Most international students fund their U.S. studies through personal or family savings. The more scholarship money you receive, the less you and your family will have to pay using savings or loans. Learn the basic facts about scholarships, then browse examples of popular scholarship opportunities.
What it is: Money that you do NOT need to pay back as long as you meet all requirements
Who awards scholarships: U.S. colleges and universities, government programs, non-profit organizations, companies, religious groups. Some ESL programs may award scholarships, but it’s less common. Contact the Financial Aid Office at the college or ESL program you are considering.
Criteria for applying: Often based on financial need, merit and achievement, citizenship or nationality, club membership, personal identity or affiliation (such as disability, religion, ethnicity).
Can help you pay for: Tuition, school fees, text books, school supplies, health insurance, rent, airfare. Some scholarships will be paid directly to your U.S. school to cover only tuition and fees. Others are awarded in the form of a check which you can cash.
Scholarship Tip – Although there are some scholarships, grants and other types of funding designed for people with disabilities, people with disabilities can apply for ANY scholarship or grant if they meet the other requirements.
The following organizations award scholarships which international students may use at any accredited U.S. school unless otherwise noted.
- EducationUSA – Opportunity Funds are open to people from select countries.
- College Women’s Association of Japan – Open to visually impaired men and women from Japan.
- American Association of University Women – Open to women pursuing graduate or post-graduate studies.
- Margaret McNamara Education Grants – Open to women from developing countries who are currently studying in the U.S.
- P.E.O. – Open to women pursuing graduate studies.
- Rotary Peace Fellowship at Duke University – Open to students majoring in Peace Studies or related majors; cannot be used at other U.S. institutions.
Do you qualify for any of the suggested scholarships above? Make sure you read the eligibility and application requirements carefully before you apply.
If you do not qualify for any of them, visit our page on Top 10 Links for Your Exchange Funding Search for more ideas or check out the Related Links on this page to visit websites that allow you to search for scholarships. You can narrow your search based on things like where in the U.S. you want to study, your academic subject, and more. Some of them even allow you to search for disability-related scholarships!
Scholarship Tip – Are you already enrolled at a U.S. school as an international student and need more financial aid? Check financial aid resources based in your host state or community – just make sure to ask whether non-U.S. citizens/international students are eligible.