Do Colleges Give Scholarships

Do Colleges Give Scholarships

International students can apply for scholarships at almost every American college. International students can still use scholarships to lower their education costs and make studying abroad more financially possible, even though there may be fewer chances for nonresidents.

Do Colleges Give Scholarships

It’s critical to know which types of financial help are available to non-citizens of the United States, as foreign students are not eligible for government financial aid. Although there are choices for financial help, the majority of these chances are offered directly through the student’s school.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are the most popular type of scholarships given to students studying abroad. These grants, which originate from the institution itself, may be given to prospective students on the basis of their grade point average (GPA), exceptional exam results, or unique abilities like athletic or creative flair.

International students can apply for merit-based scholarships regardless of their financial situation because they are not given out based on financial need.

These scholarships frequently include requirements to be eligible, such as maintaining a minimum GPA for the award to be renewed annually.

Some colleges automatically consider all applicants for merit-based scholarships, while other schools may require additional scholarship applications. Students need to review each school’s website or speak with the financial aid office for more information on how to apply.

Consider that private colleges often have more scholarship funds available than public colleges. International students usually pay out-of-state tuition at public schools, therefore if they are successful in getting a sizable scholarship, the cost of a private school might be equal to or even less than that of a public school.

Need-Based Scholarships

Most need-based college scholarships are often ineligible to newly admitted international students. This is because foreign students cannot claim financial necessity while still demonstrating financial stability to their college and the US Embassy; instead, they must demonstrate their ability to pay for their studies in the US to be granted a student visa.

However, some foreign students who are already enrolled in college may encounter an unforeseen circumstance where their sponsor is unable to cover their living expenses and tuition. If circumstances warrant it, the university may offer emergency scholarships in the event of a crisis in their home country or the loss of job for their sponsor.

Independent Scholarships

Beyond each college, international students should also research national or state-wide scholarship opportunities. There are many searchable scholarship databases that can filter out certain criteria so students can find awards not limited to U.S. citizens.

When researching these scholarships, it is important to watch out for scams targeting international students. Scholarship applications never have fees to apply or require any upfront payment. Steer clear of anything that appears fraudulent.


Many colleges have two different kinds of work-study programs: Federal work-study and institutional work-study. International students are not eligible for federal work-study programs because they are not residents, but they may be able to apply for other on-campus employment opportunities or work-study that is supported by institutional funds.

International students must maintain their visa status and adhere to all university and immigration regulations surrounding their job eligibility in order to be eligible for on-campus employment. If students need help with résumé writing, interview preparation, or looking for on-campus positions, they should also speak with the career centre on campus.

Financial Alternatives

For international students looking to make the most out of their time in the U.S., it is important to consider other opportunities to save money on college expenses. Community colleges can be a great starting place for undergraduate international students who want to pay significantly lower tuition fees while earning college credit before transferring to a four-year institution.

Starting at a community college can also be a great option for students who need to improve their TOEFL scores or who could benefit from more time studying English to ensure greater academic success after transferring. This can also open the door to other college scholarships that might specifically target transfer students, which can provide an additional benefit.

Where Do Scholarships Come From?

Clubs, groups, charities, foundations, corporations, educational institutions, the government, and private citizens are some of the many entities that provide scholarships. These scholarships allow you to continue your education without having to take on a heavy financial load. They can be merit-based, need-based, or a combination of the two.

Scholarships awarded based on merit are dependent on your performance in school and extracurricular activities, such as community service, athletic or artistic excellence, exam scores, or excellent grades. These awards recognize and promote excellence and typically include requirements that students must fulfil to be eligible.

Need-based scholarships, on the other hand, are given out based on your actual need for money. Consequently, the eligibility decision takes into account several factors, including your family’s income, assets, and other conditions that can affect your capacity to pay for college.

The completion of the CSS Profile or other financial aid applications, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), usually determines your eligibility for need-based scholarships. For students who do not have the money to pay for college independently, need-based scholarships can assist in covering tuition, fees, room and board, and other educational expenses.

In some instances, scholarships may encompass merit-based and need-based components, considering your academic achievements and financial needs. Therefore, it is crucial to research the specific eligibility criteria for any scholarship you’re interested in so you’ll know if you’re eligible to apply.

What Are the Main Sources of Scholarships and Grants?

There are four major types of free money available to college applicants. We will list and discuss them below with the percentage of total grants and/or scholarships that come from each source:

  • 47% of all financial aid comes from federal grants.
  • State grants and scholarships provide for 8% of total funding.
  • Three-quarters of all financial aid comes from school grants and scholarships.
  • Private scholarships make up 10% of all grants and loans.

1. Federal Aid (about 47% of all aid)

It’s estimated that the federal government gives out $120 billion each year in federal aid. But if you are looking for merit scholarships from the federal government, you will be out of luck. Almost all grants from the federal government require demonstrating financial need. You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify for any federal grants.

Expert advice: Even if you don’t believe you’ll be eligible for aid, still fill out the FAFSA. Every year, funds are withheld due to students’ incomplete applications.

In 2023 alone, $3.6 billion in Pell Grants went unclaimed because students didn’t complete the FAFSA. According to the National College Attainment Network (NCAN), 47% of the class of 2022, who would have been eligible for the Pell Grant, did not complete the FAFSA.

Types of Federal Student Aid

  • Pell Grant

By far, the Pell Grant is the biggest federal grant. Pell Grants are available to students with demonstrated financial need. For context, during the award year 2020-2021, 78 percent of Pell Grant recipients had a family income of less than $40,000 a year.

The current full grant, which is adjusted annually, is $6,895 for the 2022-2023 award year.

Is FAFSA a Pell Grant?

Answer: No. The FAFSA is the application, and a Pell Grant is one type of financial aid available to students who complete the FAFSA.

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

The FSEOG is available for students who have “exceptional financial need.” If you don’t qualify for a Pell Grant, you won’t be eligible for this grant that ranges from $1,000 to $4,000 annually. The FSEOG will not be available on all campuses, and the money can run out.

  • Education Tax Benefits

The federal government provides several education tax benefits, which are claimed on your federal income tax return. Some are based on tuition and textbook costs. These include the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), Lifetime Learning Tax Credit (LLTC), and Tuition & Fees Deduction.

The AOTC is the one that offers the biggest tax savings per dollar of eligible higher education costs, but it is only available for a maximum of four years. Therefore, after they have used up all of their eligibility for the AOTC, graduate and professional students as well as continuing education students primarily utilize the LLTC.

Another popular education tax benefit is the Student Loan Interest Deduction, which provides an above-the-line exclusion from income for up to $2,500 in interest paid on federal and private student loans.

  • Veterans and Military Student Aid

The federal government provides several types of military student aid to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and veterans. These include ROTC Scholarships, the Montgomery G.I. Bill, the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program, U.S. Armed Forces Tuition Assistance (TA), and the Student Loan Repayment Program.

  • Federal Loans

You can turn to federal loans if you aren’t eligible for federal grants.

The Direct Loan is for those who file the FAFSA and attend school at least half the time. During five years, students can borrow a maximum of $31,000.

The PLUS Loan is designed for parents of undergraduate students and graduate and professional students. Parents can borrow the difference between the cost of the school and what their child received in financial aid.

2. State Aid (about 8% of all aid)

For citizens of the state, almost every state education department offers at least one grant or scholarship program. A few provide multiple programs.

Money awards from Southern states are more likely to be determined by test scores and grade point average. Awards based on financial need are more likely to be given by states on the East and West coasts.

An easy way to learn more about aid programs in your state is to head to the website of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

On the NASFAA website, you can find links to your state aid programs by following these steps:

Certain state programs—like those in California and New York—have centralized systems, which means that prizes are determined by state-level formulas. In other states, public colleges are given certain latitude in awarding prizes even though the government establishes the necessary standards. Virginia and Texas are among the states in this group.

3. Institutional (School) Grants and Scholarships (about 35% of all aid)

This is the typical procedure for the award process. When a student applies to a school, the admissions office selects which applicants to accept. If merit scholarships are offered by the institution, the award will normally be decided upon during the admissions process, usually taking into account the student’s test results and grades.

This often occurs prior to the school being notified if a kid is eligible for need-based assistance. The admissions staff then determines whether a student still requires assistance after taking merit scholarships into account after reviewing the financial aid form.

In addition to the scholarship, the institution will issue a need-based grant if it is willing to provide further support. Regretfully, merit scholarships are not available at the best liberal arts and research universities.

They only provide assistance in the form of need-based grants. You will therefore be responsible for paying the full cost of attendance at these schools if you are not eligible for need-based help. When assessing the generosity of any institution, a net price calculator is a must due to the vast array of help available.

4. Private Scholarships and Employer Grants (about 10% of all aid)

Private scholarships are given out by external organizations including foundations, civic associations, businesses, religious institutions, trade associations, and charitable organizations. As you discovered, private scholarships are among the smallest sources of educational funding, despite the common misconception that they are the largest.

These scholarships, in contrast to other sources, usually have a one-year duration, and the majority of them are for less than $4,000. The likelihood of receiving a scholarship is therefore roughly one in eight. Scholarships that are highly regarded may have odds of one in 250 or one in 500.


Even though it can be costly to study in the United States as an international student, scholarships can drastically lower the cost. Foreign students are usually eligible for merit-based scholarships, which are awarded by most universities based on an applicant’s GPA or unique skills.

For additional details on available scholarships, the application procedure, and prerequisites for overseas students, always visit the website of your potential university. To reduce your costs, you can also apply to outside organizations for scholarship money or take a part-time job.


How are funds for scholarships to be used?

Any purchases can be made with scholarship cheques issued in your name, but it’s best to see them as investments rather than as free passes to splurge on concert tickets or video games. This money is for educational costs. In addition to lodging, books, pencils, food (you can’t study on an empty stomach), and even computers and software, this could include tuition.

The scholarship you win will determine when you get the money. Before classes start, the money is sometimes given to you all at once; other times, it is given to you in instalments. Occasionally, a scholarship could be disbursed at any point during a semester.

How do scholarships get given out? Who is eligible to receive them?

Students with a 4.0 GPA are not the only ones who receive scholarships. As we previously stated, each scholarship has its requirements. For instance, necessity is a factor in the awarding of certain scholarships. Others need you to be a student in a particular field, a member of an organization, a great athlete, or to meet any other requirements that the organization giving out the money determines.

No matter how good you are in athletics or academics, you ought to be able to discover a few scholarships that fit your needs. Scholarships are even available specifically for students who reside in a certain state or municipality. Furthermore, you can keep applying for scholarships throughout your time in college.

Where can I find scholarships?

Scholarships can be found through a variety of sources, including:

  • The guidance office at your high school
  • Financial aid offices at colleges and universities
  • Search engines for scholarships offered online, like Fastweb,, and Apply
  • Community groups, including corporations, clubs, and charities
  • Associations for professionals in your field of study
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