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International Students

Given that there are very minimal sponsors and sources of financial aid in the United States, foreign students need to exhaust all available options. Information provided on this website can be supplemented with that on FastWeb – an exceptional database containing student scholarship information.

Financial Support from Country of Residence

As the adage states, ‘Charity begins at home!’ The first place your funding search should begin is at your resident country. You should locate and approach a local education consultancy center and inquire about available scholarships and other funding options available to you.

Virtually all governments reserve funds geared towards special purposes, this being a key one. Funding may be conditional in that the governing body may require you to promise (in writing if possible) to return to your native country after pursuing your studies and make your acquired skills of use to its economy. To get to know which scholarships and aid you qualify for, you should contact your Embassy or Education Ministry.

It is also a viable option to solicit funding from privately-owned and run organizations e.g. Churches, businesses, and foundations.

Aid from International Organizations

A great number of these organizations require applicants to be in their home country during the application period. They are well known for funding graduate international students in the States e.g. The United Nations, and the Organization of American States (OAS). A few international organizations also sponsor undergraduates.

Most international organizations require applicants for private scholarships to be in their home country at the time of application. Some are known for funding graduate international students for studies in the US e.g. Organization of American States (OAS), United Nations, The World Council of Churches, The World Health Organization, The League of Red Cross Societies, The International Telecommunications Union, International Maritime Organization, and AMIDEAST

Roughly 4,700 graduate students in the world are awarded the Fulbright scholarships prior to which one should have sat for the TOEFL and GRE or GMAT exams. Those who receive this award should be on J-1 visas for the entire period they’re being sponsored. For more information on Fulbright scholarships, contact or visit your country’s US Consulate or Embassy.

Aid from the United States Government

Foreign students should know from the get go that they are not eligible for the US State Student Assistant Programs which comprise of: Pell and Stafford Grants, PLUS loans and also work-study programs.

However, the American government offers some assistance to students from specific countries to secure aid. Contact your Embassy to see whether your country is in the preferred list.

Aid from US Educational Institutions

It is very rare for international students to receive financial aid from academic institutions and this makes them justifiably very competitive – especially at undergrad level.

International post-doctorate or grad prospective students wishing to study in the United States need to contact the Financial Aid offices of their prospective colleges to get insight on financial aid options which they might have presently. A large percentage of aid comes from the institutions and is not based on financial need, like most scholarships, but on merit. The suitable candidate might be required to pass a Test of Spoken English since they’ll be acting as teaching assistants.

Aid from Private US Organizations and Sponsors

Most of this financial aid is biased to the US citizens and permanent residents. International students receive very little aid from foundations or individual sponsors. To view a listing of the few ones, point your browser to the FastWeb and FinAid databases.

At this juncture should all your efforts be watered down, you could try a long shot by reading the dailies in a bid to find sources of financial help. If nothing is geared towards your interests, you can call editors of the dailies and inquire whether they have such information and if not, direct you to an individual in the community willing and in a position to fund your further studies.

Family contribution

According to a NAFSA report, most foreign students in the US fund their own studies. This is a clear indication that you are better off relying on your assets and those of relatives in order to have an American degree in your name.

More Information for International Students