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Scholarships in the USA for International Students

Grants and scholarships in the United States for education or research are available in large numbers not only to American citizens but also to foreigners. Each financial aid program for a student, graduate student, young scientist, or specialist has its requirements, criteria, conditions, and goals. And they can also be called differently based on their purpose.

The sources of funding for education are:

  • government funds
  • non-governmental organizations
  • the educational institutions themselves, both public and private.

Grants and Scholarships in the USA: Types

Financial support is provided based on specific requirements and criteria for candidates. As a rule, it is not issued in the form of money, but in the form of a discount, full or partial tuition fees, and/or other expenses related to studying and living in the United States.

Merit-based scholarship

The most common type of scholarship is a merit-based scholarship. It is offered by most educational institutions to applicants and students of various levels for excellent performance in the academic program and special academic achievements. For example, the State University of Illinois (Illinois State University) has developed several merit-based programs for international students at once: a Presidential scholarship of up to $ 11 thousand per year (44 thousand for four years of undergraduate studies), a smaller-scale Redbird Academic Scholarship for freshmen in the amount of from 1 to 4000 dollars annually and even a very small one-time aid in the amount of 1000 dollars for students of the last year of the undergraduate degree receiving the appropriate diploma or certificate of completion (Graduate Certificate). 

Most often, this type of scholarship is issued to those students who are already studying at this educational institution and are the best in the course/stream. Often, this process is well-established and the student does not even need to apply – the university can select a certain number of the best students on the course once a year or a semester and automatically award them scholarships at its discretion.

These scholarships are based on:

  • Academic credentials
  • Performance according to standardized tests
  • Cool rank
  • Portfolio or audition results (if applicable)
  • Leadership, community, and extracurricular participation
  • General citizenship

Need-based scholarship

Need-based scholarship – financial support for low-income students. That is students who do not have the opportunity to independently pay for their studies and related expenses. This type of scholarship is only available to US citizens or residents. But some universities are creating this opportunity for foreigners, such as Emory University in Atlanta. By the way, students who have transferred to this university from another can also apply for funding.

As a rule, obtaining such a scholarship involves collecting a large number of financial documents (certificates from a bank, tax authority, etc.) and writing a large number of explanations.

Ways to prove financial need

If you want to receive a scholarship or grant based on financial need, you must prove it at the stage of applying for financial assistance.

In most cases, you will need to apply and support documents to the university or organization offering the scholarship. Financial need, in this case, can be reflected through the following documents:

  • Motivational essay
  • Bank statements (of the student himself or his sponsors)
  • Documents confirming the amount of income (student or sponsor)
  • Documents confirming the number of compulsory expenses (student or sponsors)
  • Documents on payment and its amount from previous places of study (if the student previously studied on a paid basis)

Moreover, to the exact numbers reflected in the financial documentation, it makes sense to tell the scholarship provider about your financial situation in a motivation essay. Write about why you need financial assistance and how the scholarship will help you achieve your goal. Point out any factors that directly and indirectly support your financial need.

The student-specific scholarship

The student-specific scholarship is designed for students of certain categories. This can be, for example:

  • religious scholarships
  • scholarships for women
  • scholarships for students from developing countries
  • for national minorities and many others.

The career-specific scholarship 

The career-specific scholarship – a scholarship or grant for training in a specific specialty, for obtaining a specific profession. For example, the New York Film Academy annually provides grants for graduate studies in several specialties. Such scholarships are offered, as a rule, to raise interest among applicants in a particular specialty and increase the number of applications for admission.

Ideal for prospective or current graduate students who are either already working in a specific field or returning to university for a new degree. Now more and more adults are returning to universities to obtain an advanced degree. It makes them more valuable and gives them more confidence in their existing profession.

Career scholarships are a great way to keep your tuition costs down. Employers and organizations fund workers who want to continue their education. This is a win-win for employers. They improve employee morale by helping them become more skilled workers.

The college-specific scholarship

The college-specific scholarship is awarded to university-specific students with good academic performance. These are, as a rule, promising specialists and those in whom the university is interested for some reason. For example, funding conditions may oblige the fellow to work for a certain amount of time at the university as a teacher after receiving a diploma.

Athletic scholarship

University sports in America are at the highest level in the world, so universities carefully select promising candidates for their sports teams, and even more carefully those whose training and training they will finance.

Athletic scholarships in the United States are awarded by universities for outstanding athletic and academic achievement and in most cases must be confirmed annually.

A sports scholarship is an opportunity to fully combine study and training.

Athletes who study at US universities receive:

  • shortened in time, but complete in terms of the volume of knowledge, training program;
  • at least 20 hours of training per week;
  • an individual study schedule, taking into account the training and competition plan;
  • training with the best coaches and regular participation in competitions.

Who can qualify for a sports scholarship in the USA

To qualify for a sports scholarship in the United States, you must:

  • have outstanding athletic performance;
  • know English at a level that meets the entrance requirements of the university;
  • pass the SAT / ACT / GRE tests, subject tests, at the level of entrance requirements;
  • have grades, that is, GPA, at the level of admission requirements;
  • demonstrate discipline, high motivation, and excellent knowledge of their sport.

This list contains a minimum and fairly standard set of requirements, but in practice, it can be expanded by universities at their discretion.

The bursary

The bursary is a type of financial aid offered by a university to students for community service. Funding is often provided in the form of:

  • discounts for training (25-50%)
  • providing jobs on campus (or increasing the chances of getting them).

At the same time, “public works” can be very different and relate to different aspects of student life:

  • assistance in organizing and holding events
  • community work
  • work in centers of intercultural communication
  • volunteering and so on.

Many universities offer a wide range of such programs: the University of Oregon, Michigan State University, and others.

The fellowship

Almost all educational institutions in the United States that offer postgraduate education (master’s, graduate school) provide an opportunity for international students and graduates of the appropriate levels to apply for financial support for their scientific research – fellowship.

The fellowship is a scholarship focused more on preparing a student for scientific work, conducting research, and so on. For example, Western Carolina University offers postgraduate programs in education. Most often, fellowship is understood as completely free education for students of master or doctoral programs of the research level, when, for the opportunity to study for free, the student works as an assistant professor, giving him some lectures, checking papers, or helping to do scientific research.

Another option is a grant. According to the criteria, it is in many ways similar to scholarships, but it may involve some kind of reporting on the expenditure of funds and the performance of certain work stipulated by the terms of the grant. Often, a grant is awarded for work or research in a specific direction.

Fellowship – scholarship programs that are issued:

  • universities;
  • government;
  • research institutes;
  • scientific production associations;
  • hospitals;
  • foundations;
  • and other relevant bodies with the main purpose of serving science. The scholarships establish long-term academic ties between individuals and research-oriented institutions.

A Fellowship provides a specified amount of money, which can be equal to or more than the salary of a professor at a US University. The bulk of international and national scholarships provide full financial assistance and cover all research-related expenses during doctoral and postdoctoral studies.

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