Top Scholarships for International Students in the US

Rachit Tewari


02 Jul 2023

  • Study in USA
  • Academics
  • international students
  • application process
Top Scholarships for International Students in the US

Investing in education can be a significant financial undertaking, especially for international students studying in the United States, and the only return you get on that investment is in the form of your success. No doubt, the stakes are high, but you are not without help. Numerous scholarships are available to support and reward outstanding international students and through this comprehensive guide, we will explore the importance of scholarships, the various types of scholarships available, and highlight the top scholarships for international students in the US.

Importance of Scholarships for International Students

Scholarships play a crucial role in making education more accessible and affordable for international students. They not only provide financial support but also recognize and reward academic excellence, leadership potential, and diverse talents. Scholarships help reduce the financial burden, allowing students to focus on their studies, explore new opportunities, and contribute to their communities.

Types of Scholarships for International Students in the US

There are various types of scholarships available to international students in the United States. Understanding these categories can help students identify the scholarships that align with their qualifications and goals. Here are some common types:

Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, leadership skills, and other accomplishments. These scholarships recognize exceptional talent and provide financial assistance to students who demonstrate academic excellence. As they say, “work hard and let your scholarship make the noise.”

Need-Based Scholarships

Need-based scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need. These scholarships aim to bridge the gap between the cost of education and the student's ability to pay. Financial documentation and information about family income and assets are typically required for need-based scholarship applications.

Country-Specific Scholarships

Some scholarships are specifically targeted toward students from certain countries or regions. These scholarships aim to promote cultural diversity, foster international relations, and provide opportunities for students from underrepresented regions to study in the United States.

Subject-Specific Scholarships

Subject-specific scholarships are awarded to students pursuing studies in specific fields or disciplines. These scholarships encourage students to pursue careers in high-demand areas such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), healthcare, business, and social sciences.

Diversity Scholarships

Diversity scholarships focus on promoting diversity and inclusion within educational institutions. These scholarships target students from underrepresented backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, and first-generation college students.

Top Scholarships for International Students in the US

Numerous scholarships are available to international students in the United States. Here are ten prestigious scholarships that provide substantial financial support and open doors to educational opportunities for international students:

1. Fulbright Foreign Student Program

The Fulbright Program is one of the most prestigious scholarship programs worldwide. It provides fully funded opportunities for graduate study, research, and teaching in the United States. The program is open to students from all disciplines and countries.

2. Gates Millennium Scholars Program

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program aims to support outstanding minority students with financial need. It provides full scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students, covering tuition, fees, books, and living expenses.

3. Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program

The Humphrey Fellowship Program offers a one-year, non-degree program for experienced professionals. It provides participants with opportunities for professional development, academic study, and networking in their chosen field.

4. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program provides scholarships to academically talented students from Sub-Saharan Africa. The program covers tuition, accommodation, books, and other expenses, as well as providing leadership development and mentorship opportunities.

5. Rotary Peace Fellowship

The Rotary Peace Fellowship supports students pursuing master's degree programs related to peace and conflict resolution. It offers full funding for tuition, fees, and a living stipend at one of the Rotary Peace Centers around the world, including in the United States.

6. American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Fellowships

The AAUW International Fellowships are awarded to women pursuing full-time graduate or postdoctoral studies in the United States. The fellowships provide funding for educational expenses, including tuition, living expenses, and research materials.

7. Joint Japan World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program

The Joint Japan World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students from developing countries pursuing graduate studies in fields related to development at selected universities in the United States and around the world.

8. Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program

The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program supports outstanding students from developing countries pursuing postgraduate studies. The scholarship covers tuition fees and living expenses, and recipients become part of a network of professionals committed to development.

9. The Soros Fellowships for New Americans

The Soros Fellowships for New Americans support outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants pursuing graduate studies in any field. The fellowship provides funding for tuition and living expenses.

10. Google Lime Scholarship Program

The Google Lime Scholarship Program supports students with disabilities pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field. Recipients receive financial assistance, mentorship, and an invitation to the Google Scholars' Retreat.

Application Process and Tips

The application process for scholarships can be highly competitive. Here are some tips to increase your chances of success:

Research and Eligibility Criteria

Thoroughly research each scholarship and ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria. Pay attention to deadlines and any specific requirements or restrictions.

Gather Required Documentation

Prepare all the necessary documents, such as academic transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and a well-crafted resume. Make sure to follow the guidelines and submit complete and accurate information.

Craft a Compelling Personal Statement

Write a compelling personal statement that highlights your achievements, goals, and why you are a deserving candidate for the scholarship. Tailor your statement to each scholarship application, showcasing your unique experiences and aspirations.

Seek Recommendation Letters

Request recommendation letters from professors, mentors, or employers who can speak to your abilities, achievements, and potential. Ensure that your recommenders have ample time to write strong, detailed letters.

Submitting the Application

Review your application materials multiple times for errors and clarity. Submit the application well before the deadline to avoid any last-minute issues. Keep copies of all submitted documents for your records.

Additional Resources for Scholarship Search

In addition to the scholarships mentioned above, there are numerous other scholarship opportunities available for international students. Here are some resources to help you in your scholarship search:

Online scholarship search engines: Utilize online platforms such as Fastweb,, and College Board's Scholarship Search to discover a wide range of scholarship opportunities based on your profile, field of study, and nationality.

University websites: Explore the websites of universities and colleges in the United States to find information about scholarships specifically offered to international students.

Government-sponsored scholarships: Check with your home country's government or educational authorities for any scholarship programs available for studying abroad.

Professional and cultural organizations: Many professional associations, cultural organizations, and foundations offer scholarships to support students pursuing specific fields or with specific backgrounds.

Financial aid offices: Reach out to the financial aid offices of your prospective universities to inquire about scholarships and grants available to international students.

Embassy and consulate resources: Contact the education or cultural sections of your country's embassy or consulate in the United States for information on scholarships and funding opportunities.

And of course, visit Horse's Mouth to have your minutest of queries addressed.

Securing scholarships for international students is crucial in making education in the United States more affordable and accessible. By understanding the types of scholarships available and exploring top scholarship programs, you can significantly reduce the financial burden and pursue your educational dreams. Remember to thoroughly research each scholarship, carefully prepare your application materials, and seek guidance when needed. With dedication and perseverance, you can take advantage of the vast opportunities for international students in the United States.


Can international students apply for scholarships in the United States?

Yes, international students are eligible to apply for scholarships in the United States. Many universities, organizations, and foundations offer scholarships specifically for international students.

Do I need to pay back scholarships?

Most scholarships are awarded as a form of financial aid and do not need to be repaid. However, it's important to carefully review the terms and conditions of each scholarship to understand any obligations or requirements.

Are scholarships available for undergraduate and graduate studies?

Yes, scholarships are available for both undergraduate and graduate studies. There are specific scholarships targeting each level of study.

Can I apply for multiple scholarships?

Yes, you can apply for multiple scholarships. In fact, it's encouraged to apply to as many scholarships as you are eligible for to increase your chances of receiving financial support.

How can I increase my chances of receiving a scholarship?

To increase your chances of receiving a scholarship, focus on academic excellence, engage in extracurricular activities, demonstrate leadership skills, and actively seek out opportunities to showcase your unique talents and experiences. Additionally, thoroughly prepare your application materials, write compelling personal statements, and obtain strong recommendation letters.

Remember to thoroughly review each scholarship's requirements, deadlines, and application procedures. Good luck with your scholarship search!

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