Main menu


Scholarships for International Students by

Studying in the U.S. as an international student can be costly if you don't secure scholarships, grants, or fellowships to assist with tuition expenses. Unlike U.S. citizens, as well as eligible undocumented and DACA students who can receive state and federal financial aid, international students generally bear the full cost of tuition.

In the 2021-22 academic year, the average annual tuition at a four-year institution was $19,806, but when factoring in fees, on-campus housing and meals, books, supplies, and additional expenses, the total often amounted to $36,436 per year. Costs can vary significantly depending on the institution. Private elite colleges typically have higher tuition fees compared to public universities, with average tuition at private institutions reaching $37,220, while public colleges averaged nearly $9,600 annually.

Despite these expenses, there are several scholarship opportunities available specifically for international students to help offset the costs of college.

Can International Students Get a Full Scholarship?

While full scholarships for international students studying in the U.S. are rare, they can significantly alleviate the high costs associated with education in the country. It's crucial to secure scholarships that cover tuition, housing, and other expenses.

Certain prestigious institutions like Harvard and Yale offer partial or full scholarships, and there are external opportunities such as the Rotary Peace Fellowship tailored for international doctoral students. Organizations like Rotary provide support independently of your college. These scholarships typically involve competitive processes that may include essays, personal statements, projects, or interviews.

Depending on the scholarship's terms, you may apply for multiple scholarships to ease the financial burden of college. Some scholarships are renewable annually, ensuring continuous support throughout your academic journey.

Featured Online Bachelor's Degree Programs

Designed with international students in mind, Shorelight helps students study at top U.S. universities from application to graduation. You'll get a personalized education advisor, student visa support, English-language help, and more.

5 Undergraduate Scholarships for International Students

Here are just a few scholarships you can look out for as an international student to help you pay for studying abroad in the U.S.

Fulbright Program for Foreign Students Scholarship

The Fulbright Program administers two main initiatives: the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students and the Foreign Language Teaching Assistants program, available in more than 160 countries worldwide. Annually, approximately 4,000 scholarships are granted to international students through these programs.

Eligibility criteria, award details, and application deadlines vary based on your country of origin. For precise information, consult the Fulbright website dedicated to your respective country.
Award Amount: Variable
Application Deadline: Variable

Study a Bachelor's in the USA Scholarship offers a scholarship aimed at non-U.S., globally-minded students who have achieved high academic success and wish to study in the United States.

Eligibility requirements include applying or having applied for a bachelor's degree program starting in fall 2024, either on-campus or online, at a U.S.-based institution. Applications must be submitted in English to be eligible for consideration.

Amount: $5,000
Deadline for Scholarship Application: June 28, 2024

5 Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships for International Students

Graduate and postdoctoral students have various opportunities to apply for scholarships and fellowships that support their research and studies. Fellowships provide short-term funding for research and study, ranging from a few weeks to several months, and sometimes extending to years, depending on the specific fellowship.

The Aga Khan Foundation's International Scholarship Programme

This scholarship program is designed for postgraduate students from specific countries who lack alternative funding options for their studies. It combines a grant and a loan, requiring recipients to repay half of the award within five years, starting six months after graduation.

Eligibility criteria include holding a bachelor's degree, admission to a postgraduate institution, and demonstrating financial need. Applicants must be from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, or Uganda. Additionally, individuals originally from these countries but currently residing in Canada, France, Portugal, or the U.S. are also eligible to apply.

Award Amount: Variable
Application Deadline: Opens January 2025

Rotary Peace Fellowship

The Rotary Peace Fellowship offers master's and certificate programs tailored for individuals dedicated to advancing peace and conflict resolution, with potential to become leaders in their respective fields. The certificate program targets mid-career professionals who bring initiatives aimed at promoting peace within their region.

Eligibility for the master's program requires proficiency in English and a minimum of three years of full-time experience in peace or development work. Applicants must also secure admission to an approved university and demonstrate a gap of at least three years since their last degree.

For the certificate program, eligibility includes holding a bachelor's degree, proficiency in English, and a minimum of five years of full-time experience in peace or development work. Similarly, applicants must show a three-year gap since their last degree.

The fellowship covers:
  • Tuition and fees
  • Room and board
  • Round-trip transportation
  • Applied field experience expenses
  • Health insurance
Application deadlines vary.

Are there full scholarships for international students?

The Rotary Peace Fellowship is a comprehensive fellowship/scholarship opportunity for international students that covers all educational expenses. Additionally, numerous colleges and universities offer their own scholarships for international students, and various organizations also provide additional scholarship opportunities.

Which college has the most international students in the U.S.?

In 2023, New York University (NYU) had the highest number of international students among U.S. universities. During the 2022-23 academic year, NYU welcomed over 24,000 international students representing more than 140 countries. The university provides support for immigration procedures, facilitates networking opportunities, and organizes a variety of events and programs throughout the year specifically for its international student community.

Why is studying abroad in the U.S. so expensive?

Studying abroad in the U.S. can be costly for non-U.S. citizens because they are ineligible for state and federal financial aid. Tuition costs are typically higher compared to what U.S. citizens pay. However, scholarships, grants, and fellowships can provide financial assistance to alleviate these expenses.

How long can an international student stay in the U.S.?

If you hold an F-1 visa, you are required to depart the country within 60 days upon completing your program, or within 30 days if you hold an M-1 student visa. To extend your stay, you have options such as applying for CPT (Curricular Practical Training) or OPT (Optional Practical Training) for practical training opportunities. Alternatively, you can pursue another educational program or apply for a different non-student visa.