Last Updated: June 28, 2021
Finding Scholarships for Higher Studies
Scholarships are a form of financial aid given to different candidates in recognition of their academic achievements, unique talents, or based on financial needs. While the competition for such scholarships is very high, only the best of students with high grades and excellent extracurricular activities often receive them, the only way for a candidate to find out whether they are eligible is to apply for them.
Aside from personal preference for location and activities, international students looking to study in the United States may consider financial assistance as a major factor when choosing a university. U.S. News reviewed colleges and universities in the United States (based on certain criteria) to determine which offered the most financial aid to students looking to expand upon their higher education from a different country.
Scholarships are of different kinds and can range from awards that can fully fund the candidate’s education to smaller awards that candidates can apply for from different places. These scholarships can be awarded by National agencies, non-profit organizations, private agencies and can even be community-based if the candidate comes from a minority group. Finding scholarships that are well-suited to a candidate is a process that one has to keep at even before applying to colleges of their choice.
Benefits of Receiving Scholarships
Receiving scholarships in a timely manner can be life-saving for candidates who come from financially unstable backgrounds. Students who cannot find adequate funds for their higher studies but have received admission in their college of choice will often have to rely on educational loans from private organizations or in the form of direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans which will keep them in debt for years after they complete education.
Scholarships will then be an adequate financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid and is granted to candidates based on their merit or financial need. This ensures that candidates will be allowed to complete their education without having to look for work-study alternatives, letting them excel in their field of study without a financial burden holding them back.
Having a scholarship or grant, in most cases takes care of the entire college tuition fees or even partially covers the cost of attendance. By being a student with high merit and having a steady scholarship, candidates will be able to increase the probability of finding a high-paying job and also for procuring letters of recommendation.
List of Available Scholarships
Hubert Humphrey Fellowships
This scholarship is funded by the US Department of State and is administered by the Institute of International Education. Candidates who receive this fellowship will have to attend a year-long Humphrey Seminar organized by the US universities they have been sent to. In order to develop their professional skills and knowledge in particular fields, they will also have to register for a partial course in the country which will let them travel and communicate with American peers. Candidates will also have to attend a 4-day seminar in Washington where they will be able to meet representatives of different organizations and make contacts.
The different program fields they offer the fellowship in are:
- Human and Institutional Development
- Economic Development
- Finance and Banking
- Public Policy Analysis and Public Administration
- Technology Policy and Management
- Human Resource Management
- Rights and Freedoms
- Communications/ Journalism
- International Religious Freedom
- Law and Human Rights
- Trafficking in Persons Policy and Prevention
- Sustainable Lands
Agricultural and Rural Development
- Natural Resources, Environmental and Climate Change
- Urban and Regional Planning
- Thriving Communities
- Contagious and Infectious Diseases
- Public Health Policy and Management
- HIV/AIDS Policy and Prevention
- Substance Abuse Education, Treatment and Prevention
- Educational Administration, Planning and Policy
- Higher Education Administration
- Teaching of English as a Foreign Language
- Candidate must have an undergraduate degree
- Candidate must have professional experience of 5 years
- Candidate must have no prior experience in the US
- Candidate must show leadership qualities
- Candidate must have a record of public service in the community
- Candidate must be proficient in the English language
The contents that the fellowship covers are-
- Tuition and Fees at the host university
- English Language training, if required
- Living Allowance
- Sickness and Accident Coverage
- One-Time Computer Subsidy
- Air Travel
- Professional Development Allowance
The Fulbright Scholarship, named after Senator J. William Fulbright, is a merit-based scholarship and is part of the United States Cultural Exchange Program. The program has been created with the aim of selecting citizens of the US- students, scholars, professionals, etc.-and allowing them to explore their interests abroad. The exchange programs they offer is provided to over 160 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, etc. In general, they provide-
- Student Grants
- Scholar Grants
- Teacher Grants
- Professional Grants
- Fulbright-Hays Program
Fulbright Grant Benefit
- Candidate must be a US citizen or national
- Candidate must have a conferred Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
- Candidate must meet language requirement of award they are seeking
- Candidate can hold a JD while applying
- Candidates taking a Doctorate in Medicine can only receive grant for advanced study and not internships/residencies
Candidates who are awarded the Fulbright Student Grant will have the following benefits in general-
- Sickness/ Health/ Accident Benefits
- 24/7 support line for all situations
- 12-month eligibility-NCE- for being hired within the federal government
- Additional Benefits to Post Countries
- Transportation to the host country and back
- Accommodation/cost of Living expenses in the host country
Knight-Hennessey Scholars- Stanford University
This is a graduate-level scholarship program that is internationally awarded for studying at Stanford University. Through this scholarship, candidates will be able to receive full funding for any graduate degree and also receive opportunities in leadership training, mentorship, etc. The full-funding includes the cost of attendance, living expenses, accommodation, and other academic expenses that the candidate might have. The criteria involved in the selection process is the possession of leadership qualities, independence of thought, and civic commitment among others.
This scholarship does not include any requirements based on age, college/university, or field of study. The basic eligibility requirements include-
- Candidate must apply to and be accepted in any Stanford graduate degree program.
- Candidate must have a US Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
National Merit Scholarship
This scholarship is provided to candidates who have completed their high school education and have completed their PSAT/NMSQT. The registration for the scholarship is done through high schools rather than the student themselves. It is conducted as a competition and is based entirely on merit. The winners of the Merit Scholarship Awards are selected by considering the academic record, PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index Score, the recommendation provided by their high school, and their extra-curricular activities along with the essay submitted by the student.
- Candidate must have completed the PSAT/NMSQT no later than the 3rd year in 9th through 12th grades.
- Candidate must be enrolled as a high school student
- Candidate must attend a high school in the US, District of Columbia, or the US commonwealth and territory
Army ROTC Scholarships
This scholarship is provided to candidates who are either applying to colleges or have already enrolled in a college/university. It is a merit-based scholarship and not a financial-need-based one. It is given to candidates who agree to serve in the Army on Active Duty or in the Reserve Component. The scholarship covers-
Eligibility Requirements for High School Students
- 2-, 3-, and 4-year Scholarship Options
- Full-Tuition Scholarships
- Accommodation Expenses
- Additional Allowances for other Academic Expenses
- Candidate must be a US citizen
- Candidate must be between 17 and 26 years of age
- Candidate must have a GPA of at least 2.50
- Candidate must have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Candidate must have a minimum score of 1000 in the SAT or 19 on the ACT
- Candidate must meet the physical requirements
- Candidate must agree to accept a commission and serve the Army on Active Duty or in the Reserve Component with 4 years as full-time in the Army and 4 years with the Individual Ready Reserve
Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start Scholarship
This scholarship is provided to candidates who are US citizens and legal residents of New York. They must also be attending any of the colleges/universities in New York. The scholarship is provided on the basis of merit and financial need. Candidates who are qualified for the same will be able to receive a paid internship at JPMorgan Chase all throughout their college including a full-time summer internship and a part-time internship during the school year. The scholarship provides an award of $750 every year for academic expenses along with their full tuition amount.
- Candidate must be graduating from a high school in New York
- Candidate must enroll in a college/university in New York
- Candidate must be a legal resident of New York
- Candidate must fill the Application Form
- Candidate must apply for the FAFSA
- Candidate must submit a recommendation letter from their high school
- Candidate must have their SAT/ACT scores
Dell Scholars Program
The Dell Scholars Program is provided to 500 students every year where they are selected based on financial need and academic merit. Candidates who become part of this program will receive an amount of $20,000. They will also be able to avail themselves of personalized support for their academic, financial and emotional life challenges. They receive a laptop with a 4-year warranty as a part of the program along with Chegg credits worth $500 every year for academic expenses. Unlike other scholarships, this program also contains a Scholars Resource Network that will connect them with their families along with a teletherapy service that provides students with professional counseling, if they so require it.
- Candidate must participate in a program-approved college readiness program while doing their 11th and 12th grade
- Candidate must demonstrate a financial need
- Candidate must be eligible for a Pell Grant in the 1st year of college
- Candidate must enroll for a Bachelor’s program directly after high school graduation
- Candidate must have a minimum of 2.4 GPA
Gate Millennium Scholars Program
This scholarship was introduced in the year 1999 and is provided to minority students who excel academically but also have a financial need. They mainly focus on African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students in order to increase their representation in the academic field. The program offers candidates with their cost of education which is renewable based on satisfactory academic progress. They also receive graduate school funding. They focus on the fields of-
- Computer Science
- Library Science
- Public Health
Best Buy’s @15 Scholarship Program
This scholarship program is available to students who are in the 9-12 grades of their high school education. Candidates who are awarded this scholarship will be able to receive $1000 for a year. This is a merit-based scholarship that also factors in the number of hours the candidate has spent doing community services. The candidate must also have work experience and decent grades in order to receive the scholarship.
- Candidate must be a resident of the US or Puerto Rico
- Candidate must be a high school student in the US or Puerto Rico
- Candidate must have an average GPA of at least 2.5
- Candidate must have voluntary or voluntary professional experience
Hispanic Scholarship fund
This scholarship program is provided for candidates from a Hispanic heritage and are completing their high school, under-graduation, or community college. Candidates who qualify for the same will be able to access their Scholar Support Services which includes career services, mentorship and other training. Candidates will be able to receive a fund between $500 and $5000 as part of the scholarship. It is a need-based scholarship which also considers academic merit.
- Candidate must be of Hispanic heritage
- Candidate must be a US citizen or a permanent legal resident or DACA
- Candidate must have a minimum GPs of 3.0 on 4.0 if in high school
- Candidate must have a GPS of 2.5 on 4.0 if in college.
- Candidate must plan to enroll a full-time course for a four-year university or graduate school.
- Candidate must submit FAFSA
- Hope Scholarship
- US Presidential Scholars Program
- Stars Scholarship
- Tennessee Hope Scholarship
- United Negro College Fund
- Scholarships for Black Women
- Left-Handed Scholarships
- Boren Scholarship
- Harry S. Truman Scholarship
- Drake Scholarships
Methods for Finding Scholarships
- Planning in Advance
Applying for scholarships is a tedious process that candidates often put off until after they start applying to colleges. But it is important that candidates begin the process before even finding the right degree for themselves. Educate oneself about the types of scholarships available and list out the eligibility requirements for the same in order to know the chances the candidate will have in procuring the scholarship or grant. Be on the look-out for-
- Fully-Funding Scholarships
- Partially-Funding Scholarships
- Essay-Competitions Offering Prize Money
- Community-Based Scholarships
- Searching in Scholarship Search Engines
Candidates will be able to get a basic idea about scholarships and grants that are available through Google searches and other scholarship engines like Peterson’s and Fastweb which can all provide all necessary details regarding scholarships. Similar sites will be able to customize the search for the candidate by letting them provide their specific needs and providing them with a narrowed-down list of scholarships that can suit them. It is necessary that candidates keep a list of both fully-funded and partially-funded scholarships even if the award amount is really low since every sum amounts to something during the final calculation.
Every scholarship that the candidate meets the requirements for must be applied to due to the highly competitive nature of receiving scholarships. Going after the most prominent ones only will put the candidate at a disadvantage even if they are highly meritorious. Candidates will also be able to search for scholarship-related information through the FREE scholarship search tool that the US Department of Labor
- Contacting the Financial Aid Office
Every institution will have a Financial Aid Office which helps candidates find the scholarships that are well suited to them. Candidates who are unable to access the internet or cannot figure out how to navigate through the information regarding scholarships and candidates who fear getting scammed in the process will be able to approach the Office and request information for the same.
Candidates will also be able to enquire the same information through their high school or TRIO counselor or contact the nearest federal agency for more information. There is also a state grant agency that can aid candidates in their quest to finding the right scholarship.
- Finding Scholarships Offered by Universities
Candidates who have chosen their field of study including their major will be able to find scholarships relating to their field of study through private organizations and their institutions. This is often a method opted by candidates who excel in their field of study and have received their college acceptance letter.
- Applying for the Federal Student Aid
Candidates will be able to apply for Federal Student Aid by applying through the FAFSA. By submitting this application, universities will be able to determine whether the candidate is eligible for the scholarships and grants they provide. But for this, the applicant will have to be a US citizen or an eligible non-US citizen. The scholarships are also provided on a financial-need basis and hence require information regarding the tax payments and other assets the candidate and their immediate family might have.
They also offer merit-based scholarships to the most brilliant students at the time which can be awarded based on their academic achievement or a combination of academic achievements and special talents they might have.
- They offer Grants like the Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.
- They offer Scholarships like Army ROTC scholarships, Air Force ROTC Scholarships, Navy ROTC scholarships, and Navy ROTC Marine Option Scholarship for military service or for candidates with family members in the military.
- Other Means of Finding Scholarships
Candidates will be able to find scholarships that are mostly partially funded through foundations, religious or community organizations, and even local businesses. There are also civic groups and ethnicity-based organizations that offer scholarships to candidates based on their merit in the said category. Sometimes candidates will be even able to find scholarships through their employers or employers of their parents.
Looking out for Scholarship Scams
Due to the importance of finding a scholarship amongst students looking to do higher studies, there are chances of being duped if the candidate has not researched enough about the same. Candidates will often come across sites and businesses that will claim to provide them will scholarships for a nominal fee of certain services. While it isn’t a crime to charge for information, it is never certain whether the company will provide the services that were subscribed to.
These offers may come through phone, email, or even at seminars, the candidates might attend. It is recommended that candidates often take the services provided into account with the amount of money they pay as a fee. It is also not advisable to register on sites that require a credit card and bank-related information in order to provide candidates with information on scholarships. The measures that can be taken while applying for scholarships are-
- Avoid Scholarships that require payment beforehand or require a credit card and bank-related information.
- Beware of scholarships that require in-depth, sensitive information about the candidate in the early application period.
- Avoid websites that offer to fill FAFSA for a fee. Help for filing the FAFSA application is provided by the financial aid offices in schools, FAFSA forms online help and the Federal Student Aid Information Center.
- The FAFSA form is often duplicated by sites. One can identify them if they require credit card information or a payment of any form. The original FAFSA form is free.
Tips While Applying for Scholarships
- Once the candidate has figured out the scholarships that they are eligible for, they should apply as soon as possible for the same by keeping an eye on deadlines.
- Most scholarship applications require an essay to be submitted based on which the merit of the student is calculated. It is essential that candidates give their best shot at it in order to achieve the scholarship in question.
- Avoid sloppily filled applications.
- Answer the questions in the application directly to the point and complete all the questions.
- Proofread it once before submitting your application.