Are you an international student looking to come to college in the United States? Are you wondering how on Earth you’ll pay for it? Many international students get sticker shock when they find out how expensive college in the US is. The average cost of an in-state ranked, public institution is around $10,388 a year. The average cost of a private institution is around $38,185 a year. And that’s just for tuition and fees. When you include flights and housing costs, you can easily spend six figures on college. So how in the world can you pay for all of this? In this blog, we talk about scholarships and need-based aid for international students.
Schools With Meet Need and Demonstrated Financial Need
The first type of school we’ll talk about is the “Meets Need” school, or schools that meet 100% of demonstrated need. These schools may be either need aware, or need blind. For international admissions, we find that colleges and universities offering to cover 100% of attendance costs are typically more selective if you apply for aid. While a need blind school won’t look at your finances, a need aware school will take your financial situation into account when determining admission. You might face more competitive admissions at these schools if you’re asking for aid, but if you’re accepted, they’ll offer a considerable financial package.
We recommend you check out each individual university to see if they’re need blind, need aware, or need sensitive. Amherst, Bowdoin, Claremont McKenna, Colby, Columbia, Davidson, Harvard, Pomona, Princeton, Stanford, Swarthmore, UChicago, UPenn, Vanderbilt, Washington and Lee, and Yale University are all schools that will meet 100% of demonstrated need for international students if you apply for aid. Check out the links provided for each school for more information.
Schools That Offer Demonstrated Need Below a Certain Income
Certain universities will still offer 100% of demonstrated need to applicants below a certain income threshold. For example, Brown University is loan free if your parents make less than $100,000 with no assets, or less than $60,000 with a certain amount of assets.
MIT has stated that it’s really difficult for international students to get in due to the financial aid situation. In the US, there are grants given by the federal government to low income students. So, when schools are trying to meet 100% of demonstrated need, it is less expensive for them to admit domestic students whose need is supplemented by federal grants. This is one reason why it may be harder to get into certain schools. Schools offering 100% of demonstrated need below a certain income include Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Haverford, MIT, Northwestern, Rice, Vassar, WashU in St Louis, and Wellesley. Check out the links on these schools for more details.
Usually when it comes to aid in the United States, most scholarships are institution-based. If you apply to the University of Southern California, for example, they offer a specific scholarship for international students. You can’t use that scholarship for another school. There are also a few scholarships that aren’t institution-based. You can use those scholarships at any school.
One scholarship that you can use at 60+ universities is #YouAreWelcomeHere. Each participating college offers 2 renewable scholarships that cover 50% of tuition.
Duke University has a full ride scholarship for international students, and American University offer full tuition and room and board to international students. Full tuition merit scholarships for international students are available at George Washington University, St. Lawrence, Temple, Tulane, University of Kansas, and the University of Southern California. These full tuition scholarships don’t include fees or room and board. Full tuition includes the cost of your classes.
If you haven’t already, check out our page on Merit Scholarships. It includes a list of full tuition and full ride scholarships from schools across the country. Double check the chart to make sure that international students are eligible! Sometimes scholarships at these schools are for US residents only.
Other schools that offer partial scholarships of $10 thousand or more for international students include Indiana University in Bloomington, Miami University Ohio, Northeastern, University of Southern California, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and many more included in our table below. The scholarships listed in our chart below are specific to international students.
|Institution||International Merit Scholarship||Award||Link to Requirements|
|Currently around 60 different schools||#YouAreWelcomeHere||Participating colleges and universities will each offer two annual, renewable scholarships that cover a minimum of 50% tuition to selected international undergraduates||Link|
|American University||Emerging Global Leader Scholarship||Full tuition, room and board||Link|
|Brandeis||Wien International Scholarship Program (WISP)||Meets full demonstrated financial need||Link|
|Carthage College||International Student Scholarships||up to $15,000/yr||Link|
|Duke||Karsh International Scholarship Program||Full ride||Link|
|George Washington University||Presidential International Scholarship||Up to full tuition||Link|
|Indiana University Bloomington||Global Engagement Scholarship||Up to $11,000/yr||Link|
|Miami University (Ohio)||International Education Scholarship||Up to $12,000/yr||Link|
|Michigan State University||International Tuition Grant||Up to $25,000/yr||Link|
|Northeastern University||International Scholars Award||Up to $28,000/yr||Link|
|St. Lawrence University||International Scholarships||Up to full tuition||Link|
|Temple University||Merit Scholarships, #WhyUs, Sister Cities||Up to full tuition||Link|
|Tulane University||Global Scholarship||Up to full tuition||Link|
|University of Alabama||International UA Competitive Admissions Scholarship||Up to full tuition||Link|
|University of Cincinatti||Global Scholarship||About $8,000/yr||Link|
|University of Denver||Merit Scholarships||Up to $31,000/yr||Link|
|University of Iowa||International Distinction in Education Award||Up to $10,000/yr||Link|
|University of Kentucky||Bluegrass Spirit, International Ambassador||Up to $16,000/yr||Link|
|University of Kansas||International Excellence||Up to full tuition||Link|
|University of Michigan Ann Arbor||International Student Scholarship||Up to $10,000/yr||Link|
|University of Minnesota||Global Excellence Scholarship||Up to $25,000/yr||Link|
|University of Oregon||International Cultural Service Program||Up to $35,000/yr tuition only||Link|
|University of Southern California||International Freshman Academic||Amount Varies||Link|
|University of Toronto||Lester B Pearson Scholarship||full ride||Link|
|University of Tulsa||International Leadership Scholarship||up to $15,000/yr||Link|
|University of Vermont||International Merit Scholarships||Up to $20,000/yr||Link|
Schools That Offer the Most Amount of Aid
The US News & World Report has ranked which schools are giving international students the most aid based on the size of the class. The number one school on this list is Haverford, which is a small liberal arts school in Pennsylvania. Clearly, Haverford doesn’t have the highest number of international students on campus, but it is giving the largest amount of aid per international student from 2020-2021. Other schools giving more than $64,000 a year are Columbia, Skidmore, Wesleyan, Wellesley, Yale, Washington and Lee, Stanford, Cornell, and Duke. This amounts to basically full tuition at most of these schools.