Scholarships and International Students
While many international students wish to come to the United States in order to receive a higher education, many may be intimidated by the massive expense accompanying that higher education. Thankfully, there are options available to help international students fund an education in the United States. Two common ways international students can fund an education in the United States are through international student loans and scholarships. For more information on international student loans, please follow this link. A scholarship, by definition, is a payment made to support a student’s education, awarded on the basis of academic or some other achievement.
What is The Difference Between an International Student Loan and a Scholarship?
With an international student loan, you have to go through an application process, get approved by a lender, and eventually pay that loan back. You, or your cosigner, are liable to pay that loan back. Scholarships for international students, on the other hand, are awarded. Whatever funds are awarded to you through a scholarship are yours with relatively no strings attached. Some scholarships may require you to play for a team, or maintain a certain GPA, for example, but you will never have to pay a scholarship back. The funds are gifted to you for the sole purpose of helping you pursue an education. Whoever grants the study abroad scholarship does not profit from the scholarship – it is a gift.
What Types of Scholarships are There?
The two most common types of scholarship are need based and merit based. Of the two, merit based are likely more common. Merit based scholarships are based on a student’s skills and/or talents. A very common example of merit-based scholarships in the United States is athletic scholarships, which reward exceptional athletes with a fully funded education. Those athletes, in turn, then play on the school’s athletic team for the sport that they are exceptional at. However, athletic scholarships are rare for international students. Athletic scholarships were mentioned in order to give an example of scholarships in general. There are also musical and art merit based scholarships.
Most prevalent to international students may be merit-based international scholarships based on academics. This can include exceptional GMAT or GRE scores, or even TOEFL scores. It can also include exceptional GPA and past academic performance. Overall, merit based international scholarships require skills or achievements, based on the specific scholarship, so in order to get awarded that scholarship, you will need to display exceptional skills and/or achievement in that area.
Need based study abroad scholarships may also be available, but these are somewhat less common than merit based ones. As the name suggests, need based scholarships are set aside for those who are in dire need of financial aid, not for those who display skill or achievement. Usually, schools have the funds for need-based scholarships set aside for different departments. If you are seeking a need-based scholarship, please contact your school and department to see what may be available.
Where Can I Apply For a Scholarship?
Please keep in mind that simply because you apply for a scholarship does not mean that it will be awarded to you. There may be many students applying for the same scholarship that you are applying for. Scholarships are an area of high competition, so make sure that you are more than qualified for the one that you are applying for. One suggestion that we have is to find and apply for a scholarship(s) as early as possible. This will allow you to be eligible for the award as early as possible, and lessens the chance of someone being awarded that scholarship before you even apply.
Also, please note that schools and universities are not the only places to receive a scholarship from. There are many organizations across the United States that offer scholarships to international students. These scholarships vary in size, but it may be likely that you can find at least one you are comfortable applying for!
While scholarships can help a great deal of international students, you must be aware in your search of fraudulent scholarship applications trying to steal your identity and/or financial information. A good rule of thumb to follow when applying for scholarships is to not send any financial identifying information (i.e. bank account numbers) to any application or organization that asks for such information. For a list of some fraudulent organizations, please visit this link from the US Department of Education.
Understanding education loans and scholarships for international students can be tough, but getting an international student loan can be even tougher. Nomad Credit is happy to help you navigate the difficult process and help you find the loan that you need.
Nomad Credit can help you find your funding options. Please visit us at www.nomadcredit.com to search for your student loan (also known as education loan) options. Please don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.