A Guide to Fully Funded and Applied Scholarships for International Students

A Guide to Fully Funded and Applied Scholarships for International Students

Fully Funded and Applied Scholarships: As you seek higher education in the United States, funding can be a major obstacle, especially for international students. However, you have options. Fully funded and applied scholarships provide essential financial support, enabling you to pursue your academic dreams.

In this guide, you will discover a curated selection of opportunities exclusively for international students. Learn how to find and successfully apply for scholarships that cover your tuition, housing, travel, and living expenses. With determination and strategic planning, you can make studying in America a reality. Let this be your handbook to navigating the scholarship landscape as an international student. The path to your degree starts with financial aid.

Types of Fully Funded Scholarships for International Students

Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students based on outstanding academic achievement and potential. They are offered by both private organizations and colleges. Some well-known merit-based scholarships include the Fulbright Foreign Student Program and the Rhodes Scholarship. To qualify, you will need an excellent academic record, strong standardized test scores, and a clear study plan.

Need-Based Scholarships

Need-based scholarships provide financial aid to students based on their economic circumstances. They are given out by colleges, private organizations, and state or federal agencies. Popular need-based scholarships for international students include the International Fulbright Program and the Rotary Foundation Global Grant Scholarship. To be eligible, you will have to demonstrate financial hardship and strong academic promise.

Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships are awarded to students based on outstanding achievement and talent in sports. They are typically offered by colleges and universities. The most common sports scholarships are for football, basketball, soccer, tennis, swimming, etc. To qualify, you will need to meet the athletic recruitment standards set by the schools. These often include a minimum GPA, standardized test scores, and performance at athletic events.

Private Scholarships

Private scholarships are provided by non-government organizations, non-profits, religious groups, and private companies. They vary widely in terms of eligibility criteria, application requirements, and award amounts. Some well-known private scholarships for international students include the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Program, the Schwarzman Scholars Program, and the Ford Foundation Fellowships. You will need to do thorough research to find private scholarships that match your profile and study interests.

Top Universities Offering Fully Funded Scholarships

Harvard University

Harvard University offers generous financial aid and scholarship programs for international students. Their need-based financial aid awards do not have to be repaid. Harvard also offers merit-based scholarships for outstanding students, covering full tuition plus funds for living expenses. To be eligible, you must apply and be admitted to Harvard as a full-time, degree-seeking international student.

Yale University

Yale University’s financial aid program provides aid to admitted students based solely on financial need. Scholarships, grants, work-study, and student loan programs are available to all students, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Yale will meet 100% of demonstrated need for all admitted students, including full tuition, room, and board. To qualify, you must apply and be admitted to Yale.

Stanford University

Stanford University provides generous financial assistance to undergraduate students, including international students, who demonstrate financial need. Their aid packages typically include scholarships, grants, work-study opportunities and low-interest student loans. Citizens of all countries are eligible to apply for need-based financial aid. You must complete the financial aid application to determine your eligibility. Stanford also offers merit-based scholarships for outstanding students.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT provides need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships to undergraduate students, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. MIT promises to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students. Their aid packages typically include grants, work-study jobs, and student loans. MIT also offers Presidential Fellowships covering full tuition to outstanding students. To qualify for any aid, you must apply and be admitted to MIT.

How to Find and Apply for Fully Funded Scholarships

Search for Scholarships Online

With an abundance of scholarships available, conducting thorough online research is key. Websites like FastWeb, Cappex, Peterson’s, and Scholarships.com offer large databases of opportunities. Focus on those designated as “fully funded” or that provide a stipend. Pay close attention to eligibility criteria, deadlines, and required materials. Create a spreadsheet to keep scholarships organized.

Contact Schools and Departments

Reach out to schools and departments you are interested in to inquire about funding options. Many offer merit-based scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships for which you must apply directly. Ask about eligibility, obligations, and application procedures. Build connections that may lead to letters of recommendation.

Look for External Funding Sources

Explore funding through private organizations, non-profits, religious groups, and community organizations. For example, the Fulbright Program, Rotary International, Phi Kappa Phi, and Daughters of the American Revolution all offer scholarships. Do research to find those aligned with your background, field of study, and goals.

Submit a Strong Application

When applying for fully funded scholarships, take the necessary time to put together an outstanding application. Follow all instructions carefully and meet deadlines. Your materials should include:

•A compelling personal statement discussing your background, interests, and goals. Explain how the scholarship will help you achieve your objectives.

•Letters of recommendation from professors or mentors who can speak to your abilities and potential for success. Ask them at least a month before deadlines.

•An updated CV highlighting relevant experience, skills, honors, and activities.

•Official transcripts from all schools attended.

•Any required test scores such as GRE or language proficiency exams.

•A proposal or outline of your intended research project or area of study. Some scholarships require this.

With diligent work, persistence, and a well-crafted application, you can win generous scholarships to fund your international studies. Do not get discouraged if rejected at first, as finding the right opportunities and competing at a high level takes dedication. Stay determined and keep applying.

Application Tips to Stand Out for Fully Funded Scholarships

Start Early

The earlier you start preparing for your application, the better. Fully funded scholarships receive thousands of applicants every year, so submitting a rushed application at the last minute is unlikely to make you a strong candidate. Give yourself plenty of time to research the scholarship requirements, gather all necessary documents, and craft a compelling application.

Meet the Eligibility Criteria

Carefully review the eligibility criteria for the scholarship to ensure you meet all requirements before submitting an application. Failure to meet even one criterion could disqualify you from consideration. If you have any questions about your eligibility, contact the scholarship provider for clarification well in advance of the deadline.

Submit a Strong Application

A strong application is essential to standing out among many other applicants. Follow all instructions precisely and submit a complete application with all requested components. Your essays and personal statements should be clear, concise, and demonstrate your passion for your field of study. Consider having others review and provide feedback on your application materials. Submit everything before the deadline to avoid having your application discarded due to lateness.

Request Strong Letters of Recommendation

For scholarships that require letters of recommendation, choose referees who can speak knowledgeably about your abilities, work, and potential for success. Meet with them to discuss why you are applying for the scholarship and how they can best support your application. Provide them with details about the scholarship and your submitted application materials so they can write the most compelling letter of recommendation possible.

Apply for Multiple Scholarships

Do not rely on any single scholarship for funding. Apply for multiple fully funded and partial scholarships to increase your chances of being awarded financial support. While time-consuming, casting a wide net will maximize your opportunities to fund your education. With perseverance, you can attain sufficient scholarship funding to cover a large portion, if not all, of your college expenses.

Fully Funded and Applied Scholarships FAQs

What are the eligibility criteria for international students?

To be eligible for fully funded scholarships in the U.S., international students must meet certain criteria. This typically includes having a high school diploma or equivalent, demonstrating strong academic achievement and potential, and English language proficiency. Some scholarships may have additional requirements related to the student’s field of study, country of origin or other attributes. Students should carefully review the eligibility criteria for any scholarship before applying.

What types of scholarships are available for international students?

There are several types of scholarships for international students in the U.S. Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on a student’s academic achievement and potential. Need-based scholarships consider a student’s financial need in addition to their merit. Exchange scholarships enable students to study in another country. Athletic scholarships are awarded to students with outstanding ability in sports. And private scholarships are funded by private donors, companies, non-profits and philanthropic organizations.

How can I find and apply for scholarships?

The best way for international students to find scholarships is through extensive online research. Some recommended websites include International Scholarships, FastWeb, Cappex, and Peterson’s. Students should look for scholarships that match their eligibility, field of study, and attributes. Most scholarships require students to submit an application, which typically includes an essay, academic transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation. Students should start searching for and applying to scholarships well in advance of their planned enrollment date to increase their chances of receiving one.

With many scholarships available and strong competition, researching options thoroughly and applying strategically can make a big difference in affording higher education in the United States. International students willing to put in the effort to find and apply for scholarships they are well matched for have a good chance of success.


Through diligent research and persistence, international students can uncover a wealth of opportunities to fund their studies in the United States. By targeting your efforts to the most relevant sources and thoroughly preparing your applications, you’ll maximize your chances of being awarded these competitive scholarships. Having a clear understanding of eligibility criteria and application processes will ensure you submit the strongest possible applications. While obtaining funding as an international student requires significant effort, the personal growth, experiences and education you’ll gain make it worthwhile. With focus and commitment, you can achieve your academic goals.

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