Top 10 Best High Paying Scholarships for International Students in USA

Let’s face it. pursuing higher education in the United States can be extremely expensive for international students. Tuition fees at American universities are among some of the highest in the world. Additionally, international students do not qualify for federal or state funding and usually pay 2-3 times more than American students.

However, plenty of organizations, foundations, companies, and even some universities offer lucrative scholarships specifically aimed at international students to help make studying in the US more affordable.

Why International Students Need High Paying Scholarships

Studying abroad in the United States is the dream of many international students across the globe. However, it also comes with a very hefty price tag. According to recent surveys, the average annual cost of studying in the US ranges from $35,000 to $45,000 per year including tuition fees and living expenses. This is extremely expensive especially when compared to studying in Europe or Asia.

For example, the average annual tuition fee at US universities for international students is around $26,000 for undergraduate programs and $32,000 for graduate programs. On top of this, accommodation, food, health insurance, books and transport can cost between $9,000 to $15,000 per year. As international students do not qualify for subsidized domestic tuition fees or federal/state funding, they usually pay almost 2-3 times more than American students at US universities.

Such high costs can make studying in the America feel like an impossible dream for students from developing or low income countries. This is where scholarships come in. Generous and high paying scholarships targeting international students can help lower the overall cost and make quality American education more accessible. They cover large portions of tuition fees, living expenses and other costs, bringing the total cost down by thousands of dollars.

Securing lucrative scholarships allows deserving international students with academic merit and goals, but insufficient financial means, to fulfill their aspirations of attending top notch universities in the United States. This leads to benefits on an individual level in terms of future prospects as well as cultural exchange and mutual understanding between countries.

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Top 10 Best High Paying Scholarships for International Students in USA

Here are the top 10 high paying scholarships for international students in USA

1. Fulbright Foreign Student Program

One of the most prestigious and generous scholarships for international students wanting to study in the US is the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. It offers full funding for a Master’s or Ph.D. degree spanning 1-4 years.

The scholarship includes tuition fees, living stipend, health insurance, and airfare. Financial assistance ranges from $15,000 – $25,000 per year depending on the university. It is open to students from over 160 countries and is awarded based on academic excellence and leadership potential.

2. Boren Awards

Boren Awards are meant for international students looking for funding opportunities for learning rare foreign languages like Arabic, Russian, Chinese, etc. It aims to provide American university graduates with foreign language and global skills.

It offers scholarships worth up to $25,000 for undergraduates and $30,000 for graduate students. In exchange, awardees have to work 1 year in the federal government in national security areas. Hundreds of international students apply and get selected each year.

3. HHMI International Student Research Fellowships

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) of International Student Research Fellowships provide funding for international students to get research training at the predoc level in the US.

Up to 60 Fellowships are awarded annually, each worth $43,000 per year. It covers tuition and fees, health insurance, and a stipend for living expenses. Applicants must hold or be currently working towards a bachelor’s degree and do wish to enroll in a Ph.D. program at a participating US institution.

4. Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award

The Schwab Foundation provides a $25,000 cash prize every year to 20 top social entrepreneurs from around the world. The awardees are also provided networking and development opportunities at events like the World Economic Forum.

International graduate students who have a social venture that is delivering extraordinary social value are eligible to apply. A track record of 3 years and proof of concept is required.

5. Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarships

The Winston Churchill Foundation offers full-ride scholarships for international students from around 90 different countries to pursue graduate studies in mathematics, engineering, or science at Cambridge or other leading UK universities.

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The scholarship is valued at around $60,000 per year and covers all tuition fees, living expenses, travel grants, etc. for up to 3 years. Applicants need an undergraduate degree with a GPA of at least 3.7.

6. Radcliffe Institute Fellowships

Based at Harvard University, the Radcliffe Institute offers fellowships worth $77,000 for international postdoctoral students to pursue research within academic, professional, or creative fields.

Around 50 fellowships are awarded annually within humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and creative arts. Applicants need to have a Ph.D. to be eligible. There is no application fee.

7. Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

The Swiss Government offers excellence scholarships for international students who wish to study in Switzerland for a Masters or Ph.D. It offers a lump sum amount of 1150 CHF per month for living costs along with tuition fees and health insurance.

The scholarship duration is 3 years for Ph.D. and 1-2 years for Masters. Applicants need to have an undergraduate degree, less than 35 years of age, and strong academics.

8. Netherlands Fellowship Program

The Netherlands Fellowship Program (NFP) offers full scholarships to developing country nationals pursuing their masters or doctorate degree or carrying out research in the Netherlands.

The fellowship covers cost of living, tuition fees, visas, international airfare, and other expenses. It is awarded for 1 year with the possibility of extension. Candidates need to apply via their country’s Dutch embassy.

9. University of Melbourne International Scholarships

The University of Melbourne offers over 200 international scholarships per year to offset tuition fees for exceptional international graduate students. The average scholarship amount is $28,000.

The program aims to attract high achieving international students to undertake graduate study programs like Masters and Ph.D at the university. Applicants are assessed based on academic excellence, leadership achievements, publications, awards, etc.

10. Denys Holland Scholarship at University College London

University College London awards the prestigious Denys Holland Scholarship worth $22,600 per year to international students from outside the UK looking to pursue a postgraduate degree.

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Around 16 scholarships are awarded annually. The scholarship covers living expenses and tuition fees and interested applicants are selected based on their  academic performance and financial need.

So in summary, international students looking to study in the US have many high paying scholarship options to help fund their education. Some of the most generous ones are the Fulbright Scholarship, HHMI International Fellowship, Boren Awards, and the Winston Churchill Scholarships which provide full funding. Others like the Denys Holland and Melbourne Scholarships provide partial funding.

The key is to look for scholarships early, focus on compiling an outstanding application, and demonstrating financial need. With proper planning, research, and effort, international students can fund quality higher education at top American universities through lucrative scholarships.


How much funding do these scholarships provide?

The scholarships on this list provide funding ranging from $15,000 to full tuition coverage. Some of the most generous ones are the Fulbright, Winston Churchill, and HHMI Fellowships which offer full funding covering tuition, living costs, and other expenses.

What are the eligibility criteria?

The eligibility criteria varies for each scholarship but generally you need to be an international student with an exceptional academic record. Some are merit-based while some also consider financial need. Common requirements are undergraduate degree, high GPA, awards, leadership experience, etc.

Which students are targeted?

Most of these scholarships target international students from developing countries looking to pursue graduate level study (Masters, Ph.D) in the US. Some are broad while others target specific groups like social entrepreneurs, foreign language specialists etc.

How competitive are these scholarships?

Very competitive. The applicants often exceed the number of scholarships available substantially. Thorough preparation and an outstanding application is key to getting selected over other candidates.

When should I apply?

For most scholarships, start preparing and applying 12-18 months in advance. Some like the Fulbright have country specific deadlines so check with your regional center. Apply to many scholarships to increase your chances.

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