrate academic and professional excellence and a deep commitment to leading positive social change in their communities.
ELIGIBILITY: These scholarships are open to citizens of the following countries: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Laos, Libya, Myanmar/Burma, Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded financial and administrative support for the following: pre-academic preparation via summer schools; program-related travel; tuition and mandatory university fees; monthly stipend for room, board, and other living expenses; accident and sickness insurance during the program; funds for educational materials and professional development; attendance at a regional Scholarship Programs conference; accommodations during the application process and the duration of the grant for applicants with disabilities.
MASTERCARD FOUNDATION SCHOLARS PROGRAM FOR AFRICANS
The vision of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is to educate and develop academically qualified yet economically disadvantaged young people in Africa who will contribute to the transformation of the continent.
ELIGIBILITY: This scholarship is open to citizens of Sub-Saharan Africa.
AWARD: Recipients will be awarded financial support for fees, uniforms, books and supplies, transportation, accommodation, and stipends.
DEADLINE: The deadline varies depending on the host university.
So, what’s next? If you’ve done the research and made a list of international scholarships you may be eligible for, now it’s time to apply!
Many students find this to be the hardest step, but it doesn’t have to be. Most study abroad scholarships will have very specific application criteria to follow. Consider how competitive it can be to receive a scholarship, make sure you follow all the instructions and double check your work. A great first impression is the first step to turning your study abroad dreams into a reality.
Although applying for global scholarships can be very time-consuming, it is well worth the investment. However, you can follow our tips on getting your application ready to make the process much easier!
Make a Checklist
To start, it’s important to get organized. Make a list of all the scholarships you plan on applying for and then write down which each one requires. If you know in advance what you will need for each scholarship, it will be much easier to gather all of the necessary paperwork and documents. Oftentimes, different study abroad scholarships will require similar things, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essays.
You can also make a note of how much each scholarship is worth and rank them by ones you are most eligible for to ones that might be more of a stretch. Then, once you’ve organized your list, it’s time to get started!
Gather the Necessary Documentation
Transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation make up the essential components of your study abroad scholarship application. However, Double check to make sure that nothing else is required. Also, take into consideration that it can take a lot of time to request and receive both transcripts and recommendation letters, plus you will want to take your time writing the essay, so start this process as soon as possible to make sure you don’t miss the deadline!
A transcript is a record of your academic grades and is a common component of an application for scholarships. There are two different types of transcripts: official and unofficial. Official transcripts are issued directly from the university and need to be sealed and directly delivered to the recipient. Unofficial transcripts are printouts of your grades and achievements and are not sealed or issued directly. Make sure you carefully read which type of transcripts are required for your application and plan enough time for delivery along with the application deadline.
Letters of Recommendation
The purpose of a letter of recommendation is to give scholarship providers an insight into your qualifications through the lens of someone who knows you personally. It’s best to ask someone who knows you either professionally or academically for a reference, as they tend to have more clout. However, some scholarships do not specify, so if you don’t have a professional reference to give, ask someone you know personally. It’s always recommended to give the person you intend on asking advanced notice so that it doesn’t come as a surprise when someone reaches out to them to ask about your achievements.
Luckily, there is not much more for you to do besides thanking the people who spent the time writing your letter afterwards!
For almost every study abroad scholarship, an essay will be required. Instead of stressing over it, consider the essay your chance to explain to scholarship providers why you truly deserve their financial support. But first, take note of whether or not they have given a specific prompt or have asked for any specific information. If so, make sure you answer it and provide whatever information they request.
If the scholarship provider simply asks why you deserve funding for a study abroad experience, have no fear. Make some of the following points to convince them that you deserve this experience and you’re ready to take it seriously:
- Explain why study abroad will make a difference for your studies
- Let them know why you picked where you want to study
- Describe why you need their financial support to fulfill your dream
- Explain how you plan to appropriately allocate the funds
- Show your personality
Don't forget to proofread before handing in your essay. If possible, it's great to have someone take a look over it as well, especially if it's a professor or someone who has written a study abroad scholarship essay before.
Review and Submit
Once you have completed all the necessary steps, make sure to give your application a final review before submitting it. That way you can make sure you have followed all the instructions and have included all the required paperwork.
Also take into consideration the deadlines. Each study abroad scholarship application has its own deadline. There are thousands of scholarship programs with spring and summer deadlines, and thousands more with fall and winter deadlines. The key is to never stop searching for new scholarship leads, even after beginning the freshman year in college. A good rule of thumb is to continue searching for scholarships for the duration of your college career.
Every international scholarship application has different guidelines for the required documentation. Make sure to allow yourself ample time to organize yourself and complete your application. This will allow you to avoid stress while producing the best application possible!
Congratulate Yourself on a Job Well-Done!
Once you hit submit, that’s it! You’ve completed another study abroad scholarship application and have increased your chances of going on the adventure of a lifetime. Reward yourself with the fact that your time and dedication will pay off when you are living and studying abroad surrounded by new, international friends while immersing in a totally different culture.
So, what are you waiting for? Download our Study Abroad Scholarship Guide below to begin applying for scholarships that will have you studying abroad in no time!
We've put together this handy downloadable guide with a list of hundreds of scholarships specifically for international students wanting to study abroad all around the world.
- A comprehensive list of international student scholarships for some of the most popular study abroad destinations including Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US.
- Eligibility for each scholarship.
- Application deadlines and links to websites where you can apply for the scholarships.
- Scholarship deadlines to help you plan your applications.