Scholarships for Indian students to study abroad

“What do you plan to study after 12th grade”, asked her aunt and without batting an eyelid, Jyoti said, “Astrophysics.” And added, “in the US, of course!” The aunt simply rolled her eyes and mocked at her and asked, “So, has your dad saved up enough to fund your education in the US? Do you even know how much that will cost your father?” And now it was Jyoti’s turn to mock her, “oho! Why should my father save up for my education? I will find scholarships to fund my way into a good college in the US.” 

Students and Scholarships: How to Get Started?

Well… It is that time of the year again when students are awaiting call letters from universities abroad for higher studies and there is excitement everywhere as parents and children wait in bated breath to know if they have made it to the University of their Choice. But wait, a lot of groundwork goes in before you actually get to this point. Studying abroad could be a dream come true but what about the astronomical cost of funding it? Start your ground work early on; decide your area of specialization and look up scholarships that fund students like you, check the criteria and note what needs to be done to become eligible. It may sound like a breeze, but to be honest, it’s quite a maze!

Any student looking for scholarships is aware that they need to take the GRE/GMAT/TOEFL/IELTS test while at the same time look for funding. The scores in these tests are a major determinant for bagging the scholarship. Along with that, comes the Statement of Purpose (SoP) that details why a student wants to study in the chosen university and how he/she becomes eligible. Well…we’ll get into these later; first let’s get to understand everything about scholarships.

Scholarship Types:

Did you know that there are different kinds of scholarships one can avail of? Of course, broadly they can either be partial or full. While full aid takes care of tuition fees, accommodation, books etc., partial covers only tuition fees. Besides this, scholarships can be of the following types:

  1. For The Needy:  These are given to outstanding students who belong to the financially weaker sections of the society with a zeal to pursue higher education.
  2. For the Meritorious: These are given to students who have an exceptional record in the field of games, sports or extra-curricular activities. These achievements are considered while awarding scholarships to deserving students.
  3. For those applying to a Specific College: These are highly competitive and awarded to Indian students going to study in a specific college. Students need to be extraordinary in academics with an outstanding personality plus have a personal achievement in a specific field to be eligible.
  4. Country-Specific: Many governments, universities or public authorities award scholarships and funds to students of a particular country. For instance, the USIEF (United States India Educational Foundation) offers Fullbright-Nehru Fellowship to encourage cultural understanding between the United States and India by means of academic and cultural exchange for Indian students to study in the USA.
  5. For Specific Students: These scholarships are given to students of a certain race, gender, religion etc. This is mainly targeted towards the minority groups to give them equal opportunities for advancement.

Scholarship Details: 

Here’s a list of the top notch scholarships to get you started on the funding journey. This is not an exclusive list, though it covers some of the major ones. 

1. Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree:

  • Details: These are awarded for Master’s and Ph. D programs in universities/colleges across Europe. Since each program has a different deadline, students have to carefully keep an eye on the official portal. The amount is variable, depending on the country, course and the fee structure of the course. It covers tuition fees, travel, insurance and living expenses. For more details look up here
  • Duration: 1-2 years
  • Eligibility: Open to students with an undergraduate degree from a recognized university. Alternately they can have an equivalent level of education.

2. Inlakhs Scholarship:

  • Details: This is exclusively for students applying to universities in North America and Europe. It is restricted to Architecture, Applied Arts and Conservation, Business Administration, Communication (Journalism, Film and Television Studies), Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Law, Music, Theatre, Dance, Special Education. Normally the deadline for filing this application is April and the maximum amount of scholarship amount is US$ 100,000.
  • Duration: Not specified
  • Eligibility: Students wishing to avail this scholarship must be Indian citizens less than 30 years. They must have secured admission in a reputed institution. They must also have a degree with a good percentage from a recognized Indian university.

3. Chevening Scholarships, UK:

  • Details: This is considered one of the prestigious scholarships run by the government of UK, granted to exceptional students with outstanding credentials and leadership skills. Approximately 700 scholarships are given to students from 110 countries, with India and China being the key contenders.
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Eligibility:  Basic criterion includes a bachelor’s degree and two years’ work experience in their chosen field of study.  Students should have a good grasp of English language and they should be ready to return to their country of origin for 2 years after completing the course.

4. Rhodes Scholarship, UK:

  • Details: An oldest, yet prestigious, Rhodes scholarship gives students an opportunity to study in the renowned Oxford University in UK. This is restricted to some countries, but available to Indian students. The scholarship covers tuition fees, accommodation and an economy class return airfare. 
  • Eligibility: Criterion varies for different countries but the basic selection is based on academic performance, leadership qualities and extra-curricular achievements. It is quite competitive because being a Rhodes scholar is a mark of prestige…not everyone is lucky enough!

5. Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme:

  • Details: The Aga Khan Foundation provides 50 percent grant and 50 percent loan to the students who apply for this scholarship. It is highly competitive and starts around June-July. Assistance is given towards tuition fees and living expenses and is need-based. 
  • Duration: 2 Years
  • Eligibility: This is given to students who are below 30 years and have consistently excelled in academics. Students must have secured admission in a highly reputed international University or programme to be eligible. 

6. Fullbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship:

  • Details: This scholarship is for exceptional students wishing to pursue their Master’s in the US. It covers tuition fees and living expenses and one point to be noted is, the application deadline for the scholarship is June of the previous year. Which means, for the academic year 2020-21, the deadline for application was June 2019.
  • Duration: 1 to 2 years
  • Eligibility: Students must have secured 55 percent aggregate and must have completed an equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree. They must exhibit exceptional leadership skills and must be willing to return back to India after their period of study to contribute to their community. 

Tata Scholarship for Cornell University:

  • Details: As the name suggests, this scholarships comes from Tata Education and Development Trust (Ratan Tata and sons Ltd.) to meritorious students who are under privileged. The amount of funding is $25 million and aimed at Indian students who wish to pursue Undergraduate study at Cornell University.
  • Eligibility: Students have to be Indian citizens and must have cleared Secondary Level examinations in India. Fields of study are specified. As the name suggests, this is exclusively for study at Cornell University ONLY. Financial aid is provided only to students who fall within a specific income bracket. These details are clearly mentioned in the website.

If you noticed, the eligibility criteria for all the scholarships mentioned above repeatedly use the words exceptional, outstanding, meritorious and competitive. And this is proof for the fact that to avail of scholarships, you simply cannot be a face in the crowd; you need to stand out. If you have always dreamt of studying abroad on a scholarship, remind yourself EVERYDAY — The scholarship world is highly competitive and the selection process very stringent. 

Start your ground work…NOW!!

Janaki Sreenivasan

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