When to start searching for Scholarships ?
You can look for scholarship when you are still in your home country or when you already arrive in the US. However if you are really in a tight budget, we suggest you to look for scholarship long before you come to the US.
Applying for Scholarships
You will have to fill up an application form in order to apply for the scholarship. Most scholarship providers will set up a deadline before which you will have to send the application.
Typical Documents required for applying:
Letter explaining the need for scholarship (you can write about your financial condition)
Recommendation Letters (from people, organizations that know you)
Offer of admission letter from the US university you are planning to attend
University / college transcripts, certificates of academic achievements, etc
Once your application is approved, you may be invited for an interview for further screening.
Types of Scholarships
There are typically two types of scholarships that are generally awarded for international students: full scholarships and partial scholarships. If you get a full scholarship, you can sit back and relax, you do not need to provide any money for your education and your stay in the US, the scholarship will take care of that. However, if you get only a partial scholarship, your scholarship amount will not be enough to cover all of your expenses. You will have to provide for the uncovered portion of your expenses by yourself.
Please not that some of the scholarships will take care of your tuition costs, travel expenses and also provide you a monthly stipend.
Sources of Scholarships
Typical sources of scholarships are the US government, your country’s government, US companies, your home country’s companies, University alumnis, or charity organizations.
Please note that most of the scholarship require you to maintain good academic grades. If your GPA falls below a certain number, chances are high that your scholarship will be discontinued.
Below is a list of scholarships that most international students can apply for:
- US Government Scholarship (Fulbright Scholarship):
The US government provides a scholarship called Fulbright scholarship for international students from developing countries. It is also called an exchange visitor program. The mission of this scholarship is to provide better education to the students from developing countries and to expose these students to the American culture.
This scholarship covers all the tuition and travel expenses as well as provides a monthly stipend to the student to cover his living expenses. Normally, this scholarship is awarded for a period of two years.
One important condition of this scholarship is that after completing the education, the student has to go back to his home country for at least two years before he / she can come back to the US. The student can not accept a full time job offer in the US after completing his education in the US, unless he has physically stayed in his home country for a minimum period of two years. However the students do have the option of doing internships in the US during and after the completion of their studies. The students receiving the Fulbright scholarship are called as the Fulbright scholars.
You can find more detailed information about this scholarship as well as the application process by visiting the Fulbright Scholarship web site
You can also visit the US embassy affiliates in your country listed in this link to get additional information:
- Scholarships from US Colleges / Universities:
Many US colleges and universities offer scholarships to qualified international students. You can find more information about such scholarships from the prospective university's web site. Many times even the alumni of the university offer scholarships to international students. Normally, the scholarship information is provided under the financial aid section of the international student office's web site.
International students should also check with the particular departments (such as the Computer Science department, the Mechanical engineering department, etc) for department specific scholarships. You should explore your prospective department's web site for more information.
You can visit SRN Express web site to find the information about US universities / college that provide scholarships to international student.
- Your Government Scholarships:
Governments of many countries also sponsor the US education for their citizen. For example, the government of Saudi Arabia is sponsoring the US education of the Saudi Arabian students. You should check with the government web sites of your country to find detailed information about such scholarships.
- Company sponsored Scholarships:
Many companies in the US also provide scholarships for international students. For example, Timken, GoodYear, etc. If your parents' company is a US based company, you should check if the company provides a scholarship for employees' children to study in the US. You can ask your parent can find out more information about the scholarships from the company’s human resource department. In these types of scholarships, the company will typically take care of your tuition , travel expenses and your living cost.
- Charity organizations:
Many charitable organizations also offer need based scholarships to students planning to study in the US. Many of such scholarships are in the form of interest free education loan, which the student has to repay the entire loan after the completion of his / her US education. You should check with the charity organizations in your home country for information on such scholarships.
List of Scholarship providers for international students
Below is a list of Scholarship providers for international students. Please visit their web sites for detailed information about the type of scholarships and the application process for them. Good Luck!
International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search
Council of International School
NAFSA: Association of International Educator
Institute of International Education
Ambassadorial scholarship by Rotary International Scholarship
General scholarship providers
Below is a list of Scholarship providers for American as well as international students. Please visit their web sites for detailed information about the type of scholarships and the application process for them. Please not that some of these scholarships require the applicant to be an American citizen or at least a Green Card holder. Good Luck!
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Financial Aid Resource Center
Fundsnet Services Online
The Gates Millennium Scholars