The United States isn't just a melting pot of cultures in its communities—it’s a melting pot in its colleges and universities too! The number of international students who enroll in higher education in the US is growing every year. In fact, enrollment saw a record high of 1.1 million international students in US schools in the 2019–2020 school year.
Of course, in order to experience a US college or university education, international students must be ready to pay big bucks, often at a higher tuition rate than American citizens and/or with less financial aid available to them. Although there is a common stereotype that all international students are wealthy, many struggle to afford their US university education. Also, the US government doesn’t offer very much federal financial aid to non-citizens, making finding alternative sources of funding even harder.
To make your life as an international student easier—and your US university education more affordable—below you’ll find a list of non-school-specific scholarships and fellowships aimed at international students studying in the United States. There are hundreds of other private scholarships as well as college-specific international scholarships, but this is a list of popular ones that are frequently mentioned by major scholarship search sites.
Scholarships and fellowships for international undergraduate students
- Future Global Leaders Fellowship: This fellowship is awarded to 20 exceptional first-generation college students from around the world who wish to join the Fortis Society, “the world’s first private network of diverse leaders committed to one another’s success and to a better world,” upon graduation. This three-year fellowship gives ambitious students a chance to grow their professional networks and gain invaluable global leadership training. The application typically opens up in November and has a January 31 deadline each year.
- NextGen Scholarship: This $1,000 scholarship from P.E.R.K. Consulting was created for international students and non-resident students who come to the United States in hopes of pursuing higher education and to create a better life for themselves and their families. Students who reside in Washington, DC; Maryland; or Virginia and who are accepted into a college located within the area are eligible for this award. The scholarship opened in February of 2021 and will close in March 31, 2021.
- Microsoft Scholarship Program: Microsoft offers scholarships for students who are attending a four-year university in the US, Canada, or Mexico. The tuition scholarship is open to students pursuing computer science, computer engineering, or a related STEM degree and who have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Microsoft’s Diversity Conference Scholarship is for students enrolled in a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD program in a STEM field. Students who receive this scholarship are eligible to receive paid registration to one of several diversity conferences.
- Laureate Global Fellowship: The Laureate Global Fellowship was launched in 2001, with the goal of nurturing 20 extraordinary young leaders to incite change in their communities and countries. Applicants aged 18–29 who have founded or cofounded social ventures for at least one year are eligible to apply. Through this program, participants are mentored, get the chance to attend a weeklong retreat, and receive yearlong individualized support. Although on hiatus for the time being with the pandemic, this fellowship will return within the coming year.
- Western Union Foundation Global Scholarship: Also known as WU Scholars, this program is for students pursuing a degree in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and business/entrepreneurship. A scholarship of $2,500 is awarded toward tuition and other school fees, and the annual scholarship typically has a deadline in early April.
Scholarships and fellowships for international postgraduate/graduate students
- AAUW International Fellowships: The American Association of University Women (AAUW) aims to empower women by promoting equity and education for women. Their international fellowships are awarded to postgraduate students who wish to study or do research in the United States. Preference is given to women who have shown prior commitment to the advancement of women and girls. Funding provided means this organization gives away between $18,000–$30,000. The deadline for 2021 submission is November 15.
- Fulbright Foreign Student Program: Fulbright offers a program for graduate students and young professionals who wish to study and conduct research in the United States. Candidates will be placed at a US institution based on their field and learning objectives. Students must be citizens of countries that have a relationship with the Fulbright institution in order to apply.
- Rotary Peace Fellowships: Rotary awards up to 50 fellowships for master’s degree programs and 80 for certificate studies around the world. In order to apply, students must demonstrate commitment to issues related to international peace, have excellent leadership skills, and be proficient in English. Other specific qualifications apply, depending on the fellowship.
- Fulbright Foreign Language Teacher Assistant (FLTA): Fulbright also offers another graduate program where non-US citizens can teach English as a foreign language in select US schools to non-native speakers. Participants have the opportunity to grow in their teaching skills as well as experience American culture. Applicants should confer with their country-specific page on the Fulbright website for more details about program availability.
- AKDN International Scholarship Programme: The Aga Khan Foundation provides scholarships to postgrad students from select developing countries who are in financial need and have demonstrated a consistent excellent academic record. The foundation gives priority to students who are pursuing a master’s but will also consider applications for PhD programs. Each year the program is open to applications between January 1 and March 31.
- Amelia Earhart Fellowship: This fellowship is awarded annually to 35 women who are pursuing PhD/doctoral degrees in aerospace-related fields. Its goal is to increase the number of women in physics, computer science, and engineering. The application process opens up yearly in July.
- UICC Fellowships and Grants: The Union for International Cancer Control offers various fellowships and grants to students worldwide who are pursuing a medical career in cancer control. They offer a technical fellowship (one-month fellowship worth up to $3,400) and the Yamagiwa-Yoshida Memorial International Cancer Study (three-month fellowship worth up to $10,000).
We’ll keep adding scholarships and fellowships for international students to this list as we find good ones! In the mean time, feel free to get in touch if there are any awards you think we should include.