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Scholarships for Foreign Students in the USA

ACAlpina ChariOct 23, 2023

Scholarships for Foreign Students in the USA

The United States is home to some of the world’s best universities and colleges. Every year, millions of students from different countries and cultures apply to study in the US, hoping to get a high-quality education and a bright future. However, studying in the US is not easy, especially for international students. One of the biggest challenges they face is the high tuition and living expenses. The average tuition fee for international students in the US was 26,290 USD per year at public four-year institutions and 35,800 USD per year at private non-profit four-year institutions in 2021/22. These figures do not include other costs such as accommodation, books, transportation, and health insurance. The total cost of studying in the US can easily reach up to 50,000 USD or more per year for some students.  Fortunately, there are many scholarships for foreign students in the USA that can help them reduce their financial burden. These scholarships are usually based on academic merit, leadership potential, or other criteria. There are different types and sources of scholarships for foreign students in the USA, such as government-funded scholarships, non-governmental scholarships, and university-based scholarships. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular and prestigious scholarships for international students in the US. We will also provide some tips and advice on finding and applying for scholarships that suit your needs and interests.

What are the Types of Scholarships for Foreign Students in the USA?

International students in the USA have access to a variety of scholarships to help fund their education. Here are some types of scholarships for foreign students in the USA:  

Government Scholarships: There are scholarships offered by the US government for international students. Similarly many governments offer scholarships for their citizens to study in the USA. 

Private Scholarships: Private organizations, foundations, and corporations in the USA provide scholarships to international students based on various criteria. 

Institutional Scholarships: Many U.S. universities and colleges offer their own scholarships to international students.

Diversity Scholarships: Some institutions and organizations offer scholarships to promote diversity and inclusivity. These scholarships aim to support students from underrepresented backgrounds, including ethnic, racial, or gender diversity.   

Specific Field Scholarships: Some organizations provide scholarships for students pursuing specific fields of study, such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), business, or the arts.   

Study Abroad Scholarships: Some scholarships are designated for international students studying in the USA as part of a study abroad program.  

Top Scholarships for Foreign Students in the USA

Fulbright Foreign Student Program 

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program is a prestigious scholarship program that enables graduate students from abroad to study and conduct research in the United States for one year or longer. It is widely recognized as one of the most prestigious and competitive scholarship programs in the world. It has produced many distinguished alumni who have made significant contributions to their fields and societies, such as Nobel laureates, heads of state, ambassadors, artists, scientists, educators, and activists. Approximately 4,000 foreign students from 160 countries, receive Fulbright scholarships each year. The program covers tuition, airfare, living stipend, health insurance, and other expenses for the duration of the grant. It also provides access to a wide range of academic and professional opportunities, such as conferences, workshops, seminars, internships, and mentoring. Additionally, It offers a chance to network with other Fulbrighters, alumni, faculty, and experts in various fields. 


  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent. 
  • Applicants must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership potential, and a commitment to serve their home country and community after the grant.
  • Applicants must have a clear and feasible plan of study or research that aligns with the goals of the Fulbright Program.

Suggested Read: Affordable Universities for International Students in the USA

Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program

The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program is a Fulbright program that offers a year of non-degree graduate-level study, leadership development, and professional collaboration to young and mid-career professionals from developing countries. The fellows are selected based on their potential for leadership, commitment to public service, and relevance of their field of study to the development needs of their home countries. The fields of study include economic development, public health, education, law, environment, and others.  The program benefits the fellows by providing them with academic courses, professional affiliations, seminars, workshops, mentoring, networking opportunities, and exposure to U.S. culture and society. The fellows are assigned to one of the 13 host universities in the U.S. that offer the most appropriate program for their field of interest. The program provides financial assistance to cover the cost of tuition and fees at a participating U.S. university or college. It also includes a monthly stipend to cover living expenses, housing, and other related costs. The number of awards varies each year depending on the availability of funds and the quality of applicants. In 2020-2021, there were 146 fellows from 85 countries.  The program has a high reputation and impact in the international community. It has produced more than 6,000 alumni who have become leaders in various sectors and have contributed to the development of their home countries and regions.


  • Be a citizen of an eligible country 
  • Have an undergraduate degree 
  • Have a minimum of five years of full-time professional experience 
  • Demonstrated leadership abilities and public service in their community 

Suggested Reading: Affordable Cities in the USA for International Students

#YouAreWelcomeHere Scholarships 

The #youarewelcomehere scholarship program is a social media and scholarship campaign that aims to affirm that U.S. institutions are diverse, friendly, safe, and committed to student development. The campaign began as a grassroots initiative among U.S. higher education institutions in 2016 and has since spread to more than 400 participating institutions and organizations.  The scholarship program recognizes promising international students with a vision for enhancing intercultural understanding. As a participating institution in this program, each college or university offers two annual, renewable scholarships that cover a minimum of 50% of tuition to selected international undergraduates dedicated to furthering the #youarewelcomehere message on their future campuses. The applicants are required to either answer a short essay question or present a multimedia project about their ideas for applying their leadership skills in the U.S. institution they are applying to.   


  • The applicant must be a first-year international student in any field of study/major in a participating college or university. 
  • The applicant must hold citizenship in a country outside the U.S. and not possess U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. 
  • The applicant must demonstrate interest and initiative in promoting intercultural learning and exchange.

 Suggested Reading: Best Cities in the USA for Overseas Students

American Association of University Women Scholarships 

The AAUW scholarship program is a prestigious and competitive opportunity for women from around the world who want to pursue graduate or postdoctoral studies in the United States. The program was established in 1917 and has since supported more than 3,600 women from over 150 countries. The program offers different types of awards, ranging from 20,000 USD to 50,000 USD, depending on the level and field of study. The program also provides mentoring, networking, and professional development opportunities for the recipients. The program aims to empower women and girls through education and leadership and to advance gender equity and social justice. The program is highly selective and considers academic achievement, commitment to women and girls, and potential impact as criteria for selection. The application deadline is November 15 every year.


  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent 
  • Be non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents, 
  • Applicants must have applied to their proposed institutions of study by the time of the application

East-West Center Scholarships and Fellowships 

The East-West Center (EWC) is an educational and research institution that promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the EWC offers a variety of short- and long-term academic scholarships and fellowships for students who are interested in studying, researching, or participating in leadership programs at the EWC and the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa (UHM). Some of the major programs include the EWC Graduate Degree Fellowship, the Asian Development Bank-Japan Scholarship Program, the US South Pacific Scholarship Program, and the POSCO Visiting Fellowship Program. These programs provide funding for tuition and fees, living expenses, health insurance, travel costs, and other benefits. The number of awards also depends on the program and the availability of funds but typically ranges from 10 to 50 per year. 


  • Be citizens of countries in the Asia-Pacific region 
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Have a high level of academic achievement
  • Have a strong interest in the EWC’s mission and vision

Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships 

The Fulbright-Nehru Scholarship program is a prestigious and competitive fellowship program that enables Indian citizens to pursue a master’s degree in the United States in various fields of study that are relevant to India’s development and bilateral cooperation with the U.S. The fields of study include Arts and Culture Management, Economics, Environmental Science/Studies, Higher Education Administration, International Affairs, International Legal Studies, Journalism and Mass Communication, etc. The program was established in 2008 as a result of a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and India to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation through educational and cultural exchange. The program is administered by the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), which is a binational organization that promotes mutual understanding between the two countries through educational exchange The program covers the cost of tuition, fees, living expenses, travel, and insurance for the duration of the fellowship. For the 2024-25 academic year, USIEF expects to offer approximately 100 Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships.  


  • The applicant must have completed an equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a recognized Indian university with at least 55% marks. 
  • The applicant must have at least three years of full-time professional work experience relevant to the proposed field of study by the application deadline. 
  • The applicant must demonstrate experience in leadership and community service. 
  • The applicant must not have another degree from a U.S. university or be enrolled in a U.S. degree program. 
  • The applicant must obtain an employer’s endorsement if employed. 

University Specific Scholarships

Most universities in the US consider students for financial aid during the application process only. This means that students have to apply for financial aid at the same time as they apply for admission, and they will receive their financial aid offer along with their admission decision. This allows students to compare the net cost of attending different universities and make an informed choice. However, some universities may have separate deadlines or processes for applying for certain types of financial aid, such as merit scholarships or departmental awards. 

Some of the most prominent university-specific scholarships in the US are 

Harvard Scholarships: The Harvard Scholarship is a need-based financial aid program that helps students from diverse backgrounds pursue their undergraduate education at Harvard University. The program covers 100% of the demonstrated financial need of the students, using a combination of grants, loans, work-study, and outside awards. The average need-based scholarship is over 50,000 USD per year. 

MIT Scholarships: The MIT Scholarship is a need-based grant that does not need to be repaid. It is awarded to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need and apply for financial aid through the CSS Profile and parental tax returns or income documentation. About 58% of MIT undergraduates receive the MIT Scholarship, with an average amount of 53,997 USD. 

Yale Scholarships: Yale awards scholarships to undergraduate students who have financial needs, based on information provided on the CSS Profile and FAFSA. The Yale Scholarship can vary from a few hundred dollars to over 70,000 USD per year; the average Yale need-based scholarship is over 50,000 USD.

Clark University Global Scholars Program: The Clark University Global Scholars Program was established in 2010 to build on Clark University’s long-standing commitment to providing a challenging education with a global focus. The program offers an undergraduate scholarship of 15,000 USD to 25,000 USD per year for four years, depending on the financial need of the student, as well as a paid internship or research assistantship of 2,500 USD during the summer after the sophomore or junior year. To be eligible for the program, applicants must be first-year students who have attended school overseas for at least four years and have demonstrated leadership potential and commitment to making a difference in the world.

Tips for Applying for Scholarships for Foreign Students in the USA

Start Early: Begin your scholarship search well in advance, as some application deadlines are a year or more before the academic year begins.  

Research Thoroughly: Identify scholarships that align with your academic goals, field of study, nationality, and other characteristics. Use scholarship search engines, university websites, and government resources.  

Meet Eligibility Requirements: Carefully review scholarship criteria and ensure you meet all the eligibility requirements before applying.  

Prepare a Strong Application: Pay close attention to application instructions, and submit a complete, well-organized application. This may include essays, transcripts, test scores, recommendation letters, and other documents.  

Customize Your Essays: Tailor your scholarship essays to each application. Highlight your achievements, aspirations, and how the scholarship will help you reach your goals.  

Request Strong Recommendations: Choose recommenders who know you well and can provide specific examples of your skills, achievements, and character.  

Follow Deadlines: Be aware of scholarship deadlines, and submit your applications well in advance to avoid last-minute issues.  

Proofread and Edit: Carefully proofread your application materials for grammar, spelling, and clarity. Errors can detract from your credibility.  

Apply for Multiple Scholarships: Don’t rely on just one scholarship. Apply to as many as you are eligible for to improve your chances of receiving funding.  

Seek Local Opportunities: Check with your home country’s government, educational institutions, and organizations for scholarship opportunities for studying in the USA.  

Attend Scholarship Workshops: If available, attend workshops or webinars on scholarship application processes to gain insights and tips.  

Prepare for Interviews: Some scholarships may require an interview. Be ready to discuss your goals, achievements, and the impact you hope to make.  

Stay Organized: Create a checklist to track application deadlines, documents, and responses from scholarship committees.  

Stay Informed: Keep up to date with changes in scholarship opportunities, and adjust your strategy accordingly.


In conclusion, there is no dearth of scholarships for foreign students in the USA. On the contrary, there are many opportunities for international students to receive financial aid from various sources, such as the US government, private organizations, and specific institutions. These scholarships cover full or partial tuition fees, living expenses, travel costs, and other benefits for students from different countries and fields of study. Therefore, international students who wish to pursue higher education in the USA should not be discouraged by the high costs, but rather explore the various scholarship options available to them. However, the process of applying for various scholarships can be extremely tedious. That’s why we are here! Reach out to us at OneApply, for further guidance regarding the same. Your free video call appointment is waiting! 

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Frequently Asked Questions

International students can apply for merit-based, need-based, and country-specific scholarships when studying in the USA.  

You can search for scholarships on university websites, scholarship databases, and through the U.S. government’s Fulbright program.

The application process varies by scholarship, but it often involves submitting academic records, essays, recommendation letters, and proof of English proficiency like TOEFL or IELTS scores.

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