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10 top scholarships for studying abroad

Distance learning awards are a move in the right direction

Studying abroad can be an unforgettable experience. But, having the financial resources needed can be a deciding factor when choosing where you’ll study or if you’ll attend school overseas at all. Thankfully, there are many scholarships available to graduating seniors and college students at all class levels.

Our methodology: How we pick these scholarships

When we selected scholarships for students wishing to study abroad, we considered factors like award amounts and the number of scholarships given out each year. Then we looked at which scholarships are open to the widest student population. Some scholarships are based on merit, while others are need-based.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

  1. Amount: Up to $5,000
  2. Deadline: October

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships and internships, sponsored by the US Department of State, are awarded to students showing financial need and are currently available in 95 countries and in 393 academic majors. Veterans of military service are also encouraged to apply.

CEA Study Abroad Scholarships

  1. Amount: Up to $3,000
  2. Deadline: April (summer), May (fall), November (spring)

CEA commits more than $2 million each year to study-abroad scholarship programs. CEA Study Abroad scholarships are offered in three areas: merit, need and diversity, with awards ranging from $400 to $3,000. To be eligible, students must also enroll in CEA Study Abroad Programs.

SIT Study Abroad Scholarships

  1. Amount: $500 to $5,000
  2. Deadline: April (summer), May (fall), November (spring)

The School for International Training (SIT) offers scholarships to qualified students interested in one of SIT’s study-abroad programs. SIT scholarships can be used to pay for tuition and housing during your time abroad in 80 programs in nearly 40 countries. 

Fund for Education Abroad

  1. Amount: $5,000 to $10,000
  2. Deadline: January

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) offers scholarships to students who are not always represented in US study abroad programs, which may include minority students, first-generation college students and community college students. Scholarships are also geared toward students who might not be eligible for government grants and show financial need.

Joan Nelson Study Abroad Scholarship

  1. Amount: $5,000
  2. Deadline: June

The Joan Nelson Study Abroad scholarship is one of eight scholarships offered by Golden Key International Honour Society. It is an academic-based scholarship that places emphasis on academics, service and leadership development. 

Students typically place in the top 15% of their class. Golden Key scholarships are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Scholarship

  1. Amount: $20,000
  2. Deadline: October

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation scholarship is achievement-based and given to service-oriented and well-rounded high school seniors. At least 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are chosen each year to receive scholarships worth $20,000 to fund expenses: tuition, room and board, travel and more while studying abroad. 

Fulbright US Student Program

  1. Amount: Varies
  2. Deadline: October

The Fulbright US Student Program provides scholarships to students to live, learn and work in a foreign country for one academic year. There are two different kinds of scholarships provided by the Fulbright US Student Program: English Teaching Assistant and Study/Research in 140 countries. The award amount and the total number of grants awarded each year depend on funds available from the federal government. 

Rotary Foundation Global Scholarship Grants

  1. Amount: $30,000
  2. Deadline: July

The Rotary Foundation excels in humanitarian activities, both locally and internationally. The Global Scholarship Grants program offers support to students pursuing international graduate-level coursework or research in the fields of Water Sanitation and Treatment, Disease Prevention, Peace and Conflict Resolution, Maternal and Child Health, Community and Economic Development, Education and Literacy.

IES Abroad

  1. Amount: Up to $5,000
  2. Deadline: April (summer), May (fall), November (spring)

IES Abroad offers a variety of scholarships for undergraduate students wishing to study abroad. Types of scholarships include major-focused, need-based, diversity, summer internship and location-based scholarships. With a single IES application you can apply for nearly all scholarships that you are eligible for. 

Global Experiences Scholarships

  1. Amount: Varies
  2. Deadline: Varies

Global Experiences scholarships are essentially paid internships in cities around the globe. They are committed to providing international career development opportunities for traditionally under-represented students on study-abroad programs. 

The ideal candidate shows financial need and is committed to making a positive impact on their GE program. Students earn college credit while gaining experience in students’ primary career fields. 

How else can I pay for school?

Every year, thousands of students apply for scholarships to study abroad so the competition can be brutal. But, there are other ways to pay for school overseas without piling on debt. 

  • Check out paid internships. Some study abroad scholarship programs offer internships. Many are paid. When applying for your scholarship, ask if there is also the opportunity to work in your host country to help pay for your education. 
  • Sign-up for a part-time job. It’s likely you’ll need to concentrate on your studies while overseas, but a part-time job on the side can help pay some of the expenses that your scholarship may not cover. Some student visas permit you to work in a foreign country, so you’ll want to choose a program that allows you to get a job.  
  • Financial aid. You may want to check out the various sources for financial aid available to study abroad. These include Federal Student Aid (FSA), State aid through the Department of Education, Home Institution aid offered by many colleges and universities, and private loans.  

You can always borrow money to study abroad. You’ll incur debt with a student loan, whether from the federal government or a private lender, and they will have to be repaid with interest. If you make your payments ontime, however, you can begin building good credit.

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Bottom line

Some scholarships for students who want to study abroad are need-based while others are merit-based, whereas others are given to people in specific demographics. A scholarship might cover your entire tuition or only a portion of your total costs while overseas. So, if you need even more funds, you can check out our A-to-Z list of scholarships or our guide to student loans for more ways to pay for your degree.

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