Dreaming of pursuing higher education in the United States but worried about the cost? You’re not alone! The USA is home to some of the world’s top universities, but the expenses can be daunting. Fortunately, there are numerous scholarships available to international students. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of securing a scholarship to study in the USA. Whether you’re an aspiring undergraduate or a postgraduate student, these steps will help you fulfill your educational dreams.

Table of Contents

  1. Researching Scholarships
    a. Understanding Scholarship Types
    b. Finding Scholarships for Your Field of Study
  2. Preparing Your Application
    a. Assembling Required Documents
    b. Crafting an Outstanding Personal Statement
    c. Obtaining Stellar Letters of Recommendation
  3. Searching for Universities
    a. Shortlisting Universities
    b. Contacting Admissions and Scholarship Offices
  4. Applying for Scholarships
    a. Online Application Process
    b. Application Deadlines and Requirements
  5. Ace the Scholarship Interview
    a. Preparing for Interviews
    b. Navigating Common Interview Questions
  6. Securing Additional Funding
    a. Part-Time Jobs and On-Campus Opportunities
    b. External Scholarship Sources
  7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
    a. How competitive are scholarships in the USA?
    b. Can I apply for multiple scholarships?
    c. What are the common eligibility criteria?
    d. What if my scholarship application is rejected?


Researching Scholarships

Understanding Scholarship Types When seeking a scholarship to study in the USA, it’s essential to know the various types available, such as merit-based, need-based, and specialized scholarships. Determine which ones align with your qualifications and needs.

Finding Scholarships for Your Field of Study Tailor your search to scholarships related to your intended major or course. Many universities offer specific scholarships for certain disciplines, so be sure to explore all possibilities.

Preparing Your Application

Assembling Required Documents Compile necessary documents like academic transcripts, standardized test scores (e.g., SAT, TOEFL), and a well-drafted resume.

Crafting an Outstanding Personal Statement Your personal statement is your chance to shine. Highlight your achievements, ambitions, and why you’re the ideal candidate for the scholarship. Be concise and authentic.

Obtaining Stellar Letters of Recommendation Approach professors, mentors, or employers who know you well and can write compelling letters of recommendation.

Searching for Universities

Shortlisting Universities Create a list of universities that offer scholarships to international students. Consider factors like location, reputation, and program offerings.

Contacting Admissions and Scholarship Offices Reach out to the admissions and scholarship offices of your chosen universities. Ask questions, clarify doubts, and request information about available scholarships.

Applying for Scholarships

Online Application Process Follow the application instructions carefully. Complete all necessary forms and submit them online. Keep copies of your submissions for reference.

Application Deadlines and Requirements Be aware of scholarship deadlines. Missing them can lead to automatic disqualification. Ensure your application meets all requirements.

Ace the Scholarship Interview

Preparing for Interviews Practice your interview skills by conducting mock interviews with friends or mentors. Research the university and scholarship thoroughly.

Navigating Common Interview Questions Prepare answers for questions about your background, goals, and how you can contribute to the university community.

Securing Additional Funding

Part-Time Jobs and On-Campus Opportunities Explore on-campus job opportunities or assistantships to support your living expenses.

External Scholarship Sources Look beyond university scholarships. Many organizations, both in the USA and your home country, offer funding for international students.

USA Government Scholarships for International Students »


Foreign Fulbright Student Program
The Fulbright Program are full scholarships in USA for international students who wants to pursue a Master’s or PhD degree.  The scholarships can also be awarded for non-degree postgraduate studies.  The grant covers tuition fee, textbooks, airfare, a living stipend, and health insurance.

Humphrey Fellowship Program
The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program provides a year of professional enrichment in the United States for experienced professionals from designated countries throughout the world. Fellows are selected based on their potential for leadership and their commitment to public service in either the public or private sector.  The fellowships are full grants covering all related expenses.


US Colleges and Universities that offer Scholarships for International Students »


AU Emerging Global Leader Scholarship Program
Amercan University awards scholarships to high-achieving international students who wish to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree at the University and who are dedicated to positive civic and social change. It is intended for students who will be to returning home to improve under-resourced, under-served communities in his/her home country. The AU EGL scholarship covers all billable AU expenses (full tuition, room and board) for ONE international student who will need a visa (preferably an F-1 or J-1 student visa) to study in the United States.

Amherst College Scholarships
Amherst College currently runs a need-based financial aid program that provides assistance to financially needy international students.  Once you have been admitted, your financial need is determined. A financial aid award that is equal to your need will then be offered.  The award is sometimes called an “aid package” because it may include both self-help (employment) and gift aid (scholarships and grants).

Berea College Scholarships
All admitted international students receive financial aid and scholarships that cover 100% of tuition, room, board, and fees for the first year of enrollment.  In subsequent years, international students are expected to save $1,000 (US) to contribute toward their expenses. The College does provide summer jobs to international students so that they may meet this obligation.

Clark University Scholarships
Clark University offers the Clark Presidential Scholarships which is a prestigious award for students whose academic record and leadership potential places them at the very top of Clark’s applicant pool. The scholarships are awarded to approximately five students each year. It covers full tuition, on-campus room and board for all four years, regardless of a family’s financial need.

Colby-Sawyer College Scholarships
International students are eligible for merit-based financial aid offered by Colby-Sawyer College. The scholarship value increases based on academic ability (measured in GPA) and ranging up to $8,000 per year. The college does not meet full financial need.

Columbia College Scholarships
Columbia College offers scholarships and awards to outstanding international students. The awards are one time cash grants or 15%- 100% tuition reduction.

Concordia College Scholarships
Concordia prizes the contributions international students make on campus and is pleased to provide partial financial assistance to international students. The International Student Scholarship is based on academic ability and family need, amounting up to $16,000 per year. International Excellence Scholarships are competitive, merit-based scholarships that are awarded to international first-year students or transfer students for up to four years and range from $8,000 – $16,000 per year.

Dartmouth College Scholarships
Dartmouth College meets the demonstrated need of all admitted undergraduates, including those from other countries. Dartmouth College has scholarships and loans available to international students, which includes an allowance for travel to the U.S..

East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University (ETSU) offers the International Students Academic Merit Scholarship for new international students seeking a graduate or undergraduate degree. The scholarship value per academic year is $12,500 for Undergraduate students and $5000-$9000 for Graduate students.

East West Center 
The East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship provides funding for up to 24 months for Master’s or Doctoral degree study for graduate students from Asia, the Pacific, and the U.S. to participate in the educational, residential, and leadership development programs at the East-West Center while pursuing graduate study at the University of Hawai’i.

Emory College Scholarships
Emory College offers need-based financial aid awards to a select group of international students each year. As well, international applicants are encouraged to apply for partial to full merit-based scholarships through the Emory University Scholars Program (November 15 deadline).

Illinois Wesleyan University Scholarships
Merit-based scholarships are offered to qualified international applicants with outstanding academic achievement and test scores on the required entrance exams. These awards range from $16,000 to $30,000 per year and are renewable for up to four years.  In addition, two full-tuition President’s International Student Scholarships may be awarded each year to qualified international students for up to four years of study.

Iowa State University International Merit Scholarships
International freshmen will be considered for a limited number of merit scholarships. Scholarship selection is competitive based on a holistic review of SAT or ACT scores and high school marks/grades.  The awards range from $2,000 to $10,000 per year and are renewable.

Michigan State University International Scholarships
Michigan University provides a limited number of scholarship and grants to deserving international students at the undergraduate and postgraduate level.  These financial packages are not designed to support your full academic program at MSU.

New York University Wagner Scholarships
The merit scholarships are offered to a limited number of admitted students each application cycle, including international students.  The scholarships are partial to full tuition scholarships ranging from $25,000-$47,000.

Oregon University Scholarships
Each year, the University of Oregon awards more than $2.5 million in financial aid and scholarships to international students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. One of their scholarship programs is the ICSP Scholarship which awards tuition-waiver scholarships ranging from partial to full tuition for up to 15 credits per term each year. Scholarships are based on financial need, academic merit, and the ability to make presentations to diverse groups of people.

Wesleyan University Scholarships
Financial aid for foreign students is extremely limited and is awarded on the basis of both exceptional qualifications and demonstrated need. The Freeman Asian Scholars Program, provides full tuition scholarships for a four-year course of study at Wesleyan toward a bachelor’s degree for 11 exceptionally able Asian students. In addition to the 11 Freeman Asian Scholars, the University is expected to offer financial assistance to approximately 40-45 foreign students from a pool of approximately 2,800 international applicants applying for financial aid.

University of the West Scholarships
The University of the West offers scholarships to new international students who achieve high academic standards and demonstrate a financial need. For incoming students, the scholarship ranges from $6,000-10,000 per year. For continuing students, the dean’s and president’s scholarship covers 7.5-15 undergraduate units per semester or 6-12 graduate units per semester.


Institutions that fund international scholarships for study in the US »


Joint Japan World Bank Graduate Scholarships
The Joint Japan World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program provides full scholarships to students from World Bank member countries to pursue development-related studies at selected Universities around the world. Students can choose to study in 8 participating USA Universities including Harvard University, John Hopkins University, University of Chicago, Cornell University and Columbia University.

AAUW International Fellowships
AAUW (formerly known as the American Association of University Women) awards international fellowships  for full-time study or research in the United States to women who are not US citizens or permanent residents. The scholarship are worth $18,000 for Masters, 20,000 for PhD and $30,000 for Postdoctoral students.

Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme
The Aga Khan Foundation provides a limited number of scholarships each year for postgraduate studies to outstanding students from selected developing countries who have no other means of financing their studies.  The studies can be undertaken anywhere in the world including the US. Scholarships are awarded on a 50% grant : 50% loan basis through a competitive application process once a year.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How competitive are scholarships in the USA?

Scholarships can be highly competitive, but with diligent research and a strong application, your chances improve.

Can I apply for multiple scholarships?

Yes, you can apply for multiple scholarships simultaneously, but ensure you meet all eligibility criteria.

What are the common eligibility criteria?

Eligibility criteria vary, but they often include academic excellence, leadership skills, and community involvement.

What if my scholarship application is rejected?

Don’t be discouraged. Seek feedback, improve your application, and apply again in the future.


Securing a scholarship to study in the USA is a challenging but rewarding journey. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your educational adventure. Remember, persistence, dedication, and a well-crafted application are your keys to success. So, go ahead, start your scholarship search, and take the first step toward your American dream. Good luck!

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