It is little secret that the US is one of the most expensive nations in which to pursue higher education. But don't let that put you off, as there are hundreds of opportunities to gain valuable funding for your studies.
As an international student you won’t be eligible for much of the funding intended for US nationals. However, as US universities prioritize internationalization, the number of international scholarships to study in the US has been growing, and this trend seems likely to continue.
Below is a selection of US scholarships for international students, some funded by the US government, some funded by private organizations and some funded by specific institutions. Good luck with your applications!
Government-funded US scholarships for international students
- Fulbright Foreign Student Program – Perhaps the most popular of government-funded US scholarships for international students, Fulbright offers scholarships for graduate students, young professionals and artists to study in the US for one year or more. Open to international students in all fields excluding medicine.
- Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program – This is a non-degree scholarship program for international experienced professionals wishing to undertake 10 months of academic study in the US. Although the funding doesn’t support degree qualifications, students are able to study and develop their knowledge at academic institutions across the nation.
Non-governmental US scholarships for international students
- Abbey Road Summer Scholarships – Offering US scholarships worth US$1,000 for language and art students, as well as US$500 fellowships for ‘summer enrichment’ at institutions within the states.
- The Next Gen Scholarship Fund – Scholarships to study in the US for non-residents and international students. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA (grade point average) and be enrolled on a program at an accredited university within Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia. Worth US$1,000.
- Tortuga Backpacks Study Abroad Scholarship – Awarded twice a year to passionate international students to study in the US. Worth US$1,000.
David P. Shapiro Annual Leukaemia Scholarships – Two annual scholarships, worth US$1,000 each, open to current or prospective students in the US diagnosed with leukaemia.
For Asian students:
- East-West Center Scholarships and Fellowships – Scholarships to study in the US within selected institutions, aimed at international students from the Asia-Pacific region.
- Japan-United States Friendship Commission – An initiative run by Japan and the US, the commission offers grant programs to Japanese students wishing to study in the US (and vice versa).
For female students:
- AAUW International Fellowships – Fellowships offered by the American Association of University Women for female international students to study in the US.
- MIT-Zaragoza Women in Logistics and SCM Scholarship – US scholarships for female students of any age, ethnicity or nationality, to study at the Zaragoza Logistics Center at MIT.
- More scholarships for minority female students are listed here.
For graduate students:
- Rotary Peace Fellowships – Scholarships to study in the US awarded to master’s degree students studying within one of Rotary’s ‘Peace Centers’ (such as at Duke University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).
For students from developing countries:
- Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme – Scholarships for postgraduate international students hailing from countries in Africa.
- Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders – Scholarships for African students between the ages of 25 and 35 from sub-Saharan African countries to study in the US and gain leadership and business skills.
- MasterCard Foundation Scholarships – Scholarships for African students to study in the US and Africa.
- For more scholarships for students from developing regions, visit this listing.
University-specific US scholarships for international students
- American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship – Undergraduate scholarships to study in the US at American University in Washington DC. For international students showing leadership potential.
- Brandeis University Wien International Scholarship Program – Funding opportunity for high-achieving students with an interest in student community contribution.
- Clark University Global Scholars Program – Scholarships of no less than $10,000 and a guaranteed $2,500 taxable stipend for a paid internship are available for first-year international applicants.
- Emory University Needs-Based Scholarship Program – Funding opportunities for international students at Emory University. Students must demonstrate financial need.
- Harvard University Scholarships – Harvard offers a good range of international scholarships for students from all over the globe. However, competition is fierce.
- Illinois State University International Awards – Illinois State offers tuition waivers, merit awards and graduate assistantships to incoming international students.
- Iowa State University International Merit Scholarships – Merit-based scholarship program for high-achieving international students.
- Michigan State University International Scholarships – Various grants and scholarships for international students to study in the US at MSU.
- New York University Wagner International Scholarships – US scholarships to study at NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
- The Art Institutes Scholarship Program – Competitions and scholarships for international students to study at various Arts Institutes in universities across the US.
- The New School Competition – The New School offers the chance to win international scholarships for bachelor’s programs in liberal arts subjects at its campus in New York.
- University of Arkansas International Scholarships – Funding opportunities for international students of varying backgrounds and nationalities.
- University of Minnesota International Excellence Scholarships – Two scholarships of differing amounts allocated to international full-time students at UM.
- University of Oregon International Scholarships – US scholarships to study at the University of Oregon, aimed at international students from around the world.
- University of Wisconsin Superior Non-resident Tuition Waiver Program – Tuition waiver for international students demonstrating financial need at the University of Wisconsin.
For further advice and funding opportunities, consider contacting the public affairs department at the US embassy in the capital city of your home country. Often an educational advisor will be on hand to provide you with funding resources and further scholarship information.
This article was first published in August 2014. It was updated in December 2015.
Want more content like this? Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.