The “American Dream” can mean something different to everyone. For international students hoping to attend school in the United States of America, that dream means getting accepted to and paying for college. It also comes with a price tag, as the cost of higher education in the U.S. continues to rise.
Applying for scholarships is one of the best ways for students – both domestically and internationally – to offset the costs of higher education. There are thousands of scholarships available each year, ranging from academic and athletic scholarships to need-based and creative. However, the scholarship application space is cluttered with information, and not all of it is factual. Additionally, you need to be wary of scams before applying.
To help ease the process for you, we’ve put together a guide to navigating the scholarship application process, as well as a complete list of scholarships for international students.
Start the process now by exploring our list of 100+ Scholarships for International Students (2017-18)!
Note: The information provided within this guide is correct as of the time of publication. Some information may have changed after the publish date, impacting accuracy.
The big list of scholarships for international students
15-Minute MindSumo Mini-ScholarshipsUp to $1,000Rolling
1800wheelchair.com Scholarship$500 May 1, 2018
AES Engineering Scholarship Program$500 Oct. 6, 2017
AHIMA Foundation Student Merit ScholarshipUp to $2,500Sept. 30, 2017
Airbus Leadership Grant from Women in Aviation International$5,000 Nov. 13, 2017
Airports Council International – North America Scholarship$5,000 Dec. 15, 2017
April 15, 2018
AJ Madison Scholarship Program$1,000 Dec. 1, 2017
American Association of University Women Educational Foundation International FellowshipsUp to $30,000Dec. 1, 2017
American Copy Editors Society Education Fund ScholarshipUp to $2,500Nov. 15, 2017
American Occupational Therapy Foundation ScholarshipUp to $5,000Oct. 31, 2017
Annual CGTrader Scholarship$500 to $2,000Jan. 15, 2018
Annual Healthcare and Life Sciences Scholarship from The Expert Institute$1,000 Dec. 31, 2017
Archie Motley Memorial Scholarships for Minority Students from the Midwest Archives Conference$750 Mar. 1, 2018
Asia-Pacific Community Service Award from Golden Key$1,500 Sept. 30, 2017
Asia-Pacific Outstanding Academic Achievement Award from Golden Key$1,000 Sept. 30, 2017
Asia-Pacific Postgraduate Study Award from Golden Key$1,000 Sept. 30, 2017
Asian Cultural Council Individual GrantsUp to $10,000Nov. 9, 2017
Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) International ScholarshipUp to $2,500Feb. 2018
Bachus & Schanker, LLC Scholarship$2,000 Nov. 30, 2017
BeSkinHost.com Scholarship Program$1,500 Nov. 25, 2017
Be the Future Scholarship from ‘Internal Auditor’ magazine$1,000 Sept. 30, 2018
Nov. 30, 2018
Jan. 31, 2018
The Boeing Company Career Enhancement Scholarship from Women in Aviation International$2,500 Nov. 12, 2017
Brown Wharton & Brothers Scholarship$500 Dec. 1, 2017
Build U. Scholarship from Buildium$2,500 Nov. 1, 2017
“Business Plan” Scholarship For Students With Disabilities from FitSmallBusiness.com$1,000 Nov. 1, 2017
Carole Fielding Grant from the University Film & Video Association$1,000 Dec. 15, 2017
ChameleonJohn Annual Student Scholarship$2,000 Dec. 15, 2017
Chereddi NarayanaRao and Radhamanohari Scholarship from the Telugu Association of North America$2,000 Sept. 30, 2018
Chuan Ai Lu Engstrom Memorial Scholarship$1,000 Dec. 1, 2017
Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program$50,000 TBD 2018
Comedy Defensive Driving Scholarship$1,000 Dec. 31, 2017
May 31, 2018
Community Veterinary Partners College Scholarship$1,000 Oct. 1, 2017
April 1, 2018
Costa Rican Vacations scholarship$1,000 Feb. 15, 2018
The Cover Guy 5th Annual Scholarship$500 July 1, 2018
CPR Certification Institute Scholarship$2,000 Sept. 30, 2017
Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation from the Japan-American Society of HawaiiTuition + $25,000 for living expensesNov. 24, 2017
DEED Educational Scholarships from the American Public Power Association$2,000 Oct. 15, 2017
Feb. 15, 2018
Dispensable Soccer Scholarship$500 Mar. 1, 2018
Dr. Elemer and Eva Kiss Scholarship Fund from the Hungarian American Coalition$1,000 TBD 2018
The Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in EthicsUp to $5,000Dec. 11, 2017
Elva Knight Research Grant from the International Reading Association$5,000 Jan. 15, 2018
The Emily Murray Student Scholarship from The Hastings Center$750 stipend + 2-4 week residencyApr. 15, 2018
Engineering Technology Scholarships from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc.$5,000 Dec. 1, 2017
Fight For Sight Summer Student Fellowship$2,500 Nov. 15, 2017
FormSwift Startup Scholarship$1,000 Sept. 15, 2017
Dec. 15, 2017
The Future of Bariatric Surgery Scholarship from the Bariatric Surgery Source$1,000 Jan. 1, 2018
July 1, 2018
Gadde Sitaramamma and Tirupataiah Scholarship from the Telugu Association of North America$2,000 Sept. 30, 2018
Gear Up Your Future Scholarship from Gearupz$2,000 Nov. 19, 2017
GEICO Life Scholarship from Golden Key$1,000 Dec. 15, 2017
Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship from the American Association of Colleges of Nursery and CastleBranch$5,000 Oct. 31, 2017
Jan. 31, 2018
GOGO Charters National Scholarship for Immigrants and Refugees$10,000 Spring 2018
Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award$10,000 Dec. 15, 2017
Golden Key Research Grant$2,000 Dec. 15, 2017
Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Award$5,000 Dec. 15, 2017
Google Lime Scholarships for Students with Disabilities$10,000 TBD 2018
Green Law Firm Nursing Home & Elderly Care Scholarship$1,500 Dec. 31, 2017
Guthikonda BasavapunnaRao and Umadevi Scholarship from the Telugu Association of North America$2,000 Sept. 30, 2018
Guthikonda Ramabrahmam and Balamani Scholarship from the Telugu Association of North America$2,000 Sept. 30, 2018
Grungo Colarulo Giving Back to the Community Scholarship$500 Oct. 31, 2017
Healthcare Training Scholarship Plan from the National CPR Association$2,000 Nov. 30, 2017
HealthGrad.com Leadership Scholarship$2,000 Nov. 1, 2017
https://www.literacyworldwide.org/about-us/awards-grants/ila-helen-m-robinson-grant$1,200 Jan. 15, 2018
Hemingway Research Grants from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum$2,500 Nov. 1, 2017
The Homes.Com #FeelsLikeHome Scholarship$1,000 Oct. 13, 2017
Honest. Wild. Beautiful. Scholarship Program from Annmarie Skin Care$1,000 Sept. 30, 2017
HubShout Internet Marketing Scholarship$1,000 Nov. 1, 2017
Mar. 1, 2018
International Scholars Program for Young Vascular Surgeons from the Society for Vascular Surgery$5,000 Aug. 2018
Jane C. Waldbaum Archaeological Field School Scholarships from the Archaeological Institute of America$1,000 Mar. 1, 2018
Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Advanced StudiesFull tuitionJan. 31, 2018
John J. McKetta Undergraduate Scholarships from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers$5,000 June 2018
John R. Mott Scholarship FoundationUp to $10,000Apr. 15, 2018
JRC Insurance Group Scholarship$1,000 Oct. 15, 2017
Kenneth Warren Scholarship from Slots.Info$2,000 Nov. 15, 2017
Kerri Castellini Women’s Leadership Scholarship from Price Benowitz LLP$500 Nov. 30, 2017
KidGuard for Education Essay Scholarship for University Students$1,000 Dec. 1, 2017
Kodali Veeraiah and Sarojini Scholarship from the Telugu Association of North America$2,000 Sept. 30, 2018
LabRoots Scholarship$2,000 Nov. 30, 2017
Leonora Lindsley Memorial FellowshipUp to $12,000Dec. 1, 2017
ListShack.com’ Marketing Scholarship$1,000 Dec. 14, 2017
Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women from Soroptimist International of the AmericasUp to $10,000Nov. 15, 2017
The Lydia Cabrera Awards from The Conference on Latin American History$5,000 Oct. 15, 2017
March of Dimes Dr. Margaret C. Freda Graduate Nursing Scholarship Award $5,000 Jan. 12, 2018
Market Inspector Scholarship In Support of Those Under the Revised US Travel Ban$1,000 Oct. 31, 2017
Microsoft Scholarship ProgramPartial TuitionJan. 26, 2018
Money Metals Exchange Scholarship ProgramUp to $2,000Sept. 30, 2017
Monte R. Mitchell Global Scholarship from the Aircraft Electronics Association$1,500 Apr. 1, 2018
Mosmiller Intern Scholarship Program from the American Floral Endowment$2,000 + internshipOct. 1, 2017
Mar. 1, 2018
MuchGames.com Research Grant$1,500 Sept. 30, 2017
Mulberrys Garment Care for Aspiring Entrepreneurs Scholarship$1,000 Dec. 8, 2017
MyProjectorLamps.com Annual Scholarship$500 Sept. 30, 2017
National Arab American Medical Association Foundation Scholarships$1,000 July 1, 2018
NearMeFinds Scholarship$1,000 Oct. 12, 2017
The NextGen Scholarship from P.E.R.K. Consulting$1,000 Feb. 2018
Parking Solutions Scholarship from Parking BOXX$1,000 Oct. 15, 2017
PAVE 2017 Student Design Competition $7,500 Oct. 31, 2017
P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship$12,500 Dec. 15, 2017
Percy Martinez Law Scholarship$5,000 Dec. 31, 2017
PowerScout Smart Energy Home Scholarship Award$1,000 Nov. 30, 2017
Pretty Lightroom Presets Bi-Annual Scholarship$500 Dec. 15, 2017
June 15, 2017
Price Benowitz Social Justice Scholarship$1,500 Apr. 30, 2018
QASymphony Software Testing Scholarship$1,000 Nov. 1, 2017
QS Graduate Scholar Award from Golden Key$2,500 Dec. 15, 2017
Raymond Davis Scholarship from the Society of Imaging Science and Technology$1,000 Oct. 1, 2017
Reston Limousine Scholarship$1,000 Dec. 10, 2017
Rice-Cullimore Scholarships from ASME International$2,000 Feb. 15, 2018
Richard D. Stehly Memorial Scholarship from the American Concrete Institute$3,000 Nov. 3, 2017
Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship from the Association of Certified Fraud ExaminersUp to $10,000Jan. 29, 2018
Robert E. Altenhofen Memorial Scholarship from The Imaging & Geospatial Information Society$2,000 Oct. 4, 2017
Robert Guthrie PKU Scholarship and Awards from the National PKU NewsUp to $3,500Feb. 15, 2018
The Rosenblatt and Herbert Scholarships from the Society of Naval Architects and Marine EngineersUp to $6,000June 1 2018
Ruth Abernathy Presidential Undergraduate Scholarship from the Society of Health and Physical Educators$1,250 Oct. 15, 2017
Scandinavian Society of Cincinnati Foundation Scholarship/Grant Up to $1,000Oct. 1, 2017
Jan. 1, 2018
April 1, 2018
July 1, 2018
Scholarship Essay Content by EssayPro$500 Sept. 20, 2017
Scholarship for Growing the Future from the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association$2,000 Jan. 15, 2018
Aug. 15, 2018
Scholarship for Outdoor Lovers from Nature Immerse$2,000 Nov. 24, 2017
SelfScore International Student Scholarship$5,000 Sept. 28, 2017
https://www.senioradvice.com/senior-caregiver-scholarship-spring-2018$1,000 Jan. 15, 2018
SeniorAdvice.com Senior Volunteer Scholarship$1,000 Jan. 15, 2018
ShearComfort Scholarship$1,500 Oct. 15, 2017
SHRM Foundation Student Undergraduate Scholarships from the Society for Human Resource ManagementUp to $5,000Oct. 10, 2017
Simplilearn Students Scholarship Program$1,000 Dec. 1, 2017
Skilled Labor Shortage Scholarship by HomeAdvisor$5,000 Dec. 15, 2017
Smile Marketing’s Bi-Annual Dental Scholarship$500 Mar. 15, 2018
Society of Exploration Geophysicists$2,500 Mar. 1, 2018
Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Graduate ScholarshipsUp to $20,000Feb. 1, 2018
Society of Plastic Engineers Pittsburgh Petroleum Section Scholarship Program$2,500 Feb. 1, 2018
SWAAAE Academic Scholarship$1,000 Dec. 8, 2017
Ted Parnell Scholarship from the Yukon Conservation Society$500 June 30 2018
Transtutors Essay Scholarship$1,000 Nov. 30, 2017
Undergraduate Engineering Scholarships from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc.Up to $10,000Dec. 1, 2017
Unpakt College Scholarship$1,000 Dec. 15, 2017
Vallabhaneni Sukundamma and Lakshmaiah Scholarship from the Telugu Association of North America$2,000 Sept. 30, 2018
Vertical Flight Foundation ScholarshipsUp to $6,000Feb. 5, 2018
Ward Law Group Better Future Scholarship$500 Nov. 30, 2017
Why Decor Matters Scholarship from Southwestern Rugs Depot$500 Jan. 2, 2018
Women in Technology Scholarship from Buildium$2,500 Nov. 1, 2017
Zeqr Scholarship$1,000 Dec. 15, 2017
Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship Program$10,000 Nov. 15, 2017
Ready to apply? Download our full list of scholarships for links to application pages and additional info.
Get scholarship list
The cost of college
Higher education in the United States costs a lot! Exactly how much? To find out, the College Board looked at the average cost of attendance for undergraduates enrolled in 2016-17. These estimates include in-state and out-of-state students at both public and private schools. They accounted for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation, as well as other expenses.
Here’s what they found:
$17,000 – Public two-year, in-district, commuter
$24,610 – Public four-year, in-state, on-campus
$39,890 – Public four-year, out-of-state, on-campus
$49,320 – Private, nonprofit, four-year, on-campus
And that’s just for one year! If the cost of college stays the same all four years, that means you’ll pay nearly $100,000 to attend a public, in-state school and stay on campus. However, that’s the cost for U.S. citizens. For international students, the cost is even greater. For instance, at the University of Iowa, the estimated total costs for international students (tuition, fees, books, health insurance, and living expenses) during the 2017-18 school year range from $42,219 for liberal arts and sciences majors to $57,478 for pharmacy majors. That’s a whopping $168,876 or more for four years of college!
Despite the costs, studying abroad – especially within the U.S. – is still desirable to international students and their parents. In the HSBC: The Value of Education Global Report, it was reported that 64% of parents would consider sending their children abroad for undergraduate study, while 70% would consider their children studying abroad for postgraduate degrees. As the HSBC Report states: “The USA is regarded as offering the highest quality education in the world, with 51% of parents ranking it in their top three countries.”
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The scholarship application process
Once you’ve decided to study abroad in the U.S., it’s time to start thinking about finances, including scholarships. In general, there are two types of scholarships – school-specific and general, which can be applied to any school.
How to find scholarships
If you’ve been accepted to a specific school and know that’s where you’ll be attending, your first stop should be the school’s financial aid website to look at financial aid and scholarship options.
For instance, the University of Oregon offers more than $1 million in financial aid and scholarships each year to international students, according to their website. Here you’ll find information about scholarships available to students from all countries as well as country-specific scholarships. The University of Oregon, for examples, offers the $1,000 Pressman Family Scholarship to students from all countries, but the $3,000 Sushil Jajodia Indian Student Scholarship is only open to students from India.
During this process, don’t hesitate to reach out to college admissions officers or financial aid experts at the university. They’re there to help you find as much money as you qualify for during your time at school.
In addition to school-specific scholarships, there are thousands of general scholarships open to international students attending any school within the United States. These can range from $500 from the Yukon Conservation Society to $20,000 from the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, or even more!
Finding and applying for these scholarships may be harder than school-specific scholarships, though. Often, since these organizations only have a limited amount of money to offer, there are more restrictions on applying, such as specific majors or an essay component. Additionally, these scholarships can be posted anywhere on the web, so you may need to do some searching for them and confirm that they are a legitimate scholarship.
We’ve done the digging for you and compiled a complete list of scholarships for international students offered throughout the rest of 2017 and into 2018. As more scholarships for international students become available, you can check other resources, such as:
Cappex – This site lets you search and compare colleges, get admission information, and find scholarships to apply for, all in place.
Education USA – Run by the United States Department of State, this site offers information to help international students interested in studying in the U.S. find their best fit and finance schooling.
Fastweb – This free scholarship service helps you find scholarships and also provides information about financial aid and student loan options.
ForeignBorn.com – This site’s founders came to the U.S. in 1998 and have been providing information and guides on U.S. immigration, including studying abroad in the United States, since 2000.
InternationalStudent.com – This site offers information and resources, including scholarships, to international students looking to study abroad in various locations, such as the United States.
Peterson’s – With detailed information on more than 4,000 colleges and universities, you can find everything you need about the college process – from financial aid to test prep to scholarships.
Scholarships.com – This free scholarship search tool compiles thousands (to millions) of scholarships, financial aid options, grants, and more to help you find money for college.
Unigo – As a college matching and school review site, Unigo offers a lot of information about colleges, as well as a scholarship search to help you pay for school
USA TODAY College – In addition to college related news, information on housing, jobs, tutors, and more, the news site also offers scholarship searches.
Tips for verifying scholarships
Whenever money is involved, there’s also the opportunity for scams. Here are some tips for verifying that a scholarship is legitimate.
Never pay an application or processing fee.
Paying money to apply for a scholarship is a huge red flag. “If you have to pay money to get money, it’s probably a scam. Never invest more than a postage stamp to find information about scholarships or to apply for scholarships,” says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and vice president of strategy at Cappex.com, an online college matchmaker.
Check for contact information.
If there’s no address or phone number, question whether or not the scholarship is authentic. Scholarship scams typically avoid listing contact information (aside from an email address) because physical addresses and phone numbers are easier to trace.
Verify the scholarship name and past winners.
Do a quick search of the scholarship to see if you can find past winners or information about the award on other third-party sites. If there’s no other information available aside from the original website, that could be a red flag.
Never provide your personal credit information.
Sometimes need-based scholarships may ask for financial information, but you should never have to provide a credit card number, bank account number, or your social security number to apply for a scholarship.
Don’t claim a scholarship you didn’t apply for.
Be wary of emails or phone calls claiming you won a scholarship you don’t know about or didn’t apply for personally. The easiest way to do this is to keep a spreadsheet or list of scholarships you’ve applied for with the date applied, contact information, etc. so you can verify later.
Be wary of superlative claims.
Sites that claim to “do all the work for you,” that the scholarship is “guaranteed or your money back,” or “you can’t get this information anywhere else” should raise a red flag. There are a number of databases you can sign up for to search scholarships; however, that information should always be free and readily available and should outline the steps you need to take to apply.
An overview of the application process
Once you’ve compiled a list of scholarships you believe you qualify for, it’s time to start applying. In general, your application process should look something like this:
A few general tips:
Review and verify the qualifications and deadlines.
Gather or request all relevant information (transcripts, recommendation letters, etc.)
Develop, write, and proofread required essays, if applicable.
Prepare all the information and review it for accuracy.
Submit the information using the proper method.
We’ve also created a checklist to ensure you’re gathering all the information you need for most scholarship applications.
Tips for applying for scholarships
While the scholarship application process may seem as easy as “Apply for a scholarship. Win money,” it’s actually highly competitive. To stand out during the application process and maximize your chances, follow these tips.
More is more.
With general scholarships, your motto should be “Apply early. Apply often.” A small amount like $500 to $1,000 may not seem like a lot, but if you receive ten of these smaller scholarships, you could have $5,000 to $10,000 to put toward your schooling. Smaller, local scholarships offered where you live or in the town where you’ll be studying may attract fewer applicants and could be easier to get.
Put in the work.
Create a strategy for applying to scholarships, and don’t wait until the last minute. In many cases, you can start applying for scholarships a year or two before you start college, and you can keep applying for undergraduate scholarships until you’re a junior in college. Take your time and put in the work.
Do it yourself.
It may be tempting to have a friend or parent fill out your applications or write your essays for you, but your submission won’t be authentic and may come across that way. Submit the application yourself, but don’t hesitate to ask a parent or friend to review or provide feedback for you.
Details, details, details.
Pay attention to all of the submission details and ensure you’re following them. Double check deadlines, names, addresses, email addresses, etc., proofread everything thoroughly, and think twice about the email address you use to send in your application. It may seem harmless, but officials may frown upon an email address like [email protected]
Select recommendations wisely.
Having a senior level executive at the company you interned for write a letter of recommendation may seem fancy, but if they can only speak about you generally, it won’t be as impactful. Instead, ask someone who knows you personally – a direct boss, teacher, counselor, or another adult – and can make a case for why you deserve the scholarship.
Write or record with passion.
If the scholarship requires an essay or video submission, highlight your passions, not what you think the scholarship officials want to hear. Don’t be afraid to get personal, be original, avoid cliches, and tell a story that is motivating and empowering. You’re more likely to get their attention if you’re being true to yourself.
It may be easier to write one essay and use that for every application, but you should tailor each application to a specific scholarship. This shows officials that you take the scholarship – and the money they’re providing – seriously.
When it comes to scholarship applications, you want to be authentic to who you are and highlight your best qualities to officials. Don’t worry about telling them what you think they want to hear. They get dozens to hundreds of applications, so instead, make yourself stand out by being true to yourself.
Ronald Ramsdell, founder and president of College Aid Consulting Services, an independent, full-service advisory on financial aid, shares some dos and don’ts for international students applying for scholarships:
Do ask the college(s) you are applying to if they have a list of scholarships you can pursue.
Do read all of the qualifications and requirements before applying.
Do ask a native speaker to read your essay(s) and make appropriate corrections.
Do check with your home country. They may have resources for students that attend college in the USA.
Don’t have somebody write the essay for you.
Don’t wait until the last minute to get started. It does take a lot of time and effort to properly pursue scholarships.
Don’t stop your scholarship search. Continue to pursue scholarships even when you are attending college.
Other ways to save money
In addition to scholarships and financial aid, there are a number of other ways you can save money while attending college within the United States. One area to look at is your living situation. Sharing an apartment or house with other students may be cheaper than living in a dorm. While some colleges require freshmen to live on-campus their first year, it’s something you may want to consider in subsequent years.
Another area is food. A meal plan is convenient, but if you’re not using it regularly – because you’re meeting up with friends for pizza off-campus, or the like – it may not be worth it. Research all your options, then consider downgrading your meal plan — or make your food at home in order to stick to a budget.
Another option is to explore alternative credits that meet some of your general education requirements at a lower cost. “International students can save on tuition by addressing the issue from the source and reducing the actual cost of college. Supplement the traditional college experience with low-cost alternative credit options like College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams or online courses, which are options available to international students,” says Adrian Ridner, CEO and co-founder of Study.com, a website for online college credit courses.
Ridner continues: “These alternative credit options can help get some of those general education requirements out of the way and speed up your path to graduation, ultimately saving you thousands of dollars in tuition.”
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Attending college within the United States can be quite a process – finding a school, getting accepted, taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), applying for scholarships, getting a student visa, and more. However, it’s also an extremely rewarding experience. You’ll have the opportunity to experience life outside of your home country, meet new people from unique and different backgrounds, and gain knowledge within your chosen field. Applying for scholarships helps relieve some of the financial burdens of college so you can focus on your studies!