How to get a scholarship for USA: Types of Scholarship and Eligibility Criteria

How to get a scholarship for USA: Types of Scholarship and Eligibility Criteria

How to get a scholarship for USA: Types of Scholarship and Eligibility Criteria
Prashant Thapa

With some of the world's most outstanding universities, the United States is a popular destination for international students pursuing higher education.

Although studying in the US might be expensive, Indian students frequently apply for scholarships to help pay for their studies. US colleges and institutions offer international students many scholarships so planning might help lower costs. These scholarships may be given based on academic achievement or financial need, and some universities automatically issue them to accepted students. However, there is stiff competition for these scholarships, and applicants must fulfil specific requirements, such as having an outstanding academic record or a strong SAT or ACT score. Examples of universities that provide scholarships to international students include Harvard University and Illinois State University.

But, securing a scholarship to study in the USA takes work. According to research by the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), only one in ten college applicants successfully secured a scholarship. Additionally, the distribution of scholarships is often restricted based on location, nationality, citizenship, field of study, race, and gender.

Despite these obstacles, there are steps you may take to improve your chances of winning a scholarship to study in the United States. Here are some of the best strategies for increasing your chances.

Many international students aim to be offered a scholarship to study in the United States. It provides financial aid to help with living expenses, tuition, and other fees and allows students to attend a top-tier university. Scholarships are given in various academic areas for undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate studies. 

In this post, we'll review the various scholarships available to overseas students in the United States and the requirements for each.

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Types of Scholarships

Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on the academic performance and achievements of the student. These scholarships are highly competitive, and the applicant's academic record is critical to the selection process. The scholarship amount varies depending on the institution and the program. Some of the prestigious merit-based scholarships in the USA include the Fulbright Scholarship, the Rhodes Scholarship, and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for merit-based scholarships, the applicant must have a solid academic record and demonstrate exceptional achievements in their field of study. Some scholarships require a minimum GPA, while others may have specific requirements, such as research experience, leadership skills, or community service.

Need-Based Scholarships

Students who have proven financial need are given need-based scholarships. The scholarship award is calculated based on the student's financial position and the institution's tuition rates. With the help of these scholarships, students who might not otherwise be able to afford college can now access it.

Eligibility Criteria:

The candidate must provide thorough information about their income, assets, and expenses to demonstrate financial need for need-based scholarships. Additional conditions for some scholarships include the field of study, academic standing, or residence.

Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships are awarded to students with exceptional athletic ability in their chosen sport. Colleges and universities offer these scholarships with solid athletic programs that aim to recruit talented athletes to their teams.

Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must demonstrate exceptional athletic ability in their chosen sport to be eligible for athletic scholarships. They must also meet the academic requirements set by the institution and maintain a certain GPA to remain eligible for the scholarship.

Diversity Scholarships

Diversity scholarships are awarded to students who belong to underrepresented groups in higher education. These scholarships aim to promote diversity and inclusion in higher education and provide opportunities to students who may face social, economic, or cultural barriers to education.

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for diversity scholarships, the applicant must belong to an underrepresented group in higher education, such as minority communities, first-generation college students, or students with disabilities. Some scholarships may have additional requirements, such as academic performance or financial need.

Program-Specific Scholarships

Program-specific scholarships are offered by colleges and universities to students who are enrolled in a specific program or field of study. These scholarships aim to attract talented students to their programs and provide financial assistance to cover education costs.

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for program-specific scholarships, the applicant must be enrolled in the specific program or field of study. They must also meet the academic requirements set by the institution and maintain a certain GPA to remain eligible for the scholarship.

Eligibility Criteria for Scholarship

The eligibility criteria for scholarships vary depending on the type of scholarship and the institution offering it. Some general eligibility criteria include the following:

Academic Performance

Most scholarships require a minimum GPA or academic record to be eligible. Some scholarships may also require specific coursework or academic achievements.

Residency Status

Some scholarships are only available to students who are residents of a particular state or country. Others may be available to international students or US citizens.

Field of Study

Some scholarships are specific to a particular field of study, such as STEM courses, arts, or humanities. The eligibility criteria for these scholarships may require the applicant to be enrolled in a particular program or have demonstrated an interest in the field.

Financial Need

Some scholarships are need-based and require the applicant to demonstrate financial need. The applicant may need to provide detailed information about their income, assets, and expenses.

Extracurricular Activities

Some scholarships may require applicants to demonstrate leadership skills, community service, or extracurricular activities. These activities may include volunteer work, participation in clubs or organizations, or other accomplishments outside of academics.

Application Process for Scholarships

The application process varies depending on the scholarship and the institution. However, some general steps are involved in most scholarship applications, including:


The first step in applying for scholarships is to research the available options. Students can look for scholarships online, in college directories, or by contacting the financial aid office at the institution they wish to attend.

Check Eligibility

Before applying for a scholarship, it is essential to check the eligibility criteria to ensure that the applicant meets the requirements.

Prepare Application Materials

The application materials required for scholarships may vary, but most applications require transcripts, essays, letters of recommendation, and proof of eligibility. Preparing these materials well in advance is essential to avoid any last-minute rush.

Submit Application

Once the application materials are ready, the applicant can apply through the designated channel. This may be an online portal, email, or regular mail.


It is crucial to contact the scholarship committee again after applying to confirm that it has been received and is being considered. It may be necessary to interview for some scholarships, so you should be ready if that happens.

Tips for Getting Scholarships

Start Early

Getting started early and allowing adequate time to research and gather your application papers is crucial because the scholarship application procedure can be time-consuming.

Be Thorough

Read the eligibility criteria carefully and ensure you meet all the requirements before applying. Be thorough in preparing your application materials and ensure that they are error-free.

Apply for Multiple Scholarships

Applying for multiple scholarships increases your chances of receiving financial aid. Apply for scholarships that align with your interests, academic background, and career goals.

Seek Help

Consult with the financial aid office at your institution or a dependable advisor if you have any questions regarding the application procedure or need assistance putting together your application papers.

100,000+ students achieved their study abroad dreams with us.  Start your journey today.


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