Many people think that it’s impossible to get a scholarship as an international student, but luckily that’s not true. There are plenty of opportunities if you know where to look—and how to stand out.
That’s where Edupass comes in. We’re dedicated to helping people from around the world who want to study in the USA—and removing whatever obstacles are in their way, from immigration to financing.
On this page, we’ll walk you through the four essential steps to getting a scholarship and link you to all the resources you need to succeed in each step.
Step #1: Know the Different Types of Scholarships for International Students in the USA
- Need-based: Exclusively for students from socioeconomically disadvantaged (i.e. low-income) backgrounds. Each scholarship program defines “need” differently, so read the eligibility criteria typically. You may need to provide supporting documentation (such as your family’s tax return) to qualify.
- Academic Merit: For students who demonstrate outstanding academic performance or potential. Eligibility is often restricted to students with a certain GPA, a certa in class rank, or other evidence of academic distinction.Advertisement
- Membership in an underrepresented or specific group: For students who meet certain diversity criteria. Some of these may be only for women, or from individuals from a particular country or region, or for individuals with particular immigration status.
- School-based eligibility: For students enrolled or accepted at a particular school.
- Major/degree-based eligibility: For students accepted or enrolled in a specified major or degree program (e.g. nursing, business, engineering).
Step #2: Identify Scholarships for Which You Qualify
Decide which of the categories in step #1 you qualify for and use these criteria to search for scholarships.
First, investigate university scholarships. Contact your school’s Office of International Student Services and Office of Financial Aid to ask about scholarships that your school offers directly to international students. If you’ve received an offer of financial aid from another school, mention that! Some schools will match the other offers you have.
Then identify scholarships for international students offered by other organizations. A great place to start is our list of scholarships for international students. Be sure to use your school, your degree/major, and your country of origin as search terms. If you are low-income, search for need-based scholarships, and if you’re female, search for scholarships specifically for women!
Step #3: Narrow Down the List to the International Student Scholarships Right for You
Narrow your focus! Prioritize applying to those scholarships for which you are most competitive. Remember that you are more likely to win scholarship competitions with more limited applicant pools. If, for example, you are a Brazilian woman interested in computer science, you are more likely to win MPOWER Financing’s Women in STEM Scholarship, or a scholarship specifically for Brazilians, than a scholarship open to a larger pool of applicants!
Step #4: Write a Great Scholarship Essay
It’s critical to write a compelling application and essay. Want some tips? Check out:
- Edupass’s 5 “do’s and don’ts” for winning a scholarship
- This terrific FREE webinar from Edupass affiliate MPOWER Financing: “How to Get a Scholarship to Study in the USA,” which includes very specific feedback about what constitutes a good “essay,” gathered from MPOWER’s experience reviewing thousands of scholarship applications; and
- This fantastic article from Harvard University about how to write a compelling personal statement. While it’s written for applicants for admission to Harvard rather than scholarship applicants, the advice is still very relevant.
Step #5: Submit Your Application on Time!
Watch those deadlines! Submit all required materials by the deadline, taking into account any differences in time zones.
Find international scholarship providers.
Recommended Scholarships for International Students
Consider applying for these scholarships designed exclusively for international students and offered by our partners at MPOWER Financing:
The MPOWER Global Citizen Scholarship – ANY international students at ANY of the 350+ universities that MPOWER supports in the USA and Canada in ANY degree or program are eligible to apply!
The MPOWER Women in STEM Scholarship – For any female international student in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math program at any of the 350+ universities MPOWER supports in the USA or Canada!