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Whether you’re dreaming of attending university in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia, there are numerous scholarship opportunities available. In this blog post, we will unravel potential scholarships for international students, providing a comprehensive guide for your education while helping you overcome common scholarship challenges.

Scholarships for International Students: Important Points

Colleges, universities, and private donors worldwide offer scholarships for international students. These scholarships cover partial to full-tuition aid based on a various eligibility requirements, including merit, financial need, and field of study.

Scholarships for International Students Alleviate Financial Burden

International students often face tuition fees that are much more substantial than domestic students. On top of this, international students often endure significant living costs because of less community or familial support. Scholarships help to offset these expenses, making studying abroad more accessible to a broader range of students.

College and University scholarships for high school students, undergraduate students, and graduate students.

Types of Scholarships for International Students

International students can find scholarships of various types, including need-based, merit-based, subject-specific, country-based, and scholarships specifically designed for international students.

Need-Based Scholarships

These are awarded to students with financial need. In order to be eligible for one of these scholarships, students may need to provide documentation of family income to validate their financial situation.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on the student’s academic or extracurricular achievements. They often require students to maintain a certain GPA or continue involvement in a particular activity.

Subject-Specific Scholarships

These scholarships are available for students pursuing studies in specific fields. The criteria may include the student’s academic records and their commitment to the subject area.

Country-Based Scholarships

Country-based scholarships are designed for students from specific countries. They aim to promote cultural exchange and foster relationships between countries.

Undergraduate Scholarships

Undergraduate scholarships are targeted toward students looking to earn their first degree. These may be based on merit, demonstrated financial need, or specific fields of study.


Fellowships are a type of financial aid. They often support graduate students or those pursuing full-time postdoctoral research.

Scholarships for Online Programs

For international students who can’t travel or prefer to study from their home country, online programs offer a flexible learning pathway. Some scholarships also cater specifically to online students, further facilitating this mode of learning.

Notable Scholarships for International Students to Study in North America

Below are some notable scholarships that international students can explore:

Fulbright Scholarship

This prestigious program is designed for graduate students to study and conduct research in the United States.

Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program

This non-degree scholarship program provides ten months of non-degree academic study and related professional experiences in the United States for experienced professionals from designated countries throughout the world.

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP)

The JJ/WBGSP offers scholarships to students from World Bank member countries to pursue graduate studies at universities around the world, including North America.

Rotary Peace Fellowships

Each year, Rotary selects individuals from around the world to receive fully funded academic fellowships at one of its peace centers located around the globe, including Duke University and University of North Carolina in the USA.

AAUW International Fellowships

AAUW (formerly known as the American Association of University Women) awards International Fellowships for full-time study or research in the United States to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme

This program provides scholarships to students from select developing countries who have no other source of financial help for their graduate studies. The scholarships are awarded on a 50% grant and 50% loan basis through a competitive application process once a year.

MasterCard Foundation Scholarships

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is a $500 million initiative to inspire young people, particularly from Africa, to lead change. Scholarships are available for study at both undergraduate and graduate levels at partner universities.

The International Leader of Tomorrow (ILOT) Award

Offered by the University of British Columbia in Canada, the ILOT awards are scholarships for international students who demonstrate superior academic achievement, leadership skills, involvement in student affairs and community service, and recognized achievement in other key areas.

Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships

These scholarships are offered by the University of Toronto to outstanding international students from around the world, including international students studying in Canada.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships are open to international students who want to pursue doctoral studies at Canadian universities.

Scholarships for College or University for high school students, undergraduates, and graduate students.

Tips for Applying for Scholarships

Here are a few tips that can help you in your scholarship application journey:

Start Early!

Scholarship applications often involve an extensive process, including gathering documents and writing essays. Starting early can give you ample time to prepare a strong application.

Understand the Eligibility Requirements

Every scholarship has its eligibility criteria and application requirements. Thoroughly understanding these can increase your chances of success.

Highlight Your Strengths

Whether it’s academic achievements, leadership skills, or community service, highlighting your strengths in your application can make you stand out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Many international students have questions about scholarships. Here are some of the most common questions answered:

1. What are the eligibility criteria for international scholarships?

The eligibility criteria for scholarships vary widely depending on the organization offering the scholarship, field of study, and level of study (undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral, postdoctoral).

Common criteria can include academic performance, country of residence or citizenship, intended course of study, and demonstrated financial need. Always check the specific scholarship for its precise requirements.

2. How can I find scholarships for which I am eligible?

There are many resources available for international students to find scholarships. Universities often list available scholarships on their website. Online databases, such as the BridgesEDU Scholarships Finder, can also provide extensive listings. Other resources can include non-profit organizations, your home country’s Ministry or Department of Education, or local American/Canadian or international organizations or businesses.

3. Do I need to know English to receive a scholarship?

This depends on the specific scholarship and the institution or program of study. Many programs in English-speaking countries do require proof of English proficiency, usually demonstrated through standardized tests like TOEFL or IELTS. However, there are also scholarships aimed at students who will be studying English as a second language, or who will be studying in their native language.

4. When should I start applying for scholarships?

You should begin searching for scholarships as soon as possible. Many scholarships have deadlines that are well in advance of the start of the school year, and it can take time to gather the necessary application materials. There are scholarships with deadlines throughout the academic year and summer months so jump right in!

5. Can I receive more than one scholarship?

Yes, you can typically receive more than one scholarship, unless the specific scholarship states otherwise. Some scholarships may adjust the amount they offer if you receive multiple awards to ensure as many students as possible receive funding. Always check the conditions of each scholarship for which you apply.

6. Are Scholarships the Only Form of Financial Aid?

While scholarships are the most sought-after form of aid, international students can also seek other types of financial aid, like grants, fellowships, and loans, which can be equally beneficial in funding education. Keep in mind, loans must be paid back while these other forms of financial aid do not.

Scholarship directory to help students win money for college and university

Scholarship Resources

There are two important components of winning scholarships:

  1. Finding scholarships
  2. Applying for scholarships

Step 1: Finding Scholarships to Study in the USA and Canada

Finding scholarships can be time consuming, but there are tools that can help. For example, the BridgesEDU Scholarship Finder empowers students to discover scholarships tailored to their specific needs. This robust search tool provides access to tens of thousands of scholarships, enabling students to perform a deep, highly specific search based on unique keywords, search terms, and eligibility criteria.

This means international students can efficiently uncover the scholarships most relevant to them, whether they’re based on academic merit, financial need, field of study, or specific personal attributes.

The best part is that this tool is free!

Remember! Ask Your School About Financial Aid for International Students

It’s also important to visit your school’s financial aid office, a pivotal resource for international students. Many educational institutions provide specific scholarships and grants tailored exclusively for their international students.

These financial aid opportunities can have diverse eligibility criteria. As an international student, tapping into these resources could significantly reduce your tuition fee burden, allowing you to focus on your academic success. Therefore, make it a priority to connect with your school’s financial aid office early and explore the scholarships and grants specifically set aside for international attendees like you.

Step 2: Creating Winning Applications

After creating a list of scholarships to apply for, you’ll have to develop strong applications. On this front, The BridgesEDU Secrets to Scholarship Research & Writing Masterclass is a game changer. This masterclass demystifies the scholarship application process, providing insider insights on what scholarship committees truly seek in applicants.

With a tailored approach to understanding how to position your application for success, students can elevate their potential to secure scholarships. Learn the art of persuasive writing, how to highlight your unique strengths, and craft compelling narratives that resonate with selection committees. In the competitive world of scholarships, the BridgesEDU Masterclass is your secret weapon to stand out and win the scholarships you deserve.

Harness the power of AI with a ChatGPT scholarship assistant

Conclusion: International Scholarships Await

Scholarships for international students are diverse and abundant. With research and diligence, you can find a scholarship that matches your academic goals, financial need, and personal circumstances. Start your journey today and step into a world of education opportunities.

Christopher Grafos, Ph.D., is the founder and chief scholarship mentor at BridgesEDU Scholarships.

He’s a first-generation university graduate whose life was transformed by education and winning scholarships. 

Scholarships help students financially, but they also help advance a student’s career. It’s his life’s work to champion this message and share the secrets to finding and winning scholarships. 

Read more about Christopher’s journey here