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10 Valuable Scholarships for International Students at US Universities

Earning your degree at a US university is more attainable with these scholarships, including many institutional awards for international students.

Navigating the financial landscape of American higher education can be daunting for international students. With the average annual cost of tuition and living expenses often exceeding $40,000, the dream of attending a university in the United States may seem distant for many. Scholarships play a pivotal role in bridging this financial gap, offering not just funds but a beacon of hope for those aspiring to earn their degree abroad. Scholarships for studying abroad demystify the complexity of educational expenses and unlock a world of potential for talented students from across the globe.

Scholarship opportunities for international students

With so many opportunities out there, it can be difficult to find awards specifically for international students wishing to pursue their academic goals in the US. That’s why we’ve gathered 10 valuable scholarship programs that provide gateways to opportunities and crucial financial support, making the prestigious and transformative experience of studying in the US more accessible. Whether you're an undergraduate or graduate student—an artist, scientist, or entrepreneur in the making—there’s likely a scholarship tailored to your academic journey and career aspirations. Here are a examples of national and institutional scholarship programs you can find at universities across the country.

1. Onsi Sawiris Scholarship Program

The Onsi Sawiris Scholarship Program offers fully funded awards to cover tuition and living expenses for students from Egypt who are seeking to study specific fields at leading US universities. The scholarships can be used at the University of Chicago, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, or Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Undergraduates must be pursuing Engineering (Computer Engineering and Computer Science not included), Economics, Finance, or Management, while graduate students must be pursuing a master’s in Engineering or an MBA. Applicants must be Egyptian nationals with excellent academic records and leadership potential. TOEFL scores, GRE scores (for grad school applicants), and a significant record of extracurricular activities are also required.

Related: How to Find the Most Aid During Your US University Search

2. Fulbright Scholar Program

One of the most prestigious scholarship programs in the US is the Fulbright Scholar Program, which offers international students a chance to engage in graduate studies, research, or teaching worldwide. The scholarship offers awards up to $25,000 for one academic year to applicants who have completed their undergraduate education and demonstrate both academic and professional excellence. The application involves a rigorous selection process, including interviews, project proposals, and evidence of achievements.

3. Fulbright Foreign Students Scholarship

The Foreign Students Scholarship is another Fulbright opportunity specifically designed for international students to pursue graduate degrees. The award offers full funding, with varying amounts depending on the program you’re pursuing. Eligibility criteria also vary by country but generally include a strong academic record and commitment to returning to one's home country to share knowledge and experiences. The application process is managed by binational Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or US Embassies.

4. Yale University scholarships

Yale University offers several different scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students, with awards typically ranging from $50,000–$70,000. These scholarships are renewable annually, and applicants are chosen based on academic merit and financial need, with automatic consideration upon admission to Yale and a completed CSS Profile as well as the institutional financial aid application.

Related: What You Need to Know About the CSS Profile

5. Boise State University scholarships

Boise State University offers a variety of merit-based scholarships for first-time undergraduate, graduate, and transfer international students—including the Global Excellence Award, Global Distinction Award, Transfer Treasure Scholarship, Graduate Gem Scholarship, A Better Life Scholarship, and more. Each opportunity has its own requirements, and students may have to pursue a certain major or be from a certain country to be eligible. Be sure to read each scholarship’s requirements and processes carefully; some will be automatically considered with an application for admission, and some require additional applications.

6. Boston University Presidential Scholarship

Boston University’s Presidential Scholarship recognizes extraordinary academic performance and leadership ability among incoming first-year students. The award is worth $25,000 annually and is renewable for up to four years. No separate scholarship application is required, and only the top academic achievers among the admission applicant pool are awarded. First-year international students at BU are also eligible for the Trustee Scholarship and the Alumni & Friends Scholarships.

7. Berea College first-year funding

Berea College—a private liberal arts institution in Kentucky—offers a unique opportunity, admitting only academically promising students with limited economic resources and not charging any tuition. Berea extends this offer to international students for the first year of enrollment, covering 100% of international student expenses. You are then expected to contribute $1,000 per year toward your expenses, which can be earned through summer jobs offered by the College. These first-year awards are a combination of financial aid and scholarships that cover the costs of tuition, room, and board. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and academic potential to be eligible through their admission application and financial aid forms.

8. Cornell University financial aid

Cornell University is another institution that offers need-based financial aid to international students. Amounts for award packages vary but always meet 100% of each student’s demonstrated financial need. Admission to Cornell as an undergraduate is required (note that admission is “need-aware,” meaning admission is granted based on your and/or your family’s ability to pay for educational costs) as well as CSS Profile submission and supporting documentation.

9. Clark Global Scholarship Program

Offered by Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, the Clark Global Scholarship Program is for first-year international students seeking undergraduate degrees. Awards range from $15,000–$25,000 annually over four years. To be eligible, students must demonstrate high academic achievement, leadership qualities, and financial need. Submission of a financial aid profile and an application essay is also required. 

10. Illinois Wesleyan University scholarships

Illinois Wesleyan University offers both need- and merit-based scholarships to international students, including two full-tuition President’s Scholarships that are awarded each year to highly qualified international first-years. Other renewable opportunities range from $16,000–$30,000 annually and are given based on academic excellence, character, talent, interests, and personal achievements. International students are automatically considered for these scholarships when they apply for admission.

Related: Scholarships for International Students: How to Find Them and Other Top Tips

Scholarships unlock a world of opportunity for international students pursuing their academic dreams in the US. From prestigious nationwide programs to university- and field-specific scholarships, these awards empower talented individuals by bridging the financial gap to an enriching education. The key to scholarship success lies in early research, meticulous attention to detail, compelling application essays, and thorough proofreading. Take the initiative to explore the scholarship landscape and unlock the door to an exceptional US education.

Need help finding more scholarships? This expert has more advice for you on how to search and apply for scholarships you’re eligible for.

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