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What Scholarships Options are Available to International Students?


One of the options that may be available to international students on an F1 visa or J1 visa to help fund their education in the United States are scholarships.

  • Scholarships range in size, anywhere from a few hundred dollars to covering all the costs of attendance.
  • Some are based on merit, and others are based on financial need.
  • While most scholarships in the United States are created for U.S. citizens, there are options for international students.

Scholarships are a choice for international students to find a funding option for their studies.

  • The benefit of a scholarship is that there are no conditions attached to the funds given.
  • The funds are not a loan, they do not need to be paid back.
  • They are given with the sole purpose to help a student pursue their education.

Some universities in the United States do offer financial aid for international students on F1 visas or J1 visas that are attending their school.

  • However, most of the financial aid that is available for international students is allocated for graduate studies in the form of assistantships or fellowships.
  • It is less common for undergraduate aid to be available to international students, so any scholarships that are available will be very competitive.
  • Ultimately, each university is different, so international students should consult with each prospective university to see the options that they may have as either a graduate student or undergraduate student, and how to best attain them.

Some U.S. universities will have merit-based scholarships, which are granted based on remarkable skills, talents, or abilities.

  • An international student’s academic record, TOEFL scores, ability with the arts, music, athletics or other qualities could all be considered.
  • Certain merit-based scholarships will require certain skills or achievements, so international students will have to exhibit outstanding ability in those areas.

While less common, some universities will award need-based scholarships based upon financial need to international students.

  • Also, within a school, specific departments may have funds set aside to help international students in that department with need or talent.
  • We recommend that international students consult with their university and department to see what options there may be.

Since scholarships offered by U.S. universities are limited for international students, they are very competitive.

  • An international student wishing to give themselves the best chance at being awarded a scholarship opportunity from a school should apply as early as they can in the application process.
  • This will allow them to be eligible for scholarships as soon as possible.
  • If an international student waits to apply, the scholarships may have already been given out by the time they are even eligible.

Outside of school scholarship options, there are several organizations in the United States that offer scholarships to international students.

  • Please be aware that there can be some dishonest scholarship offers by certain fraudulent organizations.
  • Do not send money, bank account numbers, or credit numbers to any organization that promises a scholarship in return.
  • For more information about dishonest organizations and scholarships please visit the U.S. Department of Education and EduPASS.

One way to search for U.S. organizations that offer scholarships to international students is through scholarship databases. They can be a great resource as they aggregate scholarship options into one location. Listed below are a few free online scholarship database resources:

Please note, that scholarships from U.S. organizations are not limited to this list. Please research fully through search engines like Google to find additional scholarship options.

Another option to search for scholarship opportunities lies in organizations from an international student’s home country. For instance, there are scholarships available to Indian students who are planning to study in the United States. Often this information can be found with a quick Google search, for example, here’s a List of Scholarships for Indian Students to Study in the USA:

For further research on scholarship opportunities for Indians studying abroad please visit India Education. We recommend researching as much as you can, and Google search can be a great resource to find opportunities available.

Scholarships can be found from several sources, the U.S. university an international student is attending, organizations within the U.S. and organizations from an international student’s home country.

  • While scholarships for international students are less common, by applying early in the application process, inquiring with the university of choice, and researching organizations in the U.S. and at home, an international student can give themselves the best chance to receive a scholarship.

If you have any questions about scholarships, international student loans, or other options for finding funding to study in the U.S. please visit us at We’d be happy to help you search and compare options for education loans or study loans, too. Please send us an email at if you have any questions! We are happy to help.


Nathan Treadwell

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