Graduate Scholarships for International Students

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Are there Graduate Scholarships for International Students?

International students interested in attending graduate school in the U.S. have the opportunity to apply for scholarships, which provide free funding that doesn’t require repayment if the terms are met. 

Numerous scholarships cater to non-U.S. students seeking master’s, PhD, or postgraduate certificate programs in the U.S. Additionally, there are specific scholarships available for international students pursuing different levels of education, such as master’s degrees or doctoral studies.

On the other hand, there are scholarships designed for U.S. students aspiring to pursue graduate degrees abroad, like the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships for studying at Oxford University. In this context, a U.S. student becomes an international student when they pursue their education outside the country. 

An international student (for admissions and financial aids purposes) into the U.S. is

  • Not a U.S. citizen
  • Not a permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Does not have a refugee visa
  • DACA recipient (in some cases)

Types of Graduate Scholarships for International Students

There are different kinds of scholarships that international grad students might look for.

University scholarships. Some schools offer scholarships to grad students from other countries. Financial scholarships. Usually, these awards go to people with a high financial need. But they may also check out your GPA. Merit scholarships. These may look at financial facts but want students with strong minds and high GPA or GRE scores. Country based scholarships. These awards may only be available for people in certain countries Privately funded scholarships. Often from businesses or foundations with funds set aside for certain groups (E.g. minority groups, by major) Part scholarships. These may take the form of a contest, sweeps or give away (E.g. Scholarship Points)

How can I apply for an international scholarship for graduate students?

To apply for one of these scholarship, you need to meet certain criteria. And apply on time!

That said, eligibility varies from one scholarship to the next. If you apply for a university scholarship, you may need to have:

  • The U.S. equivalent of a bachelor’s degree (for acceptance into a master’s program)
  • The U.S. equivalent of a master’s degree (for acceptance into a PhD program)
  • Passing scores on an English proficiency exam (TOEFL / IELTS)

To decide who gets a scholarship, many providers also look at a student from all sides. Academic achievement, leadership, and financial need are common things that are considered. You may also need to be studying in a certain field with a track record of making a difference.

Why Consider Graduate Scholarships for International Students?

Around 1,056,165 international students are currently enrolled in U.S. schools, making a significant contribution of $40.1 billion to the U.S. economy, while also enriching campuses and workplaces with diverse cultural perspectives. 

Graduate students aspiring to study in the U.S. encounter various challenges, including dealing with unfavorable exchange rates to U.S. dollars, facing out-of-state costs, obtaining visas, and ensuring secure housing and other essential details. 

In the U.S., the tuition fees students pay for graduate school often vary based on their residency status. If you are a resident of the state where you study, you qualify for in-state tuition, which averages around $12,394 at public institutions. 

On the other hand, if you are not a resident, you are required to pay out-of-state costs, which can be higher. Currently, the average cost of graduate school at a private institution is approximately $26,621. 

Which U.S. Schools Give Graduate Scholarships to International Students?

Many U.S. schools give scholarships to int’l grad students. Here are 5 of them:

Capella U, online. Capella Progress Rewards are scholarships for eligible new students and are not need based. Value: $3,000 to $20,000. Walden U, online. Walden awards up to $25,000. They fund grad study in K through 12 or public policy. American U, Washington DC. AU offers merit based awards which int’l students may apply for. U of Southern California. USC offers a wide range of scholarships in many disciplines of grad study. NYU, NY. NYU offers Wagner Scholarships which are merit based awards.

11 Graduate Scholarships for International Students for 2024

1 Fulbright Foreign Student Program

Every year, the Fulbright Program grants up to $50,000 per year to approximately 4,000 foreign students. The selection process is based on merit, but eligibility criteria and the selection process differ from country to country. 

Fulbright follows an annual application cycle, typically opening about fifteen months before the start of the grant, although there may be some exceptions.

Amount: Varies

Deadline: The deadline is about 11 or 12 months before the grant’s start date.

Requirements: Preferred students may need to meet a wide range of criteria. Some relate to academic merit. While others speak to project feasibility, and available grant funds. Non U.S. citizens with legal residency status in the U.S. are not eligible for Fulbright grants.

2 Rotary Peace Fellowships

Every year, Rotary offers up to 50 fellowships for master’s degrees and an additional 50 fellowships for professional development certificate programs. 

These prestigious awards provide global leaders with the opportunity to study peace, conflict, and security issues at one of the Rotary Peace centers 

The grants offer comprehensive financial support of up to $50,000 per year, covering tuition, fees, room and board, round trip transportation, as well as all internship and field study expenses. 

Amount: up to $50,000 per year

Deadline: The 2025-26 Rotary Peace Fellowship application will be available online in February 2024

Requirements:  Master’s degree applicants need at least three years of full time work in a related field. Or volunteer experience and a bachelor’s degree. Their program lasts 15 to 24 months and includes a 2 to 3 month self designed field study. Certificate applicants need at least five years of full time work in a related field. Or volunteer work. You’ll also need to furnish a CV. This program is for the seasoned leader who wants to gain hands on tools to promote peace.

3 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program celebrates the valuable contributions of immigrants and their children to the United States. Each year, they choose 30 New Americans who demonstrate the potential to make substantial contributions to US society, culture, or their academic disciplines. These outstanding graduate students receive financial support of up to $90,000 over two years, and they also become part of a supportive and enduring community of New American Fellows. 

Amount: up to $90,000

Deadline: Oct 26

Requirements:  Recipients are immigrants or their children. The Fellowship supports one to two years of grad study in any field. It can be in any advanced degree granting program in the U.S.

4 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

The Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship offers approximately 36 fellowships each year, open to all U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents, and DACA recipients. The program aims to provide one year of financial support to doctoral candidates working on their dissertations, with a focus on those who demonstrate great potential as future scholars and educators. 

Recipients of this fellowship will receive a one-year stipend of $25,000, along with an invitation to the Conference of Ford Fellows and access to Ford Fellow Regional Liaisons. 

Amount: $25,000

Deadline: January 7

Requirements: Open to all U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. permanent residents and DACA recipients.

5 Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program aims to cultivate Africa’s future leaders, with a preference for students who possess excellent academic records and a strong commitment to creating positive impacts in their communities. 

The award’s total value is approximately $50,000, although the number of available awards may vary. The program offers comprehensive support, encompassing financial assistance for tuition fees, books, and other educational materials, as well as social and academic support to the selected scholars. 

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Depends on the institution

Requirements: Each partner has its own criteria. But, for a grad (master’s) degree, students must be 35 years old or under at the time they apply.

6 Global Citizen Scholarship

MPower Financing is a mission-driven fintech company and a leading provider of global educational loans, with a dedicated focus on supporting international students in achieving their career aspirations. 

Annually, they offer several scholarship programs, and their flagship initiative is the Global Citizen Scholarship, featuring three prestigious awards: a $5,000 scholarship, along with $3,000 and $2,000 scholarships. 

These esteemed scholarships will be granted to one outstanding student from each of the following regions: India, Asia (excluding India), Latin America/Caribbean, and Africa, with the condition that the recipients must be enrolled at a school supported by MPOWER. 

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Depends on the institution

Requirements: Each partner has its own criteria. But, for a grad (master’s) degree, students must be 35 years old or under at the time they apply.

7 Women in STEM Scholarship

In addition to its mission of empowering international students, MPower Financing also strives to foster innovation. As part of this commitment, they proudly present the Women in STEM Scholarships each year, offering three esteemed awards: a $6,000 scholarship, a $2,000 scholarship, and a $1,000 scholarship. 

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 15, 2024

Requirements: You do not need to be a borrower to apply. Awards go to female int’l/DACA students who are enrolled or accepted to study full time in a STEM degree program at a school MPOWER supports. The program can be in any field of STEM that leads to a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD.

8 Korean American Scholarship Fund

Each year the Korean American Scholarship Fund offers awards. KASF scholarships range from $500 to $5,000. They are open to qualifying Korean American students. This includes foreign students from Korea. 

Amount: $500 – $5,000

Deadline: April-June Recurs Annually

Requirements: Enrollment in a full time program in the U.S. during the scholarship application year is a criteria. Other criteria are financial need, grades, school activities and volunteer service. If extra funds are available, non Koreans may qualify for these scholarships. This includes offspring of American vets who served during the Korean War.

9 Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program

The Humphrey Fellowship Program caters to young and mid-career professionals from select foreign countries, offering them a unique opportunity to spend a year in the U.S. 

Although it is not a degree program, Fellows can enhance their leadership skills through various activities, including taking courses at their host institution, participating in conferences, networking, and exchanging insights. 

The program’s ultimate goal is to cultivate a global mindset through international study, providing an enriching experience distinct from a typical graduate school journey.  

To support participants during their fellowship, a stipend of approximately $50,000 is provided, covering tuition, fees, living expenses, books, insurance, air travel, and even a one-time computer subsidy. Additionally, a professional development allowance is included to support field trips, visits, and conference attendance. 

Amount: $50,000

Deadline: Application deadlines vary by country

Requirements: Check site for eligibility requirements.

10 American Association of University Women Educational Foundation

AAUW is a national grassroots organization. It has been helping to empower women as individuals and as a community since 1881.The International Fellowship Program is one of AAUW’s award programs. 

The program is for women who are going for grad or post doctoral study in the U.S. on a full time basis. It supports women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. 

There are also a few awards for study outside of the U.S. (excluding the applicant’s home country). These go to women who are members of Graduate Women International

Up to 5 International Fellowships for master’s/first professional degrees are available. They are renewable for a second year and award $18,000. Doctoral awards are $20,000 and Post doctoral $30,000.

Amount: Varies

Deadline: November 15

Requirements: Preferred applicants are women with a history of working to advance women and girls in some way. For instance, through civic, community, or professional work.

11 PEO International Peace Scholarship

The PEO Sisterhood is a charitable organization. Its mission is to advance, educate and motivate women. Members of P.E.O. believe that education is a key to world peace.

One of the awards the PEO offers since 1949 is the International Peace Scholarship Fund. This program awards up to $12,500. Scholarships go to international female students wanting to study at a grad level in the U.S.

Amount: up to $12,500

Deadline: December 15 every year

Requirements: Preferred applicants show financial need. There are also lesser amounts awarded according to individual needs.

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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