Finding the right financial aid for your university studies | Top Universities

Finding the right financial aid for your university studies

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Craig OCallaghan

Updated May 31, 2024



From scholarships to loans, find the right financial aid option for you

Sponsored by IE University 

Financing your university studies can be a major concern, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Understanding the various financial aid options available can therefore ease the burden and allow you to pursue your chosen university degree without compromise. 

Here, we explore five key financial aid options and look at what IE University offers prospective students in each of these areas.  


Merit-based awards are granted to students based on their academic, artistic, or athletic achievements, rather than financial need. These awards are designed to recognise and reward high-performing students.  

For instance, all undergraduate applicants to IE University are automatically considered for the IE Academic Excellence Awards, with no separate application required. This award considers the academic trajectory of the candidate, reviewing their previous exam results and likely performance.  

At postgraduate level, candidates are automatically considered for the IE High Potential Award, which also considers academic excellence. 

Merit-based awards can cover a significant portion of tuition fees, and sometimes even additional costs like books and housing. Maintaining the award often requires students to meet specific academic standards throughout their university tenure. 


Scholarships are another vital source of financial aid that can come from universities, private organisations, non-profits, and government agencies. Unlike loans, scholarships do not have to be repaid. They can be based on a variety of criteria including academic performance, financial need, community service, leadership skills, and specific talents or interests. 

IE University offers a range of scholarships to students, including the IE Women in STEM Scholarship and regional scholarships for Europe, Latin America, North America, Asia-Pacific and Middle East & Africa.  

The university also has several partner organisations which offer additional scholarships such as the IE-US Military Veterans Fellowship and IE Queen Rania Foundation Scholarship for Women Leaders. 

Applying for scholarships typically involves submitting essays, letters of recommendation, and proof of eligibility. Consistently seeking out and applying for scholarships can significantly reduce the financial burden of university education. 


Tuition fee loans are borrowed funds that students use to pay for their education. These loans must be repaid with interest, but they provide immediate access to funds that students may not have otherwise.  

In many countries, government-backed student loans offer favourable terms, including lower interest rates and flexible repayment options. 

IE University collaborates with several leading financial institutions such as UniCredit to offer eligible students the opportunity to finance their education with a loan. Many students choose to fund part or all of their tuition fees with a loan, with some agreements allowing them to also cover living expenses. 

You should also check whether you’re eligible for government or regional loans offered by your home country. 

Payment plans

Tuition fee payment plans provide students and their families with a way to pay tuition in installments rather than a lump sum. This can make managing university costs more feasible by spreading payments over several months or terms. Universities typically offer these plans directly, allowing for interest-free or low-interest payments. 

IE University’s tuition payment plans allow you to pay for tuition across several consecutive monthly payments, on a interest-fee plan which doesn’t require pre-approval or a credit check.  

Students must pay a non-refundable admin fee of €400 if spreading payment across more than three months.  

For many families, this option provides a manageable way to handle expenses without taking on large amounts of debt. It’s important to ensure that payments are made on time to avoid penalties. 

Employer sponsorship

Employer sponsorship or support is a way for postgraduate students, especially working adults, to finance their education. Many employers offer tuition assistance programs as part of their employee benefits packages. These programs may cover partial or full tuition costs for courses related to the employee’s job or career advancement. 

Most common when studying a part-time master’s degree, employer sponsorship will obviously depend more on your employer than the university you’re attending. 

Applicants to IE University should be aware that, if you are employed by a company in Spain, your part-time master’s degree may be eligible for subsidisation through the State Foundation for Training in Employment (FUNDAE).