Unlock a world of education with affordable study abroad programs

March 4th, 2024 by IEFA

Dreaming of studying abroad but worried about the financial burden? Fear not! With the right strategies and resources, you can unlock a world of affordable study abroad education without emptying your bank account. This blog post will guide you through budget-friendly study abroad opportunities, financial aid options, practical cost-saving tips, work-study and internship opportunities and more. Let’s embark on this journey to make your study abroad dreams a reality!

Key takeaways

  • Explore budget-friendly study abroad opportunities and experience global perspectives, language learning and cultural immersion!
  • Leverage external scholarships and resources to make your overseas dreams a reality with the help of knowledgeable advisors.
  • Take advantage of specialized scholarships tailored to you for financial assistance and explore databases packed with funding options.

Unlocking affordable global education: budget-friendly study abroad opportunities

Studying abroad offers students an invaluable opportunity to gain a global perspective, learn a new language and immerse themselves in a different culture. However, many students worry about the costs associated with such an experience. The good news is there are budget-friendly study abroad opportunities out there that make it possible for more students to explore the world without breaking the bank.

There are various types of study abroad programs to choose from, including economical semester programs, short-term and summer immersions and even virtual international learning experiences. Choosing the appropriate program can help you optimize financial aid and reduce the costs of studying abroad. Here are some budget-friendly alternatives to consider.

Economical semester programs around the globe

Affordable semester study abroad programs are available in many locations around the globe. Some cost-effective options include:

Exploring semester-long study abroad programs can offer international students a deeply enriching educational experience abroad, while keeping finances intact.

Short-term and summer immersions on a dime

Short-term and summer study abroad programs can be an excellent option for students seeking a more affordable international experience. Some exciting and budget-friendly options include:

Choosing short courses offers a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures and gain valuable skills, all while keeping within your budget constraints.

Virtual international learning experiences

Virtual international learning experiences present a budget-friendly option compared to conventional study abroad programs. Utilizing online platforms, you can access diverse global learning opportunities:

  • Virtual Study Abroad Programs: These are structured courses offered by international universities, simulating the study abroad experience through online classes, cultural immersion activities, and virtual interaction with international students and faculty.
  • Online Global Learning Experiences: These refer to less formal educational activities, like webinars, global seminars, and short courses focusing on international topics, providing a broader perspective on global issues and diverse cultures.
  • Virtual International Exchange Activities: This includes interactive sessions such as language exchange, cultural workshops and collaborative projects with peers from various countries, enhancing cross-cultural communication and understanding.

Navigating financial aid for your study abroad journey

Understanding the financial aid options available for studying abroad is crucial to making this experience more accessible and affordable. There are various types of financial aid, including government-sponsored student aid, scholarships and grants.

To find and apply for financial aid, follow these steps:

  1. Reach out to both the study abroad office on your campus and the program of your choice to discover the most suitable option for your personal situation.
  2. Focus on scholarships and grants, if available, to maximize funding that does not have to be repaid.
  3. Prioritize any government funded loans you may qualify for before private loans.

Using every available resource and searching for scholarships can help you optimize your financial aid and turn your study abroad dreams into reality. Remember, every bit of financial assistance counts!

Maximizing federal student aid for overseas studies

U.S. citizens may be eligible for federal student aid for overseas studies, so it’s important to understand the eligibility criteria, application process, and terms and conditions of the federal student aid programs available, including federal student loan programs. 

Federal student aid can be used to fund:

  • Tuition
  • Books
  • Fees
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Room and board
  • Other school-related expenses

Carefully studying and applying for federal student aid can help college students substantially reduce the cost of their study abroad experience.

Scholarships tailored for international education

There are numerous scholarships specifically designed for international education, making study abroad programs more affordable and accessible for students. Some examples include the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, offering grants of up to US$5,000 for U.S. undergraduate students to fund their study abroad programs, and the Boren Awards for International Study, providing funding for undergraduate and graduate students to study world regions critical to U.S. interests.

For non-U.S. students, the Fulbright Foreign Student Program is an option, and many others can be found in the scholarship search on IEFA.

Applying for study abroad scholarships that align with your needs and objectives can make your study abroad journey more attainable.

Grants to make studying abroad attainable

Grants can be a crucial resource for students looking to study abroad, especially those who are mindful of their budgets. These funds are typically provided by government entities, educational institutions, or private organizations, and they’re designed to help cover various educational expenses. This can include tuition, fees, books and sometimes even living costs. What makes grants especially appealing is that they don’t need to be repaid, making them an attractive option for students seeking financial aid.

Now, it’s important to understand how grants differ from scholarships, as both are types of financial aid but serve different purposes and come with their own set of criteria. 

Grants, as mentioned, are often need-based. This means they are awarded to students primarily based on their financial situation. The aim is to support those who might not otherwise afford an education, particularly abroad. Governments, institutions, and organizations assess a student’s financial need through various forms of documentation and applications to determine eligibility.

Scholarships, on the other hand, are often merit-based. They are awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievements, talents, or involvement in community service. Scholarships can also support students studying particular subjects or those from certain backgrounds. Like grants, scholarships do not require repayment, making them another excellent way to fund your studies abroad. However, they might come with conditions such as maintaining a certain grade point average to continue receiving the scholarship.

Leveraging external scholarships and resources

External scholarships and resources can play a vital role in helping you fund your study abroad experience. By leveraging these opportunities, you can make your study abroad dreams a reality without exhausting your finances.

Databases packed with study abroad funding options

Explore databases packed with study abroad funding options to find the right scholarships and grants that align with your needs and goals. Some examples of these databases include IEFA and International Scholarships.com.

These resources can help you uncover an abundance of funding opportunities to make your study abroad experience more affordable.

Specialized scholarships for unique student profiles

Specialized scholarships tailored to unique student profiles, such as first-generation students or under-represented groups, can be a great way to secure financial assistance. You can search specifically for scholarships based on your country, ethnicity, destination preferences or other criteria.

Applying for scholarships that align with your unique background and profile can also enhance your chances of securing financial support.

The role of nonprofit organizations in awarding scholarships

Nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in awarding scholarships and supporting students in their study abroad journey.

Researching and applying for scholarships offered by nonprofit organizations can boost your chances of obtaining financial aid.

Practical tips for reducing study abroad costs

Choosing economical destinations

Selecting study abroad destinations with a lower cost of living is a great way to save money while still experiencing a new culture and gaining valuable skills.

Choosing a budget-friendly destination can make your study abroad journey more feasible without compromising your educational quality.

Smart budgeting for daily expenses

Effectively budgeting for daily expenses is crucial for keeping your study abroad costs under control. Being aware of your daily expenditures and making wise choices can let you enjoy your study abroad journey without the worry of excessive spending.

Read our post about studying abroad on a budget.

Accessible accommodation options

Finding affordable accommodation is another essential aspect of reducing study abroad costs. Living in residence halls on campus, renting a private apartment off campus or participating in a homestay are options to explore.

Carefully studying and selecting suitable accommodations for your requirements can help you maintain low housing costs and ensure a comfortable stay abroad.

Exploring work-study and internship opportunities abroad

Work-study and internship opportunities abroad offer another pathway to help fund your education while gaining valuable experience and making a difference. These opportunities not only provide financial support, but also enhance your career prospects and personal growth. It’s important to check whether your visa or immigration status will allow you to work legally while you’re in your chosen country.

Balancing work and study in a new country

Finding the right balance between work and study while experiencing a new country is crucial for maximizing the benefits of your study abroad journey. By managing your workload and prioritizing your academic commitments, you can ensure your academic performance isn’t negatively impacted.

Moreover, working while studying abroad can provide you with valuable skills and experiences that can boost your academic performance and future career prospects.

Intern abroad for career growth and financial support

Interning abroad can be an excellent opportunity for both financial support and career growth. By participating in internships in your field of study, you can gain valuable work experience, expand your professional network and develop essential skills sought by employers.

Paid internships abroad also can be a great way to offset the cost of your study abroad program while still gaining an unforgettable international experience.

Community service as a pathway to growth

Engaging in community service may not be a way to fund your education but it can certainly make a difference in your life and the lives of others. While paid volunteer positions are generally uncommon in the U.S., certain programs might offer non-financial benefits such as accommodation, meals, travel support, or access to social activities. 

This experience can also enhance your personal growth and provide you with valuable skills and insights that can be applied to your future career and personal life.

Expert insights: Consult your study abroad advisor

Consult your on-campus study abroad advisor to ensure you make the most informed decision possible about your study abroad experience. Your advisor can provide personalized program recommendations, help you understand the fine print of financial support options and offer ongoing support before, during and after your program.

Personalized program recommendations

Study abroad advisors can help you find the perfect program for you by getting to know your goals, interests and preferences during appointments. They’ll provide you with tailored recommendations for study abroad programs that fit your needs.

Consult your study abroad advisor to ensure you select a program that matches your academic and personal goals.

Understanding the fine print of financial support

When it comes to financial support for studying abroad, it’s important to understand the fine print, such as eligibility criteria, application requirements and how the funds can be used. Your study abroad advisor or financial aid office may be able to help you navigate these details and ensure you have a clear understanding of the financial assistance available to you.

This knowledge will be invaluable in helping students make the most of their study abroad experience.

Ongoing support before, during and after the program

Your study abroad advisor can provide ongoing support throughout your study abroad journey, including before, during and after your program. This support can include:

  • Guidance on program selection
  • Assistance with visa and documentation
  • Connecting you with resources and support services
  • Answering any questions or concerns you may have while abroad

By maintaining a strong relationship with your study abroad advisor, you can ensure you have the best possible experience and make the most of your time overseas.

What we’ve learned about affordable study abroad options

Studying abroad doesn’t have to be financially daunting. You can optimize your funds by exploring budget-friendly study abroad programs, understanding financial aid options, implementing practical cost-saving measures and leveraging external scholarships and resources. Remember, with the right strategies and support, you can unlock a world of education and adventure without breaking the bank. So, why wait? Start your journey today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I study abroad on a budget?

Studying abroad doesn’t have to be expensive – choose a low-cost program, become a budgeting expert, cook your own meals, buy discount cards and travel cheaply. Plus, apply for scholarships early, go through a program provider, choose a location with a low cost of living, avoid large cities and opt for homestays! Lastly, consider enrolling directly in a foreign university, do a work-study or opt for a cheap study abroad program and then apply for scholarships and grants for even more savings! With these tips, you can make studying abroad on a budget a reality.

What are some budget-friendly study abroad opportunities?

Looking for a budget-friendly way to study abroad? Check out economical semester programs, short-term immersions and virtual international learning experiences – all are great options!

What resources can help me find scholarships and grants for studying abroad?

Take advantage of online databases like IEFA and specialized scholarships for study abroad and investigate nonprofit organizations offering awards and ongoing support. It’s time to get started!

Finance for studying abroad: What you need to know

January 3rd, 2024 by IEFA

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience, opening up countless opportunities for personal growth, academic enrichment and cultural immersion. However, financing this adventure can sometimes seem like a daunting task. But have no fear! In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to make your study abroad dreams a reality. From understanding federal and private student loans to exploring alternative funding options, we’re here to help you navigate the world of finance for studying abroad and make informed decisions every step of the way.

Key takeaways

  • Understand federal and private student loans to finance your study abroad experience.
  • Research top lenders, explore scholarships/grants and utilize university financial aid.
  • Prepare for the loan application process, disbursement and repayment.

Understanding federal and private student loans for studying abroad

Federal and private student loans have benefits and limitations, and understanding these distinctions can help you make informed decisions about which loan options best suit your needs. In general, federal loans tend to offer more favorable terms, such as fixed interest rates and more flexible repayment options. On the other hand, private loans can provide additional funding beyond what’s available through federal aid and may come with higher interest rates and stricter repayment terms.

Let’s delve deeper into each of these loan categories and explore their unique features and benefits.

Federal student loans

Federal student loans are an excellent resource for eligible U.S. citizens. They are available through your university’s financial aid office and are need-based, meaning they are awarded based on your financial situation. One of the main advantages of federal loans is their fixed interest rates which are more predictable and stable compared to variable rates offered by many private lenders.

To apply for federal student aid, start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your FAFSA form will determine your eligibility for various federal student aid programs, including subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

Keep in mind, federal student loans may not cover all your education expenses while studying abroad. The maximum loan amount you can receive will depend on many factors including your financial need and the cost of attendance at your chosen foreign university. Your loan amount may also might include your status as a dependent or independent student. 

Exhausting your federal aid options before seeking out private loans can save you money on interest and fees in the long run. It may even open up possibilities for loan forgiveness programs if you plan to pursue a career in public service.

One important factor to consider is that federal student loans are not available for international students (non-U.S. citizens) studying in the U.S.

Private student loans

Private student loans can be an excellent supplement to federal aid when studying abroad, especially if you’ve already maximized your federal borrowing limits or do not qualify for federal loans. Unlike federal loans, private loans are offered by banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. Their approval is often based on your credit history or other factors depending on the lender. This means you may need a cosigner with good credit to help secure a private loan if you don’t have a sufficient credit history yourself. Loans that do not require a cosigner are also available from some lenders – find out if you are eligible for a loan without a cosigner with our loan comparison tool.

Private student loans can potentially bridge the gap between federal aid and your total education expenses, but it’s important to be mindful of some factors. Private loans may have higher interest rates than federal loans. They may also have less flexible repayment terms. Additionally, private loans typically do not offer the same loan forgiveness programs available for federal loans. Therefore, it’s essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons of private loans and consider them as financial aid options.

Top lenders for study abroad loans

 The top lenders for private study abroad loans are:

  • MPOWER Financing.
  • College Ave.
  • Sallie Mae.
  • Ascent.
  • Discover.

Each lender offers different terms and conditions, so it’s essential to carefully review and compare their offerings.

For example, College Ave is known for its flexible repayment terms, ranging from five to 15 years. It also has a quick online application process that takes less than five minutes to complete. MPOWER Financing offers loans specifically designed for international students studying in the U.S. without a cosigner, making it an attractive option for many.

Our loan search tool takes the research time out of your search – see what lenters you’re eligible to apply for in less than 10 seconds. 

Financing your study abroad experience without loans

Although student loans serve as a valuable resource for funding your study abroad adventure, there are other options. Scholarships, grants and university financial aid are all excellent avenues to consider. By tapping into these resources, you may be able to significantly lower your education expenses and minimize the amount of debt you need to take on.

Scholarships and grants

Scholarships and grants are a fantastic way to finance your study abroad experience without relying solely on loans. There are need-based, merit-based or diversity-based awards, depending on the specific scholarship or grant. Some scholarships are awarded based on academic achievements, while others may be geared toward students with specific interests, backgrounds or fields of study.

To find and apply for scholarships and grants, research opportunities through your university, as well as external organizations and websites such as IEFA.org. IEFA offers a comprehensive list of study abroad scholarships for students from various backgrounds and fields of study. Keep in mind that scholarship applications often require a significant amount of time and effort, so be prepared to invest your energy in crafting a standout application that highlights your unique strengths and qualities.

University financial aid

Your university’s financial aid office can be an invaluable resource. In addition to providing guidance on the various types of aid, it can assist you with the application process. 

Your university’s financial aid office may also offer additional resources, such as financial planning tools and budgeting advice, to help you manage your education expenses while studying abroad. 

Navigating the study abroad loan application process

It’s essential to take proactive steps to ensure a smooth and successful loan application experience. That includes preparation and understanding eligibility requirements. In the following sections, we’ll provide you with practical tips and insights on how to prepare for the study abroad loan application process, including advice on cosigner requirements and what to expect throughout the application journey.

Preparing for the application

Prior to embarking on the loan application process, it’s important to establish a solid foundation for a successful application. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Maintain good academic standing, as this can demonstrate to lenders that you’re a reliable borrower.
  2. Take the time to research your study abroad program, considering factors such as location, length and program type.
  3. Understand the costs associated with your chosen program to inform your financial planning.

Another critical step in preparing for your study abroad loan application is reaching out to your university’s financial aid office. Financial aid officers can provide valuable guidance on the types of loans available, as well as assist you in navigating the application process. 

Cosigner requirements

Cosigner requirements for study abroad loans can vary, but in general, having a U.S. cosigner with a good credit history can significantly improve your chances of loan approval and securing better loan terms. A cosigner is typically a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who agrees to take on the responsibility of repaying your loan if you are unable to do so.

Without sufficient credit history yourself, it’s important to engage a potential cosigner well before your loan application deadline. This allows ample time for them to review their financial situation and consider whether they’re willing and able to support you in this capacity.

If you’re looking for a lender use our loan search tool to quickly find one! 

Managing repayment after studying abroad

After successfully securing funding, maintaining your loan repayment obligations becomes paramount. Managing repayment after studying abroad involves:

  • Understanding the repayment plans available to you.
  • Exploring loan forgiveness programs if applicable.
  • Ensuring you stay on top of your payments to avoid falling behind on your loans.

The upcoming sections will address different repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs.  

Repayment plans

Repayment plans for study abroad loans will depend on the specific loan you’ve chosen, whether it’s a federal or private loan. Options for repayment may include:

  • Standard repayment: This is the basic type of loan repayment where you pay a fixed amount every month for a set period, usually 10 years. It’s straightforward but may require higher monthly payments.
  • Extended repayment: This plan stretches your loan repayment over a longer period, typically up to 25 years. This means smaller monthly payments, but you end up paying more in interest over time.
  • Graduated repayment: With this plan, your payments start low and increase over time, usually every two years. It’s designed for people who expect their income to grow in the future.
  • Income-driven repayment: This is a flexible plan where your monthly payments are based on your income. If your income is low, your payments could be very small.
  • Pay-as-you-earn repayment: This is a type of income-driven repayment where your monthly payments are generally a set percentage of your discretionary income.

Each option offers its unique advantages and disadvantages.

For example, standard repayment involves fixed monthly payments over a period of 10 years, providing predictability and stability in your repayment schedule. On the other hand, income-driven repayment plans allow you to make payments based on your income, ensuring that your monthly payments remain manageable even if your financial situation changes.

Loan forgiveness programs

Loan forgiveness programs can provide relief from student loan debt for borrowers who work in specific fields or meet certain eligibility criteria. These programs typically require that you work in a qualifying field, such as nursing or teaching, and often involve work done in underserved areas or with populations in need.

Examples of loan forgiveness programs include Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Forgiveness, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF). By researching and understanding the eligibility requirements for these programs, you may be able to secure partial or full forgiveness of your study abroad loans, reducing your overall debt burden.

Tips for choosing the right study abroad program

Choosing the ideal study abroad program requires consideration of several factors, including location, program length and the type of program that aligns best with your academic and personal aspirations. In addition to these considerations, it’s essential to understand the financial implications of your chosen program. Factors like tuition fees, living expenses and available scholarships can all play a role in determining the overall cost of your study abroad experience.

Some of the most sought-after study abroad destinations offer excellent quality of life, but may come with a higher cost of living. Researching and comparing different study abroad programs can help international students find the best fit for their preferences and budget.


Studying abroad can be an incredible, life-changing experience. Understanding the various financing options available to you will help you move toward your goals without being overwhelmed financially.

Remember to thoroughly research and compare loan options, seek guidance from your university’s financial aid office and explore alternative funding opportunities to minimize your reliance on loans. With the right preparation and commitment, you can make your study abroad dreams a reality and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do people afford to study abroad?

You can make studying abroad affordable by applying for scholarships and grants and getting help from your financial aid office. Scholarships and grants can help you cover tuition fees, travel expenses and even living costs. Even small, niche scholarships can make a difference in funding your education abroad. 

How does studying abroad help you financially?

Studying abroad can give you a unique set of skills and experiences that might give you an edge in the job market.

Can I get student loans for study abroad?Yes, you can definitely get student loans for studying abroad! Don’t let lack of financing stand in the way of this incredible opportunity – explore your options today by finding and comparing loans!

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Finding financial aid: Your guide to scholarships, grants and student loans for international students

October 26th, 2023 by IEFA

Studying abroad offers countless opportunities for personal and professional growth, but financial constraints can hold many students back. Fear not, future global citizens! In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the world of finding financial aid for international students, exploring scholarships, grants and student loans to make your dream of studying abroad a reality. 

Understanding financial aid options

Four primary options exist for college students seeking financial assistance to study in the U.S.:

  • Scholarships.
  • Grants.
  • Federal student loans.
  • Private student loans. 

Bear in mind that federal student loans are not available for international students, but don’t worry – there are still plenty of resources at your disposal.

What students need to know about each resource in a nutshell: 

  • Scholarships are typically awarded based on academic merit or financial need and are not paid back. 
  • Grants are typically based on need and do not need to be repaid. 
  • Federal student loans are available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents and need to be repaid. 

Let’s dive deeper into each option. 


Scholarships are like the golden ticket of financial aid. They’re merit-based or need-based awards that don’t require repayment. With thousands of scholarships available globally, your chances of finding the perfect fit are quite promising. IEFA (International Education Financial Aid) is a free online resource that can serve as your faithful companion in the quest for scholarships. By creating a profile on IEFA, you can discover a plethora of scholarship opportunities, ensuring you don’t miss out on any potential financial support.

Not only does IEFA simplify the scholarship search process, but it also provides access to information on international student loan options. So whether you’re a high school student looking to fund your undergraduate studies or a graduate student seeking assistance for your master’s or doctoral program, IEFA has got you covered.


Grants are need-based forms of financial assistance that don’t need to be repaid as long as the grant’s requirements are met. While eligibility requirements for grants vary depending on the provider, they’re generally awarded based on financial need, academic merit or a combination of both. The application process may involve filling out forms, submitting documentation such as transcripts and financial statements and providing letters of recommendation.

Keep in mind that grants are usually awarded on a one-time basis and may not be renewable. Additionally, grants often come with specific stipulations, like maintaining a certain GPA or completing a set number of community service hours. However, the extra effort required to secure a grant can be well worth it, as they can significantly reduce your financial burden.

Federal student loans (not available for international students)

Federal student loans are government-funded loans that offer favorable terms, such as fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans. However, these loans are not available to international students, as they’re reserved for U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens.

Don’t be disheartened! There are alternative options available for international students, which we’ll explore in the next section.

Private student loans

Private student loans are offered by banks and other financial institutions with terms and interest rates that can vary significantly. These loans are designed to bridge the gap between the cost of education and the financial aid received from scholarships, grants and federal loans.

For international students, obtaining a private student loan often requires a U.S. cosigner with a good credit history. This cosigner acts as a guarantor, taking on the responsibility of repaying the loan in case the borrower fails to do so.

Fortunately, there are private loans of up to US$100,000 that do not require a cosigner or collateral. You can check your eligibility for a no-cosigner and no-collateral loan using our international student loan eligibility checker


Your school might allow you to work part time right on campus to supplement your income. This can be a great way to earn some money to help pay for school expenses. Plus, you’ll get real work experience at the same time. To find out if your school offers this, check out their official website or speak to the financial aid office. Remember to make sure your visa allows you to work.

Can an international student get financial aid?

While international students aren’t eligible for federal financial aid, there are other types of financial aid available. To secure the best possible financial aid package, it’s essential to start researching early, use online resources and consult your school’s financial aid office.

Research financial aid options early

Starting your financial aid research early can provide you with a competitive edge in the race for funds. By familiarizing yourself with the various financial aid options well in advance, you can ensure you don’t miss any deadlines and give yourself ample time to gather the necessary documentation.

Early research also allows you to identify and apply for a wider range of college scholarships and grants, increasing your chances of securing the funds needed to attend your dream graduate school.

Use online financial aid resources

In the digital age, a world of financial aid opportunities and free visa support letters is just a few clicks away. Online resources like Fastweb and eduPASS can help you discover scholarships and grants specifically tailored to international students. These platforms allow you to search for financial aid based on factors such as nationality, field of study and level of education.

Consult your school’s financial aid office

Your school’s financial aid office can be an invaluable resource in your quest for financial assistance. These offices can provide detailed information about the various types of financial aid available at your school, as well as guidance on the application process and eligibility requirements.

Additionally, they can inform you about any school-specific scholarships or grants that may be available to you. 

Maximizing financial aid awards

Now that we’ve explored the various financial aid options available to international students, it’s time to discuss strategies for maximizing your awards. In this section, we’ll cover tips for comparing financial aid offers, participating in work-study programs and budgeting wisely to ensure you make the most of your financial aid package.

When comparing financial aid offers, it’s important to consider the total cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, room and board and other expenses. Additionally, you should look at the types of aid offered, such as grants.

Compare financial aid offers

When you receive financial aid offers from different schools, it’s important to carefully compare them to make an informed decision. 

As you compare, assess the:

  • Total cost of attendance.
  • Amount of financial aid offered.
  • Specific terms of each loan, such as:
    • Interest rates.
    • Grace periods.
    • Repayment plans.

By taking the time to thoroughly evaluate each offer, you can make a judicious decision that best suits your financial needs and long-term goals.

Consider work-study programs

Work-study programs offer a unique opportunity for college students to earn money for their education while gaining valuable work experience. These programs, often offered by universities and colleges, provide part-time jobs on or off campus that can help cover various college expenses.

By participating in a work-study program, graduate students can not only reduce their reliance on student loans, but also enhance their resume and develop essential skills for their future career.

Use budgeting and saving tips

Effective budgeting and money-saving practices can significantly impact your financial well-being during your international education journey. Start by creating a realistic budget that accounts for essential expenses, such as tuition, housing, transportation and groceries. Look for ways to cut costs, such as utilizing student discounts, buying used textbooks and cooking meals at home instead of dining out.

In addition to budgeting, it’s important to develop good saving habits. Set aside a portion of your income from part-time work or work-study programs for emergencies and unexpected expenses. By maintaining a healthy balance between spending and saving, you can minimize your reliance on student loans and set yourself up for financial success in the future.


Securing financial aid as an international student may seem like a daunting task, but with the right resources and strategies, it’s possible to overcome financial barriers and make your dream of studying abroad a reality. Resources include: scholarships, grants, private student loans and work-study programs. Remember to start your research early, compare financial aid offers and practice sound budgeting and saving strategies to maximize your financial aid awards. Now, go forth and conquer the world of financial aid – your international education adventure awaits!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I figure out my financial aid?

Figuring out your financial aid is a multistep process. First, start by reviewing the college’s cost of attendance and understanding your expected family contribution. Then, check your award letter to understand how much money you are receiving from the college, the state and the federal government in the form of grants, scholarships and/or loans.

Finally, research other sources of financial aid such as scholarships and grants to help fund your education.

What are the four types of financial aid?

Financial aid for college or career school can be divided into four main categories: scholarships, grants, loans and work-study. These are all important sources of funding that students should consider when planning their education and finances.

Scholarships are not repaid and are typically awarded based on academic merit or other criteria, such as community service or leadership. Grants are typically based on need and generally are not repaid. Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid, and work-study allows you the opportunity to earn an income to help pay for expenses. 

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Explore Computing Scholarships for Computer Science Majors

October 23rd, 2023 by IEFA

Imagine unlocking the door to a world of opportunities in the fascinating field of computer science, without the worry of funding your education weighing you down. A treasure trove of computing scholarships awaits you, designed to support ambitious students like you in pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of discovering, applying for and securing these scholarships, helping you achieve your academic and career goals. Are you ready to embark on this rewarding quest?

Key takeaways

  • Discover a range of computer science scholarships to suit your needs.
  • Maximize your chances of success by understanding eligibility criteria and researching the application process.
  • Apply for all applicable scholarships, maintain a high GPA and strive for academic excellence to maximize chances of securing a computing scholarship.

Table of contents

Discovering computing scholarships

Begin your computing scholarship journey by exploring online directories, professional organizations, tech companies, universities, high school counselors and community organizations. These resources provide a wide range of opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students to secure computer science scholarships, thus turning their dreams into reality. Notable sources of these scholarships include IEEE, Society for Women in Engineering, (ISC)2, Google and Microsoft. With numerous technology scholarships available the possibilities are endless.

Creating a profile on platforms like IEFA.org can help students discover computer science scholarship opportunities, including those tailored to high school seniors planning to become computer science students in college. Reviewing eligibility requirements and utilizing search filters to refine the options will lead you to the most suitable scholarship for your needs.

When exploring scholarships, remember to consider those specifically designed for:

  • Female students.
  • Minority groups.
  • Low-income students.
  • Rewarding outstanding academic performance.

With such a diverse range of opportunities available, there is a computer science scholarship available for most aspiring computer science students, including scholarships for computer science majors already pursuing their studies.

Eligibility criteria for computing scholarships

While each computing scholarship has its own set of eligibility requirements, there are some common criteria you should be aware of. These typically include:

  • Academic performance.
  • Financial need.
  • Demographics.
  • Career goals.
  • Specialization areas.

Understanding these requirements is key to applying for scholarships you are eligible for and more likely to secure.

Some scholarships have specific eligibility requirements, which may include factors like gender, minority status or membership in certain organizations. For example, the Honeywell Scholarship targets undergraduate women studying computer science or engineering who demonstrate financial need and/or belong to underrepresented groups.

A thorough study of the eligibility requirements for each scholarship allows you to concentrate your efforts on those that are most suitable, thereby maximizing your likelihood of receiving the scholarship. This proactive approach will help you make the most of the available scholarship opportunities and pave the way toward your computer science degree.

In addition to scholarships, there are alternative financial aid options available for computer science students, such as grants, loans and work-study programs. Exploring these options can help you supplement your scholarship funding and further reduce the cost of your education.

Online programs and scholarships

Online computer science programs offer the flexibility to learn and grow your skills remotely, either partially or entirely. Enrolling in a computer science program often has its own associated scholarships, making it even more feasible for you to pursue your degree.

While evaluating online computer science programs, researching the eligibility criteria for their scholarships is a significant step. This will help you understand whether you qualify for financial aid and ensure that you’re applying for the most suitable scholarships.

Scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students

A wide variety of scholarships specifically target undergraduate students or graduate students in computer science, including those focusing on underrepresented populations, which can help you fund your computer science degree and achieve your academic and career goals.

Some examples of such scholarships include the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship Program for high school seniors planning to major in computer science, computer engineering or a related subject. Another example is the Energy Telecommunications & Electrical Association scholarship, which targets those seeking a degree in computer science.

For female students and minority students, the Society of Women Engineers Scholarship and the (ISC)2 Undergraduate/Associate Scholarship provide financial aid opportunities to encourage diversity in the field of computer science. These scholarships not only promote inclusion but also reward outstanding academic performance.

Alternative financial aid options

While scholarships are a fantastic way to fund your computer science education, alternative financial aid options, such as grants, work-study and private loans can also provide valuable assistance.

Grants are based on financial need rather than merit and are a common way to gain financial aid without needing to repay it. Computer science students can access various grants, including:

  • Federal Pell Grants (U.S. citizens only).
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (U.S. citizens only).
  • State government grants (usually U.S. citizens only).
  • University grants.
  • Grants from private and nonprofit organizations.
  • Research grants from organizations like Google and The National Science Foundation.

Work-study offers students the opportunity to:

  • Gain valuable work experience.
  • Earn money while studying.
  • Develop crucial skills.
  • Offset the cost of education.

Loans offer another way to finance your education, although they need to be repaid after graduation. 

Exploring these alternative financial aid options can supplement your scholarship funding, paving a smoother path toward your computer science degree.

Tips for securing computing scholarships

Adopting a proactive approach is key to increasing your chances of securing computing scholarships. Begin by applying for scholarships as early as possible, giving yourself sufficient time to complete the required paperwork and submit your application before the deadline.

Staying organized and tracking scholarship opportunities can help you avoid missing important deadlines and ensure you’re applying for every scholarship you’re eligible for. Researching each scholarship to ensure eligibility and fit is another critical step in this process, as it allows you to focus your efforts on the right scholarships and meet all the requirements.

Finally, submitting a strong essay can give your application a competitive edge, boosting your chances of being awarded the scholarship. Make sure to carefully proofread your application and essay before submitting to ensure you’re showcasing your achievements and skills in the best possible light.

Scholarships for international students in computer science

International students pursuing computer science degrees in various countries can also benefit from a range of scholarships tailored to their needs. Some notable examples include:

To maximize your chances of securing these scholarships, it’s important to:

  • Research the application process.
  • Stay on top of deadlines.
  • Thoroughly research each scholarship and ensure compatibility with all the eligibility criteria.

Doing these things can boost your chances of winning a scholarship and funding your computer science education in your desired country.

Women in computing scholarships

Scholarships specifically designed for women in computing and STEM fields play a vital role in promoting diversity and inclusion in these traditionally male-dominated industries. By providing financial support, these scholarships can help increase female representation in computer science and bring more diverse perspectives, solutions and outlooks to the field.

Some scholarships that cater to women in computing include the Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Scholarship, the Northrop Grumman SWE Scholarship and the MPOWER Women in STEM Scholarship. These scholarships aim to support female students throughout their academic journey and into the workforce.

Applying for these scholarships is a fantastic opportunity for women to fund their computer science education and make a meaningful difference in the field. Researching and applying for these scholarships can help women in computing unlock their full potential and contribute to the industry’s ongoing growth and diversification.

Application process for computing scholarships

The application process for computing scholarships can vary depending on the scholarship, but generally involves:

  • Submitting an application form.
  • Providing transcripts.
  • Submitting letters of recommendation.
  • Writing essays.

Each scholarship will have its own unique requirements, so it’s essential to thoroughly research the application process for each scholarship you’re interested in.

Understanding the application process and requirements aids in submitting a comprehensive and compelling application that highlights your achievements and skills. This not only increases your chances of being awarded the scholarship but also helps you avoid any last-minute stress and confusion.

Remember to proofread your application and essay before submitting, as a polished and error-free application can make a significant difference in the eyes of the scholarship committee. By taking the time to ensure your application is the best it can be, you’ll be well on your way to securing the computing scholarship you deserve.

Maximizing chances of securing computing scholarships

Adopting a proactive approach and applying for all applicable scholarships is crucial to maximize your chances of securing computing scholarships. This increases your chances of receiving funding and helps you uncover scholarships you may not have been aware of before.

Another key factor is maintaining a high GPA, as this showcases your commitment and diligence as a student to scholarship providers. By continuously striving for academic excellence, you can increase the likelihood of being granted a scholarship and pave the way toward your computer science degree.


The world of computing scholarships offers a wealth of opportunities for students in computer science to fund their education and achieve their academic and career goals. By exploring various sources of scholarships, understanding eligibility criteria and applying for every applicable scholarship, you can maximize your chances of securing the funding you need. Remember to stay organized, research each scholarship thoroughly and submit polished, compelling applications. With determination and perseverance, you can unlock the door to a rewarding and fulfilling future in computer science.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use scholarship money for a computer?

Probably! With most organizations you can use your scholarship money to purchase a computer, but it’s worth checking with the provider first. Remember, scholarship money can be used for any educational expense deemed necessary by your school.

Does Apple offer scholarships?

Yes, Apple offers scholarships but the Apple Scholars program is currently invitation-only.

What are the hardest scholarships to get?

The Rhodes Scholarship, Fulbright Scholarship, Gates Cambridge Scholarship, Princeton Scholarship, Mitchell Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship and Jardine Scholarship are amongst the hardest scholarships to get.

Does Amazon offer scholarships?

Yes, Amazon offers scholarships through their Future Engineer Scholarship program, which includes a $40,000 scholarship and an offer for a paid summer internship.

What sources can I explore to find computing scholarships?

Explore online directories like IEFA.org, professional organizations, tech companies, universities, high school counselors and community organizations to find a wide range of computing scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. These scholarships can help cover tuition, fees and other educational expenses. They can also provide additional support for research, internships and other activities related to computing.

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How to Refinance a Student Loan: Options for International Borrowers

September 28th, 2023 by IEFA

Refinancing your international student loans can be a game-changer in managing your student loan debt more efficiently and potentially reducing the amount of interest you pay by thousands of dollars. But, what are the steps to refinance, and what challenges do international students face in this process? In this blog post, we’ll uncover the benefits of refinancing for international borrowers, discuss the challenges and provide actionable steps on how to refinance a student loan, helping you take control of your financial future.

Key takeaways

  • Refinancing student loans can provide international students with better loan terms and help reduce the amount they pay in fees and interest.
  • International students must consider credit score, repayment terms, lender fees and eligibility requirements before refinancing.
  • Students can find lenders with competitive interest rates and build a U.S. credit history when they make timely payments.


Understanding student loan refinancing

International student loan refinancing challenges

Eligibility requirements for refinancing student loans

Steps to refinance your international student loan

Top lenders for international student loan refinancing

Building your credit history in the U.S.

Additional options for international borrowers

Frequently asked questions

Understanding student loan refinancing

When you refinance your student loans, you secure a new loan from a lender to settle your current student loan debt. This new loan comes with different terms such as lower interest rates or reduced monthly payments, which could reduce the amount you pay over the life of the loan and potentially help you get out of debt faster. It’s an excellent solution for international students who want to change the terms of their international student loan and take advantage of better loan terms.

However, refinancing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Before embarking on the process, you need to evaluate your financial situation, compare lenders and offers and familiarize yourself with eligibility requirements. The good news is there are excellent lenders like MPOWER Financing, SoFi and Citizens Bank that specialize in international student loan refinancing.

What is refinancing?

Refinancing is the process of obtaining a new loan to pay off an existing one, often with the goal of securing a lower interest rate or reducing monthly payments. For international students, refinancing can be an opportunity to release a cosigner and consolidate multiple loans into one, making it easier to keep track of payments and manage your finances.

Building a solid credit score in the U.S. may enable you to qualify for better rates on refinanced loans, thus reducing the amount you pay in interest every month. Keep in mind that not all lenders provide student loan refinancing for international students, so it’s essential to research and understand your options.

How refinancing works

Refinancing student loans involves a new lender paying off your existing loan(s) with a new loan. Your new loan will have different terms and a potentially more favorable interest rate. When you’re thinking about refinancing your student loans, it’s crucial to carefully examine the new interest rate, repayment terms and any fees the new lender might charge. By doing so, you can ensure refinancing is the best move for your financial future.

International student loan refinancing challenges

Refinancing international student loans comes with a unique set of challenges. Many lenders may not offer refinancing options for international students or may have stringent requirements making it difficult for them to qualify.

Limited credit history

A significant challenge faced by international students when attempting to refinance their student loans is having a limited or nonexistent U.S. credit history. Most lenders rely on credit histories and scores to make underwriting decisions, which can make it difficult for international students to get approved for refinancing.

Nonetheless, if you start building a U.S. credit history now, you can enhance your chances of refinancing in the future and qualify for superior loan terms. Most U.S. lenders report payment history to credit bureaus, and you can develop a credit history by:

  • Opening a secured or unsecured credit card account.
  • Financing a larger purchase, such as a car or an appliance.
  • Making timely payments.

Temporary visa status

Temporary visa status can also pose a challenge for international students when refinancing their student loans. Not all lenders have the ability to service and collect on loans internationally, and they may not be able to approve noncitizens on temporary visas, making it more difficult to find refinancing options.

Eligibility requirements for refinancing student loans

To qualify for student loan refinancing, you typically need to meet certain eligibility requirements, such as:

  • Having a history of making debt payments on time.
  • Having a steady income.
  • Having a low debt-to-income ratio.
  • Having good or excellent credit.

Understanding these requirements in depth and evaluating your financial status are crucial to determine if refinancing is a viable option for you.

Stable employment and income

Having stable employment and income is a key factor when it comes to student loan refinancing. Lenders want to ensure you have the means to repay the loan, so they require proof of steady income and employment. By providing pay stubs, tax returns and bank statements, you can demonstrate your financial stability and increase your chances of approval for refinancing.

Building a strong credit history in the U.S. can also improve your chances of qualifying for better refinancing terms and interest rates.

Debt-to-income ratio

Another important factor in determining your eligibility for refinancing is your debt-to-income ratio. This ratio compares your monthly debt payments to your gross monthly income and is calculated by dividing your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income.

A debt-to-income ratio of less than 43% is considered optimal for refinancing, as it indicates you have a manageable debt load and are more likely to be approved for refinancing.

Good credit score

A good credit score is essential for qualifying for better loan terms and interest rates when refinancing your student loans. Most lenders require a minimum credit score of 690 to refinance a student loan.

Steps to refinance your international student loan

Refinancing your international student loan involves following a series of steps to ensure a successful application and approval process. These steps include:

  1. Assessing your financial situation.
  2. Comparing lenders and offers.
  3. Preparing necessary documentation.
  4. Submitting your application.
  5. Monitoring progress.

Assess your financial situation

Before embarking on the refinancing process, it is vital to evaluate your financial status to decide if refinancing aligns with your needs. This involves taking a close look at your current income, debt-to-income ratio and credit score to get a comprehensive overview of your financial health.

By evaluating your current financial picture, you can determine if you qualify for a lower interest rate or lower monthly payments and understand the potential savings and benefits of refinancing.

Compare lenders and offers

After evaluating your financial status, the next step involves comparing different lenders and their offers to identify the most optimal refinancing option. This involves researching and evaluating the interest rates, repayment terms and other features of different lenders.

By comparing these factors, you can make an informed decision about which lender and refinancing option is most suitable for your financial situation and goals.

Prepare necessary documentation

Once you’ve selected the most suitable lender and refinancing option, the next move is to compile the requisite documentation for your application. This may include:

  • Recent pay stubs or proof of employment.
  • Tax documents.
  • Valid identification documents.
  • Loan statements.

Having all of this documentation readily available will make the application process smoother and increase your chances of approval.

Submit your application and monitor progress

The final step in the refinancing journey involves:

  1. Submitting your application.
  2. Tracking its progress.
  3. Proactively communicating with the lender.
  4. Providing any additional information or documentation they may require.

Staying on top of your application and maintaining open communication with the lender will help ensure a successful refinancing process and potentially save you time and money in the long run.

Top lenders for international student loan refinancing

Several leading student loan refinance lenders offer options to refinance international student loans specifically designed for international borrowers. These lenders include MPOWER Financing, SoFi and Citizens Bank, each of which has unique offerings and eligibility requirements for international student loan refinancing.

By evaluating these leading lenders, you can discover the ideal refinancing option that aligns with your unique circumstances and requirements.

MPOWER Financing

MPOWER Financing specializes in providing loans specifically tailored for international students, as well as refinancing options to help you reach your financial goals. Their services include:

  • Loans specifically designed for international students.
  • Refinancing options with competitive APRs.
  • Eligibility requirements that can help international students reach their goals more easily.

MPOWER Financing is an excellent option for international students who may not have a U.S. credit history or a U.S. citizen cosigner.


SoFi is a personal finance company that provides a range of financial products and services, including:

  • Student loan refinancing options for nonpermanent resident aliens, U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
  • Competitive interest rates.
  • A variety of refinancing options to suit your needs.

In addition to refinancing, SoFi provides free financial advice from a certified financial planner and free career coaching, helping you take control of your financial future.

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank is another lender that offers refinancing options for international students. Their refinancing options come with:

  • Competitive interest rates.
  • The freedom to choose your repayment terms.

These features make Citizens Bank an attractive option for international students looking to refinance their student loans.

We must note that refinanced loans from Citizens Bank do not qualify for the formal forbearance policy – a critical point to remember.

Building your credit history in the U.S.

Establishing a strong U.S. credit history is crucial for international students who want to improve their chances of approval for refinancing. Building credit in the U.S. involves:

  • Using secured credit cards.
  • Making timely bill payments.
  • Monitoring your credit report to ensure your credit history accurately reflects your financial behavior.

Adopting these measures can elevate your credit score and enhance your financial position, simplifying the process of qualifying for refinancing and potentially enabling access to better loan terms.

Secured credit cards

One way for international students to establish a credit history in the U.S. is by using secured credit cards. Secured credit cards require a cash security deposit, which acts as collateral and reduces the risk for the lender.

By using these cards responsibly and making on-time payments, international students can demonstrate their creditworthiness and build a positive credit history in the U.S. This, in turn, can help them qualify in the future for other types of credit, such as student loan refinancing.

Timely bill payments

Paying bills on time is another essential component in building a strong credit history and improving credit scores. Consistently making timely bill payments demonstrates to lenders that you are responsible with your finances, which can help you build a strong credit history.

You can ensure timely bill payments by setting up automatic payments, setting reminders and budgeting for bills, which will help you stay on top of your finances and avoid late fees.

Monitoring your credit report

Regularly monitoring your credit report is crucial in building and maintaining a strong credit history. By keeping an eye on your credit report, you can spot errors, identify areas for improvement and track your progress in building credit.

If you find any errors in your credit report, you should dispute them with the appropriate credit bureaus to ensure your credit history accurately reflects your financial behavior.

Additional options for international borrowers

Alternative financing solutions are available for international borrowers who might not meet the qualifications for conventional refinancing options. Exploring these additional options can help you find the most suitable solution for your unique needs and financial circumstances.

Personal loans

Personal loans can be a viable option for international borrowers looking to pay off their private student loans with a more favorable interest rate. These loans are typically provided by banks, credit unions or online lenders and can be used for various purposes, including paying off student loans.

To qualify for a personal loan, you typically need a reliable source of income, a healthy debt-to-income ratio and good credit, but the exact requirements may be different from a dedicated refinancing product. By comparing personal loan offers and carefully evaluating interest rates and repayment terms, you can determine if a personal loan is a suitable alternative to refinancing your student loans.

Family or friend loans

Borrowing from family or friends may be an option if you are unable to qualify for traditional refinancing solutions. While this option can provide you with the funds you need, it’s essential to establish clear written terms and repayment plans to avoid potential financial and relationship complications.

By setting a repayment plan, interest rate and any other relevant terms upfront, you can ensure a successful family or friend loan that benefits and protects both you and the lender.


Refinancing your international student loans can be a powerful tool in managing your student loan debt and potentially reducing the amount of interest you pay by thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. By understanding the benefits, challenges and steps involved in the refinancing process, and considering top lenders like MPOWER Financing, SoFi and Citizens Bank, you can take control of your financial future. As you navigate the world of refinancing, remember to explore all available options, including building a U.S. credit history, enlisting a co-signer and considering alternative financing solutions, to find the best refinancing solution for your unique needs.

Frequently asked questions

Is it hard to get student loans refinanced?

Getting student loans refinanced is not easy, as you typically need good credit and a steady income to qualify. Requirements vary by lender, but a minimum credit score and a strong debt-to-income ratio are generally needed. Prequalifying is the best way to determine eligibility.

How does refinancing a student loan work?

Refinancing your student loans is simple: you take out a new loan with better terms to repay your existing loan in full, allowing you to pay less over time or have smaller monthly payments. This can be a great way to reduce the amount you pay each month and make your student loan payments more manageable. It’s important to do your research and compare lenders to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

How much money do you need to make to refinance student loans?

It varies by lender. If you’re looking to refinance student loans, you’ll need to research what the lender’s income requirements are to qualify.

Can I refinance my student loan with a cosigner?

Yes, you can refinance your student loan with a cosigner. A cosigner should have a good credit score and steady income in order to strengthen your loan application. However, one of the best reasons to refinance is to release a cosigner from their responsibility on your existing loan or loans. Learn more about finding a cosigner.

What is student loan refinancing, and why is it beneficial for international students?

Student loan refinancing can be a great option for international students, as it allows them to improve on the terms of their existing loan and potentially reduce the amount they pay in interest over the course of the loan. It involves obtaining a new loan with better terms, such as lower interest rates or reduced monthly payments, to pay off an existing student loan debt.

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Engineering Scholarships for College Students

August 3rd, 2023 by IEFA

Imagine a world where financial barriers don’t stand in the way of pursuing an engineering degree. Sounds fantastic, right? Well, engineering scholarships can help make that goal a reality. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of scholarships available for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a variety of engineering fields, along with tips for applying and alternative funding options.

Table of Contents

  1. Engineering Scholarships Overview
  2. Top Engineering Scholarships for Undergraduate Students
  3. Top Engineering Scholarships for Graduate Students
  4. Specialized Engineering Scholarships
  5. Tips for Applying to Engineering Scholarships
  6. Alternative Funding Options
  7. FAQ

Engineering Scholarships Overview

Engineering scholarships open up a world of possibilities for students who are passionate about pursuing a career in this field. With a vast array of scholarships available to undergraduate and graduate students, there’s never been a better time to pursue your engineering degree. From mechanical and civil engineering to aerospace and nuclear engineering, the opportunities are endless.

Types of Engineering Scholarships

Engineering scholarships come in various forms, such as merit-based, need-based and demographic-specific scholarships.

Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on academic performance, such as grades or test scores. Need-based scholarships, on the other hand, are awarded based on your financial need and can be a great way to help fund your college education.Finally, demographic-specific scholarships, such as those tailored to women and minority students, can make college more accessible.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility criteria for securing an engineering scholarship typically include factors such as academic performance, background, location, extracurricular activities, financial need, leadership, potential for professional success and responses to essay questions.

Top Engineering Scholarships for Undergraduate Students

Top undergraduate scholarships are available for mechanical and civil engineering students, with varying award amounts and application requirements.

Mechanical Engineering Scholarships

Mechanical engineering scholarships cater to students who are studying in this specific field of engineering and may be aimed at students who have displayed academic achievement, financial need or the potential to contribute significantly to the field.

There are various types of mechanical engineering scholarships available, including:

  • General engineering scholarships.
  • Scholarships for specific mechanical engineering fields.
  • Scholarships for high academic achievements.
  • Scholarships funded by alumni and corporate sponsors.

Here’s an example of a merit-based award: the Engineering Excellence Scholarship (Overseas Students).

Civil Engineering Scholarships

Civil engineering scholarships often require applicants to be members of professional organizations, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Eligibility criteria for civil engineering scholarships may include enrollment in an accredited civil engineering program, a minimum GPA and a demonstration of financial need.

If you’re a budding civil engineer with the drive to make a difference, scholarships like the Yang Civil Engineering Scholarship could be the key to unlocking your potential.

See all American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Scholarships.

Top Engineering Scholarships for Graduate Students

Top graduate engineering scholarships for aerospace and nuclear engineering students include the NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program and American Nuclear Society scholarships.

Aerospace Engineering Scholarships

To be eligible for aerospace engineering scholarships, applicants are often required to have a minimum GPA or be members of aerospace-related professional organizations. Like many other scholarships, applicants may also be required to write an essay outlining their career goals or about an engineering-related topic.

Examples of aerospace engineering awards include the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) scholarships, which provide financial assistance as well as access to a network of professionals in the aerospace industry to help build relationships and further your career.

Nuclear Engineering Scholarships

To be eligible for a nuclear engineering scholarship, applicants must be enrolled in a nuclear science or nuclear engineering degree program and have completed at least two years of the program. So, if you’re passionate about harnessing the power of the atom, scholarships like the American Nuclear Society Scholarship can provide the financial support you need to fuel your educational journey.

Specialized Engineering Scholarships

Beyond the realm of general engineering scholarships, specialized engineering scholarships cater to unique demographics and interests. Women, minority students and those passionate about green engineering technology can all find scholarships tailored to their specific needs.

With varying award amounts and eligibility criteria, these scholarships can help pave the way for a more diverse and sustainable engineering landscape.

Scholarships for Women in Engineering

Scholarships for women in engineering aim to empower more women to pursue careers in engineering. These scholarships often require membership in professional organizations, such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) or the Association for Women in Science (AWIS).

Examples of scholarships for women in engineering include the MPOWER Financing Women In STEM Scholarship, Amelia Earhart Fellowship, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarships and the Women in Aviation Engineering Scholarships. These awards provide financial assistance and also connect you with a network of like-minded women in engineering, fostering a supportive community to help you thrive in your career.

Scholarships for Minority Engineering Students

Minority engineering scholarships endeavor to increase diversity in the engineering field by providing financial support to underrepresented students. These scholarships often have specific eligibility criteria based on ethnicity or nationality.

Examples of scholarships for minority engineering students include the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) scholarships, the Hispanic College Fund scholarship and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) scholarships. Not only do these scholarships provide financial aid, they also connect you with a community of professionals and students who share your background. This supportive network will help you excel in your engineering career.

Green Engineering Scholarships

For students committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly engineering practices, green engineering scholarships offer a fantastic opportunity to further their education while making a positive impact on the planet. These scholarships have varying award amounts and eligibility criteria, ensuring that there’s a strong fit for every eco-conscious engineering student.

Examples of green engineering scholarships include the Udall Scholarship and the Environmental Engineering and Science Foundation Scholarships

Tips for Applying to Engineering Scholarships

Navigating the world of engineering scholarships can be overwhelming, but with a few tips and tricks up your sleeve you can maximize your chances of success.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss how to research scholarship opportunities. This includes understanding the different types of scholarships available, researching organizations that offer them and learning what criteria they use to evaluate applicants.

Preparing a strong application is also key to success. This includes writing a compelling essay, gathering letters of recommendation and submitting all required documents.

Researching Scholarship Opportunities

Uncovering the perfect scholarship opportunity is a matter of diligent research. To find scholarships that fit your specific criteria, use online search engines like:

Additionally, don’t forget to reach out to your college’s financial aid office for more information and guidance.

When researching scholarship opportunities, pay close attention to eligibility criteria and application deadlines. This way, you can focus your efforts on the scholarships that best align with your background, interests and goals to increase your chances of success.

Preparing a Strong Application

When it comes to scholarship applications, first impressions matter. Here’s how to create a compelling application:

  • Gather all required documents – Find all of the scholarship documentation you’ll need,  including transcripts, resumes and letters of recommendation. 
  • Craft engaging essays – When writing your essays you’ll want to showcase your unique personality, service and volunteer work, and special talents or skills.
  • Proofread your application – Take the time to proofread your application and double-check all submission requirements to ensure you’ve put your best foot forward. 

Remember, persistence is key when applying for scholarships. Don’t be discouraged if you are not granted a scholarship on your first try – keep refining your application and applying to as many scholarships as possible. With determination and a strong application, you’ll be well on your way.

Here’s more on how to write a scholarship application.

Alternative Funding Options for Engineering Students

While scholarships are an incredible resource for engineering students, they’re not the only financial support option available. In this section, we’ll explore alternative funding options, such as employer sponsorship, grants and fellowships, employment and international student loans.

Employer Sponsorship

Employer sponsorship can be a game-changer for engineering students looking to further their education without breaking the bank. Companies may offer to cover partial or full tuition costs in exchange for a commitment to work for the company after graduation. If companies offer tuition reimbursement programs, it would allow you to pay for your tuition and fees with pre-tax dollars. 

To take advantage of employer sponsorship, reach out to your company’s human resources department to discuss available opportunities. Keep in mind that some companies may require you to maintain a minimum GPA or complete your degree within a specific timeframe. By partnering with your employer, you can achieve your educational goals while also securing your future career.

Grants and Fellowships

Grants and fellowships offer a valuable financial lifeline for engineering students pursuing graduate degrees. Often awarded based on academic achievement, research potential or teaching abilities, these awards can help you cover the cost of your graduate education without taking on additional debt.

Some examples of grants and fellowships available for engineering students include the Margaret McNamara Education Grants, the Fulbright Program for Non-US Students, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. By exploring these options, you can secure additional financial support and focus on achieving your engineering dreams.


Getting a job could be a viable option to help cover your college or university costs. However, before you start looking for work, make sure you check the terms of your visa. Depending on your visa type, there may be restrictions on working while studying. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that your school permits international students to work.

Once you’ve determined your work eligibility, start exploring your options. Whether it’s a part-time job on campus or an internship in your field of study, employment could help ease your financial burden while providing valuable work experience. With the right approach and a bit of effort, you’ll be able to enjoy the perks of working while studying.

International Student Loans

For students studying abroad, international student loans can provide a much-needed financial boost. These loans are typically offered by private lenders and have varying interest rates and repayment terms.

To secure an international student loan, research private lenders who offer loans specifically designed for international students. Keep in mind that some loans may require a U.S. cosigner or other eligibility criteria, such as enrollment in an accredited program. By considering all available funding options, you can confidently pursue your engineering degree, wherever your studies may take you.

Wrap up

Engineering scholarships and alternative funding options can make the seemingly impossible dream of pursuing an engineering degree a reality. From undergraduate and graduate scholarships to specialized awards for women, minority students and green engineering enthusiasts, the possibilities are endless. With diligent research, a strong application, and a little persistence, you can secure the financial support you need to fuel your engineering dreams and make a lasting impact on the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get a NASA scholarship?

To get a NASA scholarship, you must demonstrate strong academic performance and aptitude in STEM fields, a related science degree as well as financial need and involvement in school or community activities. Additionally, those from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply.

What is the hardest type of scholarship to get?

Securing an athletic scholarship can be incredibly competitive and requires dedication, skill and hard work. It can be one of the most challenging scholarships to obtain, but also one of the most rewarding.

Athletes who are successful in obtaining an athletic scholarship have put in the time and effort to make themselves stand out from the competition. They have worked hard to hone and demonstrate their skills.

What types of engineering scholarships are available?

If you’re an engineering student, you have access to a range of scholarship opportunities! These include merit-based, need-based and demographic-specific scholarships for women or minority students.

Take advantage of these resources to invest in your future career success.

How can I find the best scholarship opportunities for me?

Start your search early and be proactive. Use online resources such as IEFA and get in touch with your college’s financial aid office – they will provide you with great advice and scholarship opportunities that are tailored to you!

With some research and effort, you’ll be able to find the best scholarship opportunities for yourself.

What are some tips for preparing a strong scholarship application?

Begin your application process early, research the scholarship thoroughly and compose strong essays that accurately convey who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Be sure to stay organized, and make sure you follow any instructions precisely. Additionally, be sure to communicate your background and accomplishments in a compelling and concise way.

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Building a Global Network: Top Networking Strategies for International Students to Forge Lasting Connections

July 7th, 2023 by IEFA

Strong networking connections can open up incredible opportunities for international students for internships, future jobs  and academic advancement.

Making these connections can be more challenging than it seems as you navigate an unfamiliar environment in a new country. 

From language barriers to unfamiliar faces, creating meaningful connections can seem overwhelming, but with some insider tips and proven strategies, it’s possible! 

Let’s explore some of the top networking strategies for international students.

The Importance of Networking for International Students

First, let’s take a look at why it is so important for international students to build long-lasting networks:

1. Access to jobs and internships

Building strong networks can help you discover job and internship opportunities you might not find otherwise.

Your new connections can share insider info, give you referrals, and help you better understand different industries.

2. Cultural exchange and understanding

Connecting with people from diverse backgrounds helps you gain insight into different  traditions, perspectives and cultures. In addition, if you get a job in a different country – having a network of friends who are familiar with the local customs and culture can help you feel more at ease in your new home.

3. Personal and professional development

Interacting with a variety of individuals allows you to learn from their experiences, pick up new skills, and expand your knowledge in your field of study.

Plus, these connections can lead to collaborations and partnerships that can further enhance your career prospects.

4. Mentorship and career guidance

Connecting with experienced professionals in your field can lead to valuable mentorships.  Mentors can offer personalized advice and guidance, help you navigate your academic and professional journey more effectively, and open doors to new opportunities.

5. Support system

Building a network of supportive people can ease your transition to your new school in a new country. 

6. Long-lasting friendships

Networking can lead to lifelong friendships. As you get to know each other more, connect over shared interests or hobbies, and support each other’s endeavors – these relationships help you professionally and add value to your personal life.

Top 10 Ways to Network as an International Student

Now that you understand the importance of networking, let’s look at 10 key strategies you can use to build meaningful and lasting connections:

1. Prepare yourself

Don’t just jump into a conversation with someone randomly. Take some time to prepare yourself – think about what you want to talk about and practice your conversation skills.

If you are planning to join a club or organization, it’s even more important to be well-prepared.

Plan ahead of time and try to have a few conversation starters ready. You can also write an outline of what you are going to talk about and do some research to familiarize yourself with the group or organization.

If you take your time to plan and practice, you will be able to make a positive impression.

2. Develop a personal story

It’s always a good idea to have a story you can share with the people you meet. This helps you stand out and makes it easier to start a conversation.

For example, if you are at an event for international students, try to focus on talking about your experiences in the country. You could share why you chose to study abroad and how that experience impacted your life.

3. Join clubs, organizations and events

Joining a club or other organization is a great way to meet like-minded people with similar interests. When you find yourself surrounded by people with similar backgrounds, passions, and goals, it’s easier to build relationships.

Find out what clubs, career fairs, or organizations your school has to offer and join the ones related to your field of study. Almost every university or college has some kind of club that caters to international students.

Also attend local events related to your field. This will help you make new connections and is a great way to spend your free time and explore the city.

4. Use social media to your advantage

Social media is great for networking and connecting with people from all over the world. Start by joining and interacting with online professional groups related to your field or interests. You’ll have opportunities to showcase your technical and professional skills through these conversations.

LinkedIn is a popular professional and business networking platform that allows you to create meaningful connections and build relationships with professionals around the world.

Comment on posts, ask questions and share your own experiences – all of these things can help you make connections and build relationships.

5. Be ready to ask and answer questions 

Asking questions helps you get to know a person better, and it shows you value them and are interested in what they have to say.

At the same time, be prepared to answer questions about yourself so you can share your experiences and talk about why you chose to study abroad.

By getting to know each other better, you are one step closer to forming a lasting connection. 

6. Learn to listen to others

Listening is an art.  It takes practice. Active listening means paying attention to what the other person is saying, asking thoughtful questions and reflecting back on your understanding of their words.

This will help you form stronger relationships and strengthen your own communication skills.

7. Follow up after your conversation

Once the conversation is over, follow up with a message or an email. This is an excellent way to show you value the connection and are interested in continuing it in the future.

8. Research

Take time to research professors, other students or employers. You’ll gain deeper insight into their background and interests, which can then help make the conversation more meaningful.

Start by using social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to research their profiles.

By taking the initiative to learn more about people, you will make a better impression and form stronger relationships with the people you meet while studying abroad.

9. Be patient

Don’t expect overnight results. Building meaningful relationships requires effort, and it’s important to give them time to grow and develop.

With patience and perseverance, you can create meaningful connections with people from all over the world.

10. Keep it going 

Lastly, stay in touch with your network. Whether through a quick email or message once in a while, staying connected can help keep the relationships alive and growing.

At the same time, keep looking for ways to connect and build new relationships – whether by attending networking events or joining online groups related to your field of study.

By continually looking for new networking opportunities, you will be able to form more meaningful connections and build a strong network that can benefit you in the long run.

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Explore the World of Merit Scholarships

June 27th, 2023 by IEFA

The world of merit scholarships is vast and filled with opportunities to help you achieve your dreams of higher education without financial burdens. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through understanding, finding and applying for merit scholarships.

Key Points:

  • Merit scholarships reward academic achievement, extracurricular activities, leadership skills and community involvement.
  • Researching multiple sources to discover tailored opportunities may increase your chances of securing financial aid for college.
  • Strategies such as selecting the right scholarship, crafting a compelling essay and gathering strong letters of recommendation can help secure merit scholarships.

Table of contents

  1. What is a merit scholarship?
  2. How to find the best merit scholarships
  3. How to successfully apply for a merit scholarship
  4. Maintaining and renewing merit scholarships
  5. Navigating the merit scholarship timeline
  6. Summary
  7. FAQ

What is a Merit Scholarship?

A merit scholarship is a financial award given to college students based on their academic achievements or other talents in a specific field. 

Unlike need-based financial aid, merit-based scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities and other criteria, such as leadership skills or community involvement. Merit scholarships are an excellent way to fund your college education. These merit awards can help relieve some of the financial burdens that often accompany a college education, allowing students to focus on their academic success and personal growth.

Merit scholarships come in many forms, from generous scholarships offered by colleges and universities to partial awards provided by private organizations and foundations. To help find the right one for you, let’s dive deeper into the criteria and types of merit scholarships available.

Criteria for Merit Scholarships

The criteria for merit scholarships can vary and generally revolves around a few key factors. Your grade point average (GPA) is often a significant consideration with the minimum requirement usually starting at 3.0, although this may vary. In addition to your GPA, standardized test scores, such as SAT or ACT results, are commonly considered as well.

Beyond academic achievements, merit scholarships also consider your extracurricular activities and demonstrated leadership skills. For example, serving as an officer or team captain in student organizations, sports, honor societies, community groups or jobs can showcase your leadership abilities and increase your chances of securing a merit scholarship. So, make sure you give equal weight to both your academic performance and extracurricular involvement when applying for merit scholarships.

Types of Merit Scholarships

There are several types of merit scholarships available to talented students with a wide range of interests and achievements. Merit scholarships may be offered by colleges and universities themselves, private corporations or foundations, and local or community-based organizations.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an esteemed program which recognizes the best high school students in the country. Those who qualify are rewarded with scholarships based on their exceptional PSAT and SAT scores. Applicants must satisfy certain criteria to be eligible. They must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents in high school and have taken the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) by their junior year.

With various tiers and awards available, the National Merit Scholarship Program is just one example of the many merit scholarships that can help support your college education.

How to Find the Best Merit Scholarships

A little research and persistence will uncover a treasure trove of scholarship opportunities. Always start with your school’s financial aid office. It’s a great resource. Next, search online using a search platform such as IEFA.org  The site lists thousands of scholarships for international students. As you research, you’ll be able to create a list of potential merit awards tailored to your unique qualities and achievements.

Also, apply for partial scholarships. Partial scholarships will only cover a portion of your costs, but there are advantages that make the application effort worthwhile. Partial scholarships outnumber full scholarships. There’s less competition for partial scholarships, so you have a better chance of winning one, and there’s no limit to how many you can apply for. Having multiple partial scholarships can quickly add up.

College and University Scholarships

Start by exploring your college or university’s website. Many institutions offer merit scholarships to incoming freshmen, current students and even graduate students. Some scholarships may be specific to a certain major, while others may cater to students with outstanding achievements in various fields. Be sure to explore pages for specific majors, offices of community or civic engagement, athletics and the arts for more specific awards. 

Reach out to your assigned admissions counselor. Once they get to know you better, they can direct you to opportunities specific to your interests and skills.

Private Organizations and Foundations

Private organizations and foundations also offer merit scholarships with varying eligibility requirements. For example, the Terry Crews “Creative Courage” Scholarship is a $20,000 scholarship designed to support talented artists, while the BTL Athletes Scholarship is a $75,000 merit scholarship available to high school upperclassmen and undergraduate student-athletes from low-income backgrounds.

Search online and check the eligibility criteria of each scholarship before applying. Pay close attention to the application process, which may require a separate application, essays, recommendation letters and other evidence of exemplary performance.

Local and Community-based Scholarships

Local and community-based scholarships can be a hidden gem in your scholarship search. These scholarships may have a lower applicant pool due to their more restrictive eligibility requirements, increasing your chances of success. For example, the Peter T. Buecher Memorial Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship open to high school seniors or undergraduate students in Minnesota who play sports.

To find local and community-based scholarships, consult with your high school guidance counselors, college financial aid offices and community foundations. They can provide valuable information about scholarships that cater to your interests and achievements, giving you additional opportunities to fund your college education.

How to Successfully Apply for a Merit Scholarship

Applying for merit scholarships can be a competitive process, but with the right strategies, you can increase your chances of success. Next, we’ll go over three key strategies for a successful merit scholarship application: selecting the right scholarships, crafting a compelling essay and gathering strong letters of recommendation.

By employing these tactics, you’ll be better prepared to showcase your unique talents and achievements, making you a strong candidate for merit scholarships. Remember, the key to obtaining any scholarship is adhering strictly to the requirements. If you have any inquiries regarding a scholarship, it’s essential to contact the scholarship coordinator for further information.

Now, let’s dive into each strategy in more detail.

Selecting the Right Scholarships

One of the first steps in applying for merit scholarships is creating a prioritized list of scholarship opportunities. This allows you to allocate your time and effort effectively, ensuring you submit the most competitive applications possible. After creating your list, read the directions carefully, adhere to the instructions and finish the application, including any required essays, interviews, or additional materials.

When searching for local scholarships, make sure you consider those tailored to your individual qualities, such as your interests, achievements, or background. By focusing on scholarships that align with your unique strengths, you’ll maximize your chances of being awarded the financial aid you need to pursue your college education.

Crafting a Compelling Essay

A compelling essay can be the key to standing out in a competitive pool of applicants. Start the writing process early, allowing yourself ample time to reflect on your experiences, research the scholarship provider’s mission and purpose and seek feedback from others. Reading examples of successful scholarship essays can help you craft a personal and captivating essay.

In your essay, focus on any skills, talents, or unique experiences that differentiate you from other applicants, such as your personal experiences, achievements, or aspirations. By crafting an essay that showcases your unique qualities and aligns with the provider’s goals, you’ll increase your chances of securing the merit scholarship you desire.

Gathering Strong Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are a crucial component of most merit scholarship applications, as they attest to your capabilities and potential. Consider asking individuals who know you and your talents, such as teachers, coaches, high school counselors, extracurricular advisors, job supervisors or members of church or community organizations.

It’s essential to submit your recommendation and nomination requests at least one month prior to application deadlines, and early submission is encouraged. By allowing ample time for your recommenders to craft thoughtful and compelling letters, you’ll enhance your chances of securing the merit scholarship you seek.

Maintaining and Renewing Merit Scholarships

Once you’ve been awarded a merit scholarship, it’s important to understand the requirements and strategies for maintaining and renewing your scholarship. By keeping track of renewal requirements and implementing strategies for continued success, you’ll ensure you remain eligible for financial aid throughout your college education.

In this section, we’ll discuss the importance of adhering to scholarship renewal requirements and share strategies for ongoing success to help you make the most of your merit scholarships.

Scholarship Renewal Requirements

The renewal requirements for merit scholarships can vary and typically include maintaining a certain GPA, completing a minimum number of credit hours and demonstrating satisfactory academic progress. For example, a scholarship might require a minimum GPA of 3.0 and the completion of at least 12 credit hours per semester.

It’s crucial to stay informed about the renewal requirements of your specific scholarship to ensure you remain eligible for financial aid. By diligently maintaining your academic performance and adhering to the established criteria, you’ll be well-positioned to renew your merit scholarship and continue benefiting from its financial support.

Strategies for Continued Success

To maintain success with merit scholarships, it’s essential to adhere to deadlines, maintain a high GPA and consider applying for additional private scholarships. By staying organized, prioritizing your academic performance and exploring additional funding opportunities, you’ll increase your chances of continued success in your college education.

Also, don’t forget to keep up with any continuing requirements from your school’s financial aid office and participate in extracurricular activities that showcase your commitment and leadership abilities. By staying proactive and consistently striving for excellence, you’ll be well-equipped to maintain and renew your merit scholarships throughout your college journey.

Navigating the Merit Scholarship Timeline

Consider the merit scholarship timeline when applying for and maintaining scholarships. Research application deadlines, notification timelines and acceptance timelines, so you’re well prepared to submit competitive applications and manage your financial aid effectively.

Application Deadlines

Timeliness is paramount when applying for merit scholarships. Application deadlines vary with each scholarship, so it’s essential to check the scholarship’s website for their deadlines. For example, the GE Foundation Engineering Scholarship Program for Freshmen has a deadline of early May, while the Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship usually requires applications to be submitted by the end of January.

To ensure you submit your applications on time, start the application process at least four months prior to the earliest deadlines. This will give you ample time to collect the necessary materials, write compelling essays and gather strong letters of recommendation.

Notification and Acceptance Timelines

The notification and acceptance timelines for merit scholarships varies depending on the particular scholarship and the institution offering it. Generally, you can expect to hear back about your application one to three months following the submission deadline.

By being aware of these timelines, you can plan accordingly and ensure you’re prepared to accept any scholarship offers you receive. Additionally, staying informed about the notification and acceptance timelines will help you manage your financial aid effectively and make well-informed decisions about your college education.


In conclusion, merit scholarships offer a wealth of opportunities for talented students to fund their college education while being recognized for their academic achievements and extracurricular involvement. By understanding the criteria and types of merit scholarships, researching and applying for the best opportunities and maintaining and renewing your scholarships, you can pave the way for a bright and successful academic future. So, go ahead and explore the top merit scholarships for 2023.  Your journey to academic excellence and financial freedom awaits!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good GPA for merit scholarships?

Maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher is usually required to qualify for merit-based scholarships, and a GPA of 3.75 or higher will make you a very competitive candidate.

What award amounts might I expect?

Merit-based scholarships vary greatly but generally range from $1,000 at state schools to full rides worth as much as $35,000 annually. The Davidson Fellows Scholarship, one of the most competitive undergraduate scholarships in the world, awards up to $50,000. The average award amount is around $5,000, making this an excellent opportunity for students seeking financial support for their educational expenses.

Scholarships can be a great way to help pay for college, and merit-based scholarships are a great option for students who have achieved academic success. With the right research and application process, students can find scholarships that can help them cover the costs of their studies.

Does a merit scholarship mean a full-ride?

No, a merit scholarship typically does not provide full funding for tuition and other college expenses. While merit scholarships can help offset the cost of attendance, they are highly competitive and require applicants to demonstrate outstanding academic achievements or other talents in a specific field. Multiple partial scholarships could provide the funding you will need.

What is an academic scholarship?

An academic scholarship is a financial award given to students based on their academic achievements or other criteria such as financial need. These scholarships are typically provided to support the student’s education and can be used for tuition, fees, books and living expenses.

The Benefits of Studying in the U.S.

May 29th, 2023 by IEFA

Thousands of international students are drawn to the United States every year because of its educational opportunities.

American universities offer a wealth of resources and opportunities for students to learn, grow, and gain valuable experience.

Let’s find out what makes America different from other countries and what advantages it offers international students.

What are the Benefits of Studying in America?

Top Educational Institutions

Studying in the U.S. means access to some of the best universities in the world. U.S. universities are known for their high academic standards, top-notch research facilities, and modern technology. Some of the top universities in the world, including Harvard University and Stanford University, to name just two, are located in the U.S. 

Vibrant Campus life

Thanks to the diverse student community, international students can enjoy a vibrant social life while studying in the U.S. Campuses are full of activities and events to suit different interests. From career fairs to student groups to sports teams, there’s something for everyone. You won’t feel like an outsider and will have plenty of opportunities to meet other people from around the world.

Interesting Student Lifestyle

Studying in the U.S. is not just about academics, it’s also about developing your own personal and professional skills. You will meet other students who hail from different communities, countries, and backgrounds. You can use this opportunity to learn more about the world, understand different cultures, and develop friendships with other students from around the globe. Your fellow students can be a valuable resource for networking and support.

Networking Opportunities

Networking is key if you want to fulfill your personal and professional goals. You can join student groups, participate in career fairs, and attend seminars or conferences to meet people who may help you in your future endeavors.

If you take these opportunities you may be able to meet different employers, CEOs, and other influential people who can help you build a successful career.

World-Class Faculty

U.S. universities offer a wide range of courses and programs taught by faculty members who are experts in their fields. Whether you are studying engineering, medicine, or business, you will be learning from some of the best minds in the world. You will have access to extracurricular activities, internships, English language skills, and other experiential learning opportunities that can help you further develop your skills.

Access to Hands-On Experiences

You can take advantage of hands-on research opportunities, cultural trips, and more. You could also gain access to some of the most prestigious companies in the world for internship opportunities. This is invaluable when it comes to getting your first job after completing your studies as an international student.

Access to Scholarships and Financial Aid

Yes, it’s true that studying in the U.S. can be expensive, but don’t let that discourage you. There are many scholarships and financial aid opportunities available to international students. You can apply for university-specific scholarships, or private grants and loans to help cover your tuition costs.

Unique Cultural Experiences

Your international experience in the U.S. will be unlike any other. You will have the chance to try different cuisines, explore new cities and states, and attend festivals or events that you would not be able to experience anywhere else in the world. This is a great way to immerse yourself in American culture and develop a better understanding of this amazing country. From native speakers to foreign cultures, you will gain a better understanding of the world and expand your global network.

Language Immersion Opportunities

Studying in the U.S. will also give you a chance to improve your English language skills. You can take intensive courses or join conversation groups to practice and become fluent in the language. There are even programs available where international students can be paired with native speakers for language exchange opportunities. This is a great way to not only improve your language abilities but also to develop relationships with Americans.

Improved Career Prospects

Many employers around the world prefer to hire those who have had international experience. An American degree will give you a competitive edge, allowing you to demonstrate that you have acquired the skills and knowledge needed for success in today’s global economy. You will be able to move forward in your career and find rewarding opportunities both in the U.S. and abroad.

Studying in the U.S. or Canada can offer a high ROI for international students. According to salary surveys such as Glassdoor, and data provided by universities, the return on investment is clear. Take Musa, for example, a Ghanaian Junior Business Analyst earning less than $6,000 a year, could potentially secure an income in excess of $100,000 per year after an MBA.

Studying in America is more than just learning—it’s an opportunity to gain valuable life experiences and develop yourself both academically and professionally. With the right preparation, international students can make the most of their experiences in the U.S. and use them to build a successful future. So if you’re looking for an educational experience that will open doors to new opportunities, consider studying in America.

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What You Should Know Before Purchasing Health Insurance as an International Student in the U.S.

May 24th, 2023 by IEFA

Prior to joining a university in the U.S., it’s crucial for international students to check for medical insurance requirements. Many U.S. institutions mandate health coverage for enrollees.

Some institutions may offer their health insurance coverage to students, while some require students to find their insurance policy from a private insurance company before enrolling. Before an international student gets a health insurance policy, they should consider the following:

  • Requirements of the visa category
  • If the school or university has a required medical insurance policy or certain requirements that must be met
  • Other medical requirements an international student health insurance policy should cover

How Does International Student Health Insurance Work in the U.S.?

International student health insurance provides coverage for unexpected illnesses or accidents. Safeguarding one’s wellbeing is paramount, and health insurance serves as a safety net for students by providing reassurance.

Medical insurance for students in the U.S. differs from other countries that have universal or nationalized healthcare systems.

Students who require health insurance must apply for private health insurance or check whether their university offers school-sponsored plans. It is highly recommended for international students in the U.S to purchase health insurance to avoid skyrocketing medical expenses in the event of an illness.

International student health insurance plans typically cover a range of medical costs, including doctor fees, hospital stays, and associated expenses. 

What Are the Health Insurance Options for International Students in the U.S?

Here are some types of health insurance options for international students in the U.S.:

Mandatory School-Sponsored Insurance Plans

Some institutions require international students to purchase an insurance plan of the school’s choice. The school determines the insurance coverage and requires students to enroll in the plan. Other schools may have a school insurance plan, but allow students to choose an alternative provider for their coverage.

To waive the required insurance plan, a student should provide sufficient proof to show adequate insurance coverage through sponsorship by an employer, government, or spouse. The school might allow for the alternative plan if it meets the school’s requirements. This is an excellent way to save money on the cost of your insurance, so you should check your options at International Student.

Optional School-Suggested Insurance Plans

Some universities may not mandate international students to enroll in their insurance program, but have an optional plan that allows students to select a health insurance policy that best fits their needs. Students can evaluate and compare the advantages of several insurance plans before making a decision. Some schools that fall into this category will provide a list of “approved” plans that students can choose, or a list of benefits that must be met with the plan of your choice. 

International Student Visa Plans

Visitors on J visas must meet specific medical insurance requirements mandated by the government. Some universities may impose student visa insurance requirements on students with other visa types.

J-1 Visa

A J-1 visa is an exchange program visitor or non-immigrant visa category for a person to study or work in the U.S. The U.S. Department of State requires exchange program students and scholars to have medical insurance during the period of the program that meets the following:  

  1. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  2. Repatriation of remains coverage of at least $25,000
  3. Medical evacuation coverage of the J1 visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  4. A deductible of $500 per accident or illness or less
  5. A policy underwritten by an insurance carrier with:
    1. an A.M. Best rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    2. a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims paying ability rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    3. a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of ‘‘B+’’ or above;
    4. a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of ‘‘A-’’ or above;
    5. a Moody’s Investor Services rating of ‘‘A3’’ or above;

F-1 Visa

If you hold an F-1 visa, it’s important to note that while international student insurance is not mandatory at the federal level, your institution may still require it. In some instances, you may be asked to purchase F-1 visa health insurance that complies with your school’s regulations. It’s worth mentioning that alternative options exist, and many students have the option to opt-out of their school’s insurance plan in search of more affordable coverage.

Benefits of Health Insurance for International Students in the U.S.

Medical insurance for international students allow international students to access proper and affordable medical treatment, and may include coverage of:

  • Proper and affordable medical treatment
  • Medical bills during any emergency
  • Hospital and medicine costs
  • Emergency medical evacuation

In addition:

  • Mental health care insurance plans cover therapy and counseling bills
  • Some health insurance plans cover other pre-existing conditions.

Factors To Consider When Choosing an International Student Health Insurance Plan

Before finding an international student insurance plan, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Check the federal insurance requirements of your visa type.
  • Check the school requirements. You can contact your school to confirm their insurance before you enroll.
  • Check if the university allows you to find an alternative provider to their suggested plan.
  • Compare different insurance providers. Check the price to ensure it fits your budget and offers substantial coverage.
  • Ensure you are eligible for the plan’s benefits and exclusions.
  • Check out insurance companies that offer international students health insurance in the U.S.
  • If needed, establish if you can add any dependents to your coverage.





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