A guide to international student scholarships

Scholarships can be a great way to ease the financial burden of studying abroad

Updated - February 03, 2024 04:28 pm IST

Published - February 03, 2024 02:00 pm IST

Scholarships can help make the study-abroad dream come true for many students.

Scholarships can help make the study-abroad dream come true for many students. | Photo Credit: Freepik

Studying abroad is a dream for many students, but frequently seems unachievable due to the high expenses involved. Scholarships help by providing deserving students with financial assistance. Let’s examine several kinds of international student scholarships.


Given for good grades and other achievements, these can cover tuition fees (either wholly or partly) and living expenses. Sometimes extra money is also offered. To qualify, students usually need a high GPA, good scores on tests like GRE/GMAT, and show excellence in academics or research. Often, such students are automatically considered during the admission process but some may need additional documents, like essays or portfolios, to show their skills and accomplishments. The key here is to be academically strong and well-rounded.

Also read: What does the study-abroad sector hold for students in 2024?


Research Assistantships (RA), Graduate Assistantships (GA), and Teaching Assistantships (TA) are great options to cover tuition and living expenses in exchange for helping a faculty with their research, teach a class (generally at the undergraduate level), or with graduate work. To get any of these, students must match their skills and interests with a teacher’s research and get their approval.

To get an RA, talking to potential faculty and other researchers is important, as they have a big say in the selection process. Not only do these offer financial support, they also let students get hands-on experience and develop research skills.

Unlike RAs, GAs and TAs might involve teaching or doing administrative work alongside studying. Applications are made through the departments and students need to show exceptional academic performance. These offer a chance for students to gain real-world experience and add to their skill set. It’s a bit like getting academic and professional help all in one.

Tuition waivers

Tuition waivers give students a break on tuition fees, either in full or in part. Students can apply directly through the university. The application process might require proof of good grades or financial struggle. Institutions that offer tuition waivers are hyper-selective. Check if the university you are considering offers such waivers, as it helps make education more affordable by directly cutting costs and letting students focus on their studies.

Private scholarships

Private scholarships, from non-profit groups, companies, or foundations, add another layer to the options. The amounts can vary, and may cover tuition and living costs, or specific needs. Students need to apply directly to the groups offering them. Private scholarships might need extra items in the application, like essays, project plans, or proof of community work. They can be competitive, but also give students a chance to get funding based on their unique achievements.

Country-specific scholarships

These are for students from particular countries, offered by governments, private groups, or schools wanting to support international students. To apply, students have to dig into the opportunities available in their home country. Applications are usually sent through specific groups or government programmes, each with its own rules. These scholarships not only ease the financial load but also encourage different cultures to mix and share experiences.

Getting a scholarship for international studies takes some planning and a good look at the options available. Each one plays a part in allowing students to access education by offering financial help and setting the stage for a brighter future.

The writer is the President, American Colleges.

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