Can International Students Get Scholarships?

International students are eligible for scholarships in the same way that American students are. The main difference is that international students may need to provide additional documentation during the application process. 

Many international students come to the United States seeking a quality higher education. Just like learners born in the United States, sometimes they need financial help to afford that sought-after degree or certification.

Here are some ways that international students can find and apply for scholarship opportunities in the United States.

Never Pay for Help with Scholarship Applications

Some companies and individuals offer to find the money for you to apply for or even complete your scholarship applications for you in exchange for a fee. Don’t get caught up in this trap. 

You should never have to give a credit card number or access to your bank account to any company, individual, or website to get scholarship information. You can find your own opportunities and complete your own applications for free.

Word of warning, if the application process includes a writing sample, then the school expects the work to be your own.

Start Applying for Scholarships with Your School

As an international student, you should have a close relationship with the admissions and financial aid offices at the school you plan to attend. They can help you sort through the factors that affect your eligibility and advise you as to the programs that are right for you. 

Keep in mind that for some scholarships, it makes a difference if you were born outside the country and are now a citizen or permanent resident. Citizens and permanent residents have more options than someone on a student visa.

Many schools maintain a database of financial aid sources exclusively for international students. For example, the University of Iowa’s website includes a helpful list of scholarships for first-year and transfer international students. Clark University has a lucrative scholarship program for first-year international students. The University of Arkansas also seeks to diversify its student body by offering scholarships to international students from around the globe.

Use the Internet to Search for Scholarships 

A quick perusing with your favorite search engine locates many sources of financial aid for international students. There are tons of resources for finding and applying for scholarships. 

Most likely, your scholarships will come directly from the school you’re attending. However, there are private options like NextGen Scholarship Fund and the International Peace Scholarship from PEO. 

As we mentioned, many of these can be found using a quick search, but you can also use scholarship search tools like This will put tons of scholarship opportunities that match your area of study right at your fingertips.

Read the Scholarship Requirements Before Applying

Once you find a scholarship that interests you, read through the application requirements carefully. Some scholarships may only be available to those from specific countries, those who intend to study a particular field, graduate versus undergraduate study, or other characteristics. 

For example, the Society of Women Engineers offers assistance to women entering the male-dominated field of engineering.

Similar to do domestic student requirements, most scholarships for international students require certain test scores, grade point averages, community involvement, and extracurricular activities. You might apply for a hundred and only get 10, but if those 10 are worth a total of $50,000, then that’s time well spent. 

Do a thorough search and apply for everything you qualify for because anything you receive gets you that much closer to your dream of a college education.

Additional Resources

The EducationUSA website is operated by the U.S. government through the Department of State and the Institute of International Education. It offers extensive resources for those who want to attend school in this country, including scholarships you can apply for as well as resources in your home country to help you with planning.

Your dream of studying overseas doesn’t have to end because you don’t have the money. Do your research, apply for multiple scholarships, and get free money for the education you’ve been dreaming of.