Types of scholarships for overseas education

Saurabh Arora– Saurabh Arora, founder & CEO, University Living

Scholarships are a way of a student getting some aid to ease their tuition, accommodation or even or other expenses. While most scholarships are offered internally through the University partnerships with donors, others can be secured externally. Some colleges might not offer scholarships internally, in which case, grants are the way to go. In a pool of so many, it is not easy to find the right scholarship, yet there are a plethora of options, even if your grades aren’t perfect.

Foreign universities are flexible and offer grants beyond academic excellence, and several donors the world over have laid down their unique objectives for providing grants. They stipulate multiple parameters like financial stature, ethnicity, accommodation expenses, athletics proficiency, funding through Government and social outcomes. There are primarily eight categories of scholarships which can help fulfil your dream of studying abroad.

Merit-based scholarships for academically proficient students

These evaluate a student’s academic acumen and excellence. There are specific academic criteria set by the donor and have to be met by the candidate. These are given explicitly on academic excellence while offering free guidance and mentorship to awardees for their stay and study period at the University.

There are also scholarships in the US that offer support to scholars and teachers to conduct research in the United States and run a professional development programme for university administrators to develop their leadership potential.

Need-based grants on the financial standing of the candidate

There are plenty of need-based scholarships for students who require financial assistance and can’t afford the full price of their education.

Identity-based funding positioned on race, ethnicity or origin

Some sponsorships are specifically offered to students of a particular community, race or ethnicity. For instance, a race might be a minority in a foreign land, and to encourage multicultural diversity, students from around the globe are invited to add value to the native culture.

A prominent example is the Indian Government sponsoring its citizens to research Modern Indian Studies in political sciences, economics and history from Saint Antony’s College at the University of Oxford, under Ms Agatha Harrison Memorial Fellowship. The Government of India pays for economy airfare, gives stipends and bears expenses up to £29,347 for meritorious students willing to study in the UK. Indian nationals, who are of 30-40 years of age, have a master’s degree with published works or PhD in the subject are also eligible to apply.

Grants from government bodies

Several government institutions offer grants/scholarships to encourage research and education in their country. Such scholarships bring new cultures and fresh international perspectives to the donor country, which benefits from the students’ learnings coming in from the foreign land and culture. Some countries like Saudi Arabia fund their citizens to study abroad, who, when coming back to their home country, bring rich exposure from a different nation that adds value to their home culture and social systems.

For instance, New Zealand offers the NZ International Doctoral Research Scholarships funded by the New Zealand Government. These are specifically for students who wish to pursue PhD in New Zealand and are accepted in universities like AUT University, Massey University, and Victoria University of Wellington. It covers student levies, living stipends and tuition fees. Another example is the Saltire Scholarships being offered by the Scottish Government, worth £8000, for full-time postgraduate courses for nearly 50 students annually. This grant is specifically designed for students from India, Canada, the USA, Pakistan, China and Japan.

Athletic-based sponsorships to encourage sports

This category of scholarship is awarded based on an applicant’s athletic ability. It is done to foster a conducive culture of sports in the country, which has great potential to turn out as a big boon in national and international level multi-sporting events like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Mediterranean Games and Pan-American Games. One such Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program funds students with high athletic proficiency. All applicants are judged through their application based on their leadership skills, moral character and exemplary sportsmanship.

For instance, the Walter Byers Scholarship funds students and aims to recognise male and female athletic aptitude. It is awarded by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a non-profit body regulating student-athletes in the United States. In India, the SRM University awards a 50% tuition fee waiver to students holding talent in sports. Every year, they conduct trials, and students are judged by esteemed seasoned coaches. 

Social Scholarships aim to create a social impact

One of the world’s oldest scholarships — the Rhodes scholarship, is considered the world’s most prestigious international scholarships programmes and is awarded to students to study at Oxford University. The objective of this grant is to promote unity between English-speaking nations and to instil a moral fortitude and civic-minded leadership for an enormous social impact. Prominent politicians and heads of state like the President of the US Bill Clinton, President of Pakistan Wasim Sajjad and Prime Ministers of Australia Tony Abbott, Bob Hawke, and Malcolm Turnbull, had all achieved the Rhodes scholarship.

In addition, the Cameron Impact Scholarship offers grants of up to $60,000 to students who demonstrate excellence in leadership, community service, extracurricular activities and academics. This is a unique scholarship designed for students to directly impact their communities with positive forces of change. A focus is placed on students inclined toward community services and civic-minded arenas. Here, an applicant must be planning to enrol in a full-time graduate university course in the United States and be a US citizen. 

Living scholarships that cover accommodation expenses

These scholarships primarily cover a student’s living expenses on a part or full basis upon fulfilling the donor’s objectives. Staying in a foreign country is tough, and even if one can meet the tuition fee and other university expenses, the living expenses often run as overheads.

Bottom line

Before applying for a scholarship, it’s essential to do some research, analyse each one, and identify the one best suited for you. The aforementioned information will help you gain a fair understanding of the types of scholarships available and choose as per your requirements.

Also read: Why are scholarships important?

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