A To Z About Study Abroad Scholarships – What How And Why?

A To Z About Study Abroad Scholarships

Table of contents


Picture of Anand Patinge

Anand Patinge

Lead, Brand

Every year, countless Indian students explore opportunities abroad to pursue higher education. 


The financial aspect of studying overseas can be daunting. 


However, scholarships serve as a vital resource to alleviate these burdens. Scholarships not only cover tuition but also cover living expenses. So, when you get a scholarship, you can choose your ideal course and university without financial constraints.


This article covers the types of scholarships for students studying abroad, scholarships for specific programs by country, and guidance on how to apply for them.


What is a study abroad scholarship?

Scholarships provide financial support to students by helping them cover various educational expenses.  


When discussing scholarships to study abroad for Indian students, we refer to funds specifically designed to support those who wish to pursue their education in foreign countries like the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and France.


These scholarships can significantly reduce the financial burden of tuition, accommodation, travel, and other living expenses.


Scholarships range from partial to full funding. We have mentioned the types of scholarships in detail below.

Types of scholarships

There are several types of scholarships to study abroad for Indian students. Let’s understand them one by one. 

  1. Merit-based scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are financial awards given to students based on their achievements rather than financial need. These achievements include academics, athletics, arts, or other extracurricular activities. 


International students must also score high in the GRE, GMAT, IELTS, or TOEFL to apply for merit-based scholarships. It is a merit-based, fully funded scholarship for Indian students to study abroad. 


Some examples of  merit-based scholarships are JN Tata Endowment scholarship, and Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship.


  1. Need-based scholarships 


Need-based scholarships are financial awards provided to students when a family cannot sponsor or contribute to the student’s educational costs.


You must showcase your financial need through documentation, such as family income, assets, and sometimes, the number of siblings attending school. 


Some examples of need-based scholarships include the Inlak Foundation scholarship, which has a grant amount of ₹8.36 lakhs, the Tata Scholarship, which offers up to ₹10.36 lakhs, and the USA-specific Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program.

  1. Country specific scholarships

Country-specific scholarships are offered to students who wish to study in particular countries.

Some examples of this scholarship include the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme, and the International Peace Scholarship.

  1. Fully funded government scholarships


Fully funded scholarships for Indian students to study abroad cover all major educational expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, travel, and sometimes even a stipend for living expenses. Government scholarships aim to support students without any financial means to study abroad.


However, it has a rigorous application process and competition.  Hence, academic merit, leadership qualities, or potential contribution to society can help a candidate stand out. 


Some examples are Fulbright Fellowships for Indian students,  the Onsi Sawiris Scholarship program, and the KAIST Undergraduate Scholarship. 

  1. University-funded scholarships

Universities fund scholarships to assist students in covering tuition fees and other related expenses. This helps attract talented students from diverse backgrounds and enhances the university’s academic community.


It requires a good GPA and comes under merit-based or sometimes under need-based, or even regarded as a combination of both. 


So, it’s clear that with the right information and guidance, you can choose the scholarship that best suits your needs and ambitions. 

Scholarships for Indian students

Scholarships open doors to possibilities for students willing to pursue their education abroad. 


Indian students are no exception, with many scholarship options at their fingertips. 


These opportunities can be broadly categorized into government scholarships for studying abroad and private scholarships for Indian students. 


Let’s explore these two pathways that make studying overseas a tangible reality for many.

  • Indian government scholarships to study abroad

There are many government scholarship to study abroad for Indian students.


They offer comprehensive coverage, often covering tuition, living expenses, and sometimes even travel and health insurance. 


The scholarships are open to students from various backgrounds but are awarded based on merit. 


Let’s look at some of the scholarships offered by the Indian government for studying abroad:


Scholarship Name Type of Scholarship Coverage Eligible Degrees/Courses
Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships Merit and need-based Cost of living, tuition fee, health insurance, travel Master’s only
Dr. Ambedkar Scheme of Interest Subsidy Need-based Interest subsidy on educational loans Master’s, PhD, MPhil
The JN Tata Endowment Loan and need-based Loan scholarship up to INR 10 lakh, travel grant PhD, Post-doctoral
Great Scholarships Destination-based Tuition, health allowance, living expenses, travel Postgraduate courses in the UK
The Inlaks Shivdasani Scholarships Destination-based Specific Subjects Health allowance, Tuition Fee, Living expenses, One-way travel Mathematics, science, humanities, law, fine arts, social science, and architecture
Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship Course Specific Monthly stipend, health, visa fee Doctoral, academic, and professional research
National Overseas Scholarship for Scheduled Cast (SC) Students Student-centric Airfare, tuition fees, living costs, and books Fields include management, pure and applied sciences, medicine, agricultural sciences, commerce, accounting, and finance


  • Private scholarships for study abroad


Students can also benefit from scholarships that are funded by corporations, philanthropic foundations, and private entities.


Here are a few private scholarships for Indian students to consider:


Scholarship Name Eligibility Criteria Awards/Benefits
HDFC Educational Crisis Scholarship Students in crisis due to loss of a parent’s income ₹8-12 lakhs per annum
FAEA Scholarship Economically disadvantaged students in UG courses Tuition fees, maintenance, books, travel
Adobe India Women-in-Technology Female students in technology fields Up to  ₹5 lakhs
Infosys Foundation Leadership Program Economically disadvantaged students Covers tuition, materials, accommodation, living expenses
Mahindra & Mahindra Merit Scholarship Economically disadvantaged students in PG engineering, technology, or management ₹4-8 lakhs per scholar
Reliance Foundation Dhirubhai Ambani Scholarship Economically disadvantaged students in engineering, technology, or medicine Up to  ₹41,000 per annum
Aditya Birla Foundation Scholarship Students from renowned institutes like IIMs, IITs Up to  ₹1.8 lakhs per annum


These tables encapsulate the vast array of fully funded scholarships for Indian students to study abroad. 


Note: You must visit the official pages to check the latest eligibility criteria. 

  1. Country-wise study abroad scholarships for Indian students


Country-specific scholarships are curated to cover various needs. 


They come in various forms, including fully funded scholarships, partial aid, fellowships, and research grants. 


These scholarships are often collaborative efforts between Indian and foreign governments, private institutions, universities, and philanthropic organizations. 


They aim to attract the brightest minds from India and offer them a chance to study at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions.

USA scholarships for Indian students


Here is a list of the top USA scholarships for Indian students.


Scholarship Eligibility Criteria Benefits
American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship Undergraduate scholarships at American University, Washington DC, for students showing leadership potential. It is not specified but aimed at fostering leadership qualities.
Brandeis University Wien International Scholarship Program Funding for high-achieving students interested in contributing to the student community. Not specified; supports active community contributors.
Clark University Global Scholars Program Scholarships for first-year international applicants. ₹8 lakhs plus ₹2 lakhs stipend for a paid internship.
Emory University Needs-Based Scholarship Program For international students at Emory University demonstrating financial need. Needs-based funding to assist with educational expenses.
Harvard University Scholarships Competitive international scholarships at Harvard are available to students worldwide. Various scholarships cover partial to full financial support.
Illinois State University International Awards Offers tuition waivers, merit awards, and graduate assistantships. Tuition waivers, merit awards, and assistantships for international students.

Canada scholarships for Indian students

Canada is known for its diverse society, high quality of life, and excellent education system.


It offers a range of scholarships for Indian students, often including grants and fellowships for graduate and postgraduate studies. 


Let us look at them in detail.


Name of Scholarship Eligibility Criteria Benefits
Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships International students in postgraduate natural/social sciences or health research ₹50 lakhs and above for all semesters
Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s Program Enrolled in a master’s degree or PhD at a CGS-M-allocated university in Canada ₹14 lakhs per 12 months
IDRC Research Awards Students from developing countries for master’s or doctoral-level research at a Canadian university ₹8 lakhs per semester, exchange program
NSERC Postgraduate scholarships Students in natural sciences or engineering at an accredited Canadian university ₹25 lakhs per year
Organization of American States (OAS) Academic Scholarship Program Graduate students from OAS member states for studies or research at Canadian universities. ₹8 lakhs per year
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program Doctoral students internationally to study at a participating Canadian university. ₹40 lakhs annually
  1. Other popular scholarships to study abroad for Indian students


Name of Scholarship Eligibility Criteria Benefits
Akhtar Ali H. Tobaccowala Fellowship MBA students from India ₹20 lakhs for the complete course
Illinois Wesleyan University Scholarship UG course. ₹18-26 lakhs
National Overseas Scholarship Students from SC/ST communities with a family income of less than ₹6 lakhs ₹12 lakhs annually
Pathways Scholarship for International Students Candidates are selected based on an interview with the admission representative of Full Sail University Covers the entire tuition fee
Kent State University Global Scholarship Candidates willing to enroll full-time at Kent State University ₹4 lakhs per year
Gates Scholarship for International Students High school seniors Covers the full cost of the complete degree
  1. GradRight scholarships to study abroad

If you’re planning to study abroad, GradRight offers several scholarships. These scholarships are meant to reduce the financial stress of your education journey. 

Available scholarships from GradRight

  1. Need-Based Scholarship
    • Amount: $3,000
    • Purpose: This scholarship provides financial support to students who need it the most.


  1. Women-in-STEM Scholarship
    • Amount: $24,000
    • Purpose: This scholarship celebrates and supports girl power in education and aims to empower women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


  1. Pride Scholarship
    • Amount: $2,000
    • Purpose: Supporting the LGBTQ+ community, the Pride Scholarship ensures that education is inclusive and accessible to all.


  1. Prodigy Scholarship
    • Amount: $25,000
    • Purpose: In partnership with Prodigy, GradRight rewards academic excellence with this substantial scholarship.


  1. MPOWER Financing Scholarship
    • Amount: $15,000
    • Purpose: Collaborating with MPOWER Financing, this scholarship recognizes the potential of bright students from India.


To apply for any GradRight scholarships, follow these steps:


  1. Sign up on FundRight. (It’s a platform where 15+ lenders reverse-bid on your education loan needs and you get a loan offer you wouldn’t get anywhere else. 
  2. Talk to a FundRight expert to negotiate for even better terms with the bank. 
  3. Ask the expert about all GradRight scholarships you qualify for. 


How to apply for scholarships to study abroad for Indian students?


1. Good GPA

You need to have a robust educational background for receiving a scholarship to study abroad for Indian students. Most scholarships are merit-based.

2. Excellent Test Scores

If you want to study in the US, you have to appear in GRE and GMAT (for post-graduation) and SAT/ACT (for undergrad studies). Different nations have different exams that test students on a level playing field. Harvard requires a score above 320, while a middle rung but prestigious institution such as Texas State University needs 290.

3. Achievements

Unlike India—where education is one-dimensional—schools abroad produce a more holistic pupil. It helps if you have experience with organizations such as Rotary Club. Being part of the college debate team and taking part in extracurricular activities through NGOs is also a huge positive.


How to secure a study-abroad scholarship? Application process

1. Research

The process has to begin well in advance. If you are looking to leave India after graduation, start your research from your first year in college.

Before you find your ideal overseas graduate scholarship, you need to also identify a set of international colleges and universities that fit your profile and your aspirations.

If you were reading this in 2010, we’d have encouraged you to Google it out. This is 2022, and you can choose from 1000s of universities (and 6000+ programs across STEM and MBA).

Trust pure numbers, not a senior’s opinion, not an education counselor’s sweet-talk. In SelectRight, we use 6 million data points across 10,000+ STEM, CS & MBA programs data points. We match international colleges with your profile and reveal your best-fit institutes. That’s the only way you can choose a university that is ideal for you.

2. Qualify

Focus on a solid performance in college examinations.

You don’t have to burn gallons of midnight oil for GRE if you want a scholarship for MS in the USA. When you zero down on the right university, know how much funding you need, you can then identify more relevant scholarships.

3. Apply

There are many types of scholarship applications. They are broadly divided into two categories.

You apply for a scholarship after you receive admission.


You apply for both together.

Take up scholarship research on a war footing. It is much like a job application. Most would reject your CV (unless you graduated Summa cum Laude, i.e. with the highest praise reserved for the top 1`%).

It is difficult at this stage. Universities that accept your GPA and GRE scores might not have scholarships available.

The average application fee is ~$100 (₹7,600). This continues to be a barrier to entry for students. GradRight’s AI-based college section service–SelectRight–shatters this wall. Rely on data instead of someone’s opinion. That’s how you avoid leaking money in buying application forms of unsuitable universities.

4. Scholarship Essay and Reference

You need to get great references or a letter of recommendation. Usually, the dean of your college or the principal of your school will issue this letter to you.

It helps if you get recommendations from other well-known scholars and eminent personalities. This is difficult, of course. But not impossible. Talk to a SelectRight counselor today, and find out how you can confidently approach your college’s eminent alumni for a LOR.

A scholarship essay is another matter altogether. You have to frame in 500-1000 words why you are deserving of the scholarship. A boilerplate document won’t suffice. Be concise, forceful, and put forth valid arguments. Again, don’t hesitate to seek practical, relevant, and actionable advice from SelectRight counselors.


Tips to ace your study abroad scholarship essays & SOPs

Your essays and SOPs can make or break your application. Here are some tips to help you stand out:


  • Use simple, direct language to express your ideas. Avoid unnecessary jargon or flowery language.
  • Clearly articulate why you want to study abroad, how it aligns with your career goals, and how the scholarship will help you achieve them.
  • Without boasting, mention your academic and extracurricular achievements relevant to the scholarship.
  • Be genuine; scholarship committees look for genuine applicants who are true to themselves.
  • Always check your work for errors. Consider having someone else review your essays to catch mistakes you might have missed.


Note: Scholarships that cover all your expenses during your studies abroad are also the most fiercely competed ones. So, it’s likely that you’ll need to club together multiple scholarships. Even then, you might need to cover a substantial part of your expenses via a student loan. 


To find a loan you can afford easily, and with the best possible terms for you, we’ve built FundRight.


With Fundright, save up to ₹23 lakhs on your education loan. Register today and find out how much you can save.



CanI get a free international scholarship to study abroad?


‘Free scholarship’ is available in the form of fully funded scholarships, which cover all your expenses during your studies abroad. 


How much scholarship can I get to study abroad x1


It’s possible to fund 100% of your expenses of studying abroad through scholarships. 


How to get a scholarship to study abroad for an MBA?


Most of the scholarships we’ve covered in this guide are applicable to MBA programs too. 


Can I get a fully funded scholarship to study abroad?

Yes, Indian students can avail of fully funded scholarships to study abroad. Apply early, tailor your applications, and highlight relevant achievements.


Which countries offer fully funded scholarships for Indian students?

Countries like Germany, the USA, the UK, Canada, and France offer scholarships covering tuition and living costs.


How can I get a 100% scholarship in the USA?

Securing a fully funded scholarship in the USA requires early applications, compelling essays, strong recommendations, and highlighting your achievements.


What is the easiest fully funded scholarship to get?

Mostly, it can be university-sponsored scholarships because they are more accessible upon admission if you meet their criteria. 


Are there government scholarships for Indian students to study abroad?

Yes, several Indian government scholarships are available for students studying abroad, covering various expenses.


Can I get a scholarship to study abroad without any financial contribution?

Yes, you can get a fully funded scholarship, which covers all expenses. They are available but highly competitive.


What types of scholarships are available for Indian students to study abroad?

Mostly, merit-based, need-based, government, private, and university-specific scholarships are available for studying abroad.

Picture of Anand Patinge

Anand Patinge

A master storyteller, Anand has enriched multiple entities with captivating designs, compelling messaging, and impactful media campaigns. Beyond work, you can find him feeding stray dogs, exploring art, and watching insiprational documentaries.

Get discovered by Top Universities

Find The Best University and Programs Based on Your Profile

Explore SelectRight
Related Blogs