The United States is famous for having some of the best colleges and universities in the world, and a superior higher-education system. Yet, this education comes at a high price tag. The average yearly cost of university the United States is $32,231 (£20,847) for private institutions. For public universities, it is $22,958 (£14,849).
Before you get turned off by the high price tag, know that few students pay the full cost of college or university in the United States. According to the NCES, 85% of undergraduate students at 4-year universities in the United States get some sort of financial aid. This adds up to an estimated $49.3 billion in grants and scholarship money each year.
You don’t have to be an American to get a scholarship to an American college or university. You don’t even have to be the smartest or most gifted student. There are plenty of scholarship opportunities for international students. Here is an overview of the types of scholarships available for international students so you can start looking for them.
These are the types of scholarships which first come to mind when we think about college scholarships. Merit scholarships are given based on the student’s excellence. There are many types of merit scholarships, including:
- Academic Scholarships: These scholarships can be funded by the college or university, or by private organizations. They go to students who have excellent grades and/or SAT or ACT scores.
- Average Academic Performance Scholarships: These types of scholarships factor in more than just your grades and standardized test scores. They look at your overall performance as a student, such as whether you did extracurricular activities or were involved in community service.
- Sports Scholarships: Athletic scholarships are regulated by the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA. They are fiercely competitive and there are many rules about how the scholarships can be awarded. However, this is one of the best options for international student athletes who want to study in the United States.
These scholarships are given to students based on their financial need. Unfortunately, many needs-based scholarships are only available to US residents. However, some universities and colleges do give out needs-based scholarships to international students. You will have to look at the institution’s website to see what they offer foreign students.
School-Specific Individual Scholarships for International Students
Many colleges and universities in the United States have scholarships available for students who meet specific requirements. For example, an individual scholarship might be given to students who wish to pursue a particular area of study like engineering. These scholarships are often funded by private donations from alumni.
Many colleges and universities offer scholarships to students from certain countries, particularly those living in developing countries. There are also many private institutions which give scholarships to students from these countries.
The United States government offers many scholarship programs, but only a few of them are available to international students. The two big ones are:
- Fulbright Foreign Student Program: This is for graduate students and artists who want to study in the United States for at least one year. It is open to all fields except medicine.
- Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program: This scholarship isn’t for a degree, but rather for professionals who want to do academic study in the United States for at least 10 months.
There are many scholarships for international students which are funded by private organizations or donors. Most of these have strict eligibility requirements, such as:
- From a developing country
- For women
- For minorities
- For specific areas of study
Remember, a scholarship isn’t going to land in your lap. If you want to get the most amount of scholarship money for studying in the United States, it is up to you to take the initiative. Research your options and apply for all of the scholarships you are eligible for. Most importantly, start early! The earlier you start searching for a scholarship, the more time you will have to apply and ensure you meet all eligibility requirements.