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 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, 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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