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All types of scholarships and financial aid for international students are highly competitive and require excellent academic records. You will often find the terms "scholarships" and "financial aid" used interchangeably, but technically speaking, a scholarship is a financial award based on merit, including outstandingacademic performance, special talent in sports or performing arts, or perhaps community service or leadership. Financial aid is a "need-based" grant based on the student's financial need, as documented by family income, assets, and other factors. Below are the main types of financial assistance available for international students who want to study in the United States:

Home Country Funds: Conduct research at home to find possible funding from local government, corporate, or foundation sources. Although these sources are not found in all countries, you could reduce your educational cost with scholarships from local organizations.

Funding From Colleges: Meet with an educational adviser to learn how to research available financial aid for international students. Careful advance research and realistic expectations are more likely to result in success. Do not assume that all colleges award financial aid. In fact, less than half of the institutions offering bachelor's degrees can provide financial assistance to students who are not citizens or permanent residents ofthe United States. 

Keep in mind that financial aid for U.S. students is separate from financial aid for international students. Be sure to tell the admissions office your country of citizenship and request information on financial aid available to non-U.S. citizens If offered, financial aid is usually made up of a number of different types of assistance, including grants andscholarships and occasionally loans or part-time work programs.

You will discover that financial aid is very rare at state, or public, colleges and at colleges that offer professional courses such as engineering, business administration, and health professions. More financial aid may be available from the private liberal arts colleges, which offer the arts and science subjects.
As you do your research, make a table listing the colleges you would like to attend. Write down annual costs (as outlined above), then enter the average financial aid award and the number of awards made by each of the colleges. Such information is available from resources in your information or advising center. This chart can quickly allow you to see where your best chances lie, and can help you eliminate from your list the colleges where your admission with the needed funding is not viable.

International students often ask advisers about full scholarships, which cover all the costs of education except for airfare. The total number of full scholarships available each year to incoming international students in the United States is about 1,000, offered by only about 100 colleges.


To get a full scholarship, you must be one of the top students in your country, usually with "A"s (excellent) in almost every subject, high SAT and TOEFL scores, and distinguished performance in other areas such as leadership and community service. There are 20 top students from all over the world competing for each scholarship, so you must distinguish yourself among a pool of outstanding students.

Only a handful of wealthy colleges in the United States are able to meet the financial need of all the students they admit. (Please note that admission to these schools is usually very competitive.) Financial need is the difference between what you and your family can afford to contribute and the estimated cost of attending the college. 


The former is calculated on the basis of detailed information about your parents' financial circumstances, including supporting evidence such as bank statements, employers' letters, and other official documents and statements. Other universities, which make more limited awards on the basis of yourfinancial need, will also ask to see such evidence.

Financial assistance from colleges is awarded at the beginning of the academic year and is rarely available for students entering mid-year in January or at other times. More aid is available for freshman students than for those transferring in from other institutions. Students who have already proven themselves at a college may find it easier to obtain financial assistance from that college than new students.



Sports Scholarships: Some U.S. colleges offer opportunities for gifted student athletes to play for the college team as a means of paying for their education. See SportsScholarships for further details, including how to apply for a sports scholarship.

International Awards: International students also ask about financial assistance from foundations, organizations, and the U.S. government. Very little aid exists through such sources, and it is usually earmarked for advanced graduate students. Again, your educational adviser can tell you whether there are special funds available for students from your country.

Loans: In limited instances, you may be able to negotiate a loan to fund part of your educational costs. Your educational adviser may have information on loan programs for which you may be eligible. You must usually have a U.S. citizen co-signer to act as a guarantor for any loans from U.S. loan programs, and in most cases you must already be enrolled in a U.S. university before you apply. Before taking a loan, make certain you know how you are going to repay it, and how a loan will affect your plans for graduate or other further study and for returning home.

Waivers: Based on your first-year grades, some colleges award partial tuition waivers. A superior academic record could save you thousands of dollars.

Scholarship:

The Scholarships & the financial aid-fee waivers that are awarded to International Students are merit / need based. A candidate with strong academics, good performance on standardized exams & extra curricular achievements would be eligible for scholarship awards or any financial assistance. 

To benefit from these opportunities, one has to make sure to send all the required documents by particular deadlines. In addition to this, the presentation of the application package is also important because one is judged by the image one projects.

There are various types of Scholarships:

Fellowship/ Scholarship: This is usually offered on the student's ability, competence & performance.
Graduate Assistantship: Generally it may involve a teaching or research assistantship. Student who receive aid, do so in the form of assistantship i.e. cash stipend or a tuition fee waiver or reduced tuition fee. 

Sports Scholarship: Though seldom offered to international students, athletic or sports scholarships are available in a wide range to outstanding and talented athletes.

Fulbright

The flagship international educational program sponsored by the United States Government, the Fulbright Program is designed to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries..." With this goal, the Fulbright Program has provided over 279,000 participants — chosen for theiracademic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, to exchange ideas and to contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

The Fulbright Program provides grants for Graduate Students, Scholars and Professionals, and Teachers and Administrators from the U.S. and other countries.


For further information, Please contact:

Office of Academic Exchange Programs
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State, SA-44
301 4th Street, S.W., Room 234
Washington, D.C. 20547
Tel: (202) 453-8135
Fax: (202) 453-8125
E-mail: academic@state.gov
Grants and scholarships are also offered by the Indian Government. For details contact University Grants Commission. .
Scholarships are also granted by international and non-government organizations. For an overview consult the biannual UNESCO brochure "Studies Abroad".

Website: www.unesco.org
 

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