The United States isn't just a melting pot of cultures in its communities—it’s a melting pot of colleges and universities too! And the number of international students who enroll in higher education in the US is growing every 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's a 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—we've researched a few 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 scholarships for international students, but this is a list of popular ones that are frequently mentioned by major scholarship search sites.
Scholarships and fellowships for international undergraduate students
- NextGen Scholarship: This $1,000 scholarship from P.E.R.K. Consulting was created for international and non-resident students who come to the United States in hopes of pursuing higher education and creating a better life for themselves and their families. High school seniors and current undergraduate students with a minimum 3.0 GPA who reside in Washington, DC; Maryland; or Virginia—or students who are accepted to a two- or four-year college located within the area—are eligible for this award. The scholarship opens in February and closes on March 31.
- Microsoft Tuition 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. In addition, Microsoft’s Diversity Conference Scholarship is for students enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD programs in a STEM field. Students who receive this scholarship are eligible to receive paid registration to one of several diversity conferences.
- Young Women in Public Affairs Award: Zonta International's Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Award recognizes young women who demonstrate leadership skills and a commitment to public service and civic causes while encouraging them to continue their participation in public and political life. Female students ages 16–19 on April 1 each year are eligible to apply. Applicants must also be studying at a secondary school, college, or university in a Zonta district/region (or be a citizen of a Zonta country) and have an active commitment to volunteerism; experience in local government, student government, or paid/unpaid workplace leadership roles; and volunteer leadership achievements. Thirty-seven international awards of $5,000 are available.
Scholarships and fellowships for international graduate/postgraduate students
- AAUW International Fellowships: The American Association of University Women (AAUW) aims to empower students by promoting equity and education for women. Their international fellowships are awarded to female graduate and postgraduate students who wish to study or do research in the United States then return to their home countries to become leaders in business, government, academia, community activism, the arts, or scientific fields. Preference is given to women who have shown prior commitment to the advancement of women and girls. Between $20,000–$50,000 is awarded each year. Applications open on August 1, and the deadline for 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.
- Fulbright Foreign Language Teacher Assistant (FLTA): Fulbright offers another graduate assistantship 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.
- 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.
- 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. The program is open to applications between January and March each year. Please note that awards are structured as half grant, half loan—so 50% of the award amount needs to be paid back by the recipient.
- 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 (UICC) offers various fellowships and grants to students worldwide who are pursuing medical careers in cancer control. Opportunities include a technical fellowship (from two weeks to two months long; $2,200–$5,800); Yamagiwa-Yoshida Memorial International Cancer Study Grants (three-month fellowships worth up to $10,000); virtual fellowships; and more. Please visit UICC's website to learn more about deadlines and eligibility requirements.
Scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate international students
- Western Union Scholars Program: The Western Union Foundation offers scholarships for two different cohorts: the Western Union Global Scholars scholarship is for international students from low-income communities studying in Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom, while the Project Finish Line scholarship is for students who identify as Black, indigenous, or people of color studying STEM or Business fields in the US. Applicants must be in their junior or senior year of their undergraduate or graduate degree program. They must also be nominated by a representative from their higher education institution.
- SBB Research Group STEM Scholarship: Students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate STEM programs full-time at a college or university are eligible for this scholarship, including international students. Applicants must submit an essay of 500 words or fewer on their most significant STEM experiences and how they'll use STEM principles to improve the world. A total of 12 $2,500 scholarships are available throughout the year, with one awarded each month. Applications are accepted year-round on a rolling basis, so there are no deadlines to adhere to.
- Women in STEM Scholarship: This scholarship from Zonta International was established to encourage women to pursue education, careers, and leadership roles in STEM fields. Women of any age and nationality who are pursuing a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics at an accredited university, college, or institute (including online schools) are eligible. Applicants must also be living or studying in a Zonta district/region and enrolled in at least the second year of an undergraduate program through the final year of a master’s program at the time the application. One candidate from each of Zonta’s 31 districts and one region will receive an award of $5,000. The organization also offers a Women in Business Scholarship.
We’ll keep adding scholarships and fellowships for international students to this list as we find good ones! In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with us if there are any opportunities you think we should include, and check out our Scholarship Search tool to find even more awards you may be eligible for.