What is a Scholarship? Check Top Scholarships, Eligibility, Types and Tips to Apply


Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Aug 02, 2022 10:32 AM IST

The scholarships to study abroad bear the costs related to the studies of the student. Often they are highly competitive and to bag one, the student needs to work hard. Read the article to know all about scholarships to study abroad, types of scholarships and how you can increase your chances to receive one.

What is a Scholarship - Types, Eligibility, Tips to Apply, Top Scholarships to Study Abroad

In a nutshell, a scholarship is financial support awarded to a student to further their education. With studying abroad, even a little financial assistance can go a long way in cutting your overall cost of studying.

While study abroad scholarships are often known to be for students who are in dire need of financial aid, that is not the case. Scholarships for international students serve as a feather in the cap for not only academic success but also for a faster CV upgrade.

Let us now first give you a clear understanding of what scholarship means, and then walk you through the types of scholarships to study abroad for Indian students, how to get scholarships to study abroad, and top tips to boost your chances of getting study abroad scholarships and more.

Top 5 Scholarships to Study Abroad

Scholarships for international students are an essential part of the funding process and it motivates students to pursue higher education. Let us look at the top scholarships to study abroad for Indian students and their funding agencies along with the benefits that they cover. The list includes Indian scholarships for students to study abroad as well as foreign scholarships:

Name of the Scholarship and Study Destination



Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships - All countries

Award up to USD 100,000 is given to cover tuition fees, living expenses, healthcare, and one-way airfare

For Indian citizens holding an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, the age should be maximum of 30 years

India Global Leaders Scholarship - Australia

50% of the tuition fees

Must be a citizen of India, offer letter to study a business, economics or law program 

Great Scholarships India - UK

GBP 10,000 towards the master’s course

Citizen of India with an undergraduate degree

Fulbright Nehru Master's Scholarship - USA

Tuition and fees support, air travel fare, living costs

Bachelor's degree holder with 55% marks, three years full-time professional experience

Orange Tulip Scholarship - Netherlands

Value differs from subject to subject and from institution to institution

Passed high school or holds a bachelor's degree

Rhodes scholarship A stipend of GBP 17,310 including course fees and an annual stipend  Bachelor's degree, below 24 years of age, first-class honours is preferable
Erasmus Mundus Scholarship EUR 49,000 for tuition fees, plane fare and living cost Bachelor's degree
Commonwealth Scholarships Airfare, tuition fees, a stipend of GBP 1,133 per month Citizen of a commonwealth country, must have a first-class or high second class honours in bachelors, must be unable to afford studying in the UK

Our study abroad experts are efficient in curating the best scholarships to suit the needs of students while guiding them through the application process.

Know More About Country-Specific Scholarships!

Meaning of Scholarship

The scholarships for students can be one time or can be renewed after a duration of time that is they will keep receiving money at the beginning of each academic year or semester. The scholarships for international students are different from student loans as they do not need to be repaid. Merit scholarships are awarded to encourage the students to keep achieving academic excellence.

The funds of the scholarships for international students are used to pay the tuition fees, books, stationeries, room, board, travel and other expenses which are tied to the education cost of the student at the university abroad. 

For higher education, merit scholarships for bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD scholarships are available. Scholarships are partially or fully funded or cover a certain amount of the tuition fees. They usually come in the form of tuition fee waivers, grants and fellowships.

What Does a Study Abroad Scholarship Cover?

As it is well known that a study abroad scholarship covers the basic expenses of studying. Scholarships provide for different costs associated with higher education abroad, from tuition fees to room and board, lab fees, air tickets, living costs and more. The money on some occasions is given to the institute itself, while sometimes, to students receiving the scholarship.

Students should remember that they should not squander the scholarship money for entertainment and should be used for educational purposes. The expenses covered by a study abroad scholarship are:

  • Tuition Fees: This is the most important study abroad expense to be paid by students. It is the fee to attend the college or university they have applied to study abroad. Most scholarships cover a part of the tuition fees and some may cover the full tuition fees.

  • Laboratory Fees: Students studying natural or applied sciences may get scholarships that cover the lab and research fees. This scholarship particularly targets postgraduate studies where lab experiments are quite expensive.

  • Room and Board: Students when they study abroad have to find a place to live. It can be both on-campus and off-campus accommodation. Some scholarships cover the cost of living abroad and the details of it will be written in the scholarship letter.

  • Living Expenses: Apart from living, there are other daily and monthly expenses that students have to bear. It can be transportation costs, food, utility bills, health services and other expenses. Transport cost includes airfare from the student’s home country to the study abroad destination. There are scholarships that provide allowance to students to cover their living expenses abroad.

  • Books and Study Materials: Students have to spend a significant amount of money to purchase books, study materials, stationeries and other educational supplies. Particular scholarships cater to the expenses related to books and course materials.

Types of Scholarships to Study Abroad

The types of scholarships are determined by the sponsors of the scholarships for international students. It is important that the students are well informed about the kinds of scholarships for international students that are available for higher studies. The scholarships for students will have different eligibility criteria and will cover different costs of studying abroad.

Proper planning and intensive research will help the students find out the merit scholarships that suit their educational needs. While some scholarships are based on the academic achievement of the students, others are based on their financial status. A few scholarships can also be gender-based and degree-based.

The study abroad scholarships come with various terms and conditions. There are chances that the scholarships may be stopped because of one reason or another. If the students fail to live up to the academic standards if they are involved in illegal activities or have misappropriated the funds then the scholarship for international students will be terminated.

Below mentioned are the most common types of study abroad scholarships:

Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit scholarships are scholarships based on merit and academic achievement. It is the most common scholarship awarded to students who display remarkable performance in their academics. The common eligibility criteria of the merit scholarships are good grades, marks or GPA. Some scholarships analyse students beyond their educational excellence and take into consideration other co-curricular activities and extra-curricular activities.

The motive of merit scholarships is to help high-achieving students fulfil their career aspirations. 

Need-Based Scholarships

A need-based scholarship is granted to students who need financial assistance to pursue their education abroad. If the student is supported by the parents, then the scholarship authority will check the economic solvency of the parents and their ability to bear the cost of education overseas. If the students support themselves, then their financial status will be assessed.

Need-based scholarships are not dependent on the merit of the student as they are particularly designed for students who cannot afford the cost of their education. Some scholarships are hybrid combinations of both need and merit. 

Talent-Based Scholarships

The students who possess extraordinary talents and are capable of nurturing them are awarded talent-based scholarships. As the old adage goes ‘You should not judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree’ similarly the students who possess exceptional talent must be given recognition on their own merit.

Therefore, there are athletic scholarships, music scholarships, dance scholarships and other scholarships which reward the students for their co-curricular activities. Besides education, talent-based scholarship holders must continue nurturing their talents.

Scholarships for Women

Gender discrimination is rampant across the countries and many women are still discouraged to achieve greatness. To give equal rights to women and promote their higher education, many organisations provide scholarships for women. This enables them to continue their education in spite of the challenges posed by society. Eligible women are provided with several merit-based and need-based scholarships that help in reducing the disparities prevalent in society.

In terms of value, scholarships for women take care of tuition fees and other educational expenses.

Programme or Field-Specific Scholarships

Some scholarships for international students are awarded based on the Bachelor’s or Master’s programs a student is pursuing. While certain scholarships are restricted to particular fields of study such as STEM scholarships, a good number of scholarships are not available for non-STEM courses.

These program-specific scholarships are generally given to promote a particular field of study that is in high demand in the market. These are mostly offered by the departments or the universities where the students are studying. In some cases, students are automatically eligible for the scholarship as they take admission in the course. International students are also encouraged to apply to these programs which can help ease their financial burden.

Who Offers Scholarships to Study Abroad?

Apart from the above study abroad scholarships, there are scholarships related to the organisation or institution giving them. Let us look at the other Indian study abroad scholarships besides the foreign scholarships.

Government Scholarships

The central and state governments of a country provide scholarships to encourage students to pursue their higher studies abroad. Generally, government scholarships are given to students who are needy. The government scholarships for students aim to remove the socio-economic disparity prevalent in society.

Also, foreign governments often offer scholarships to attract international students to their countries. Some government scholarships to study abroad are provided in collaboration with other countries to strengthen the ties between countries.

Private Scholarships

When private institutions offer scholarships to international students to study abroad, students need to submit documents of their academic qualifications, and their motivation to study abroad. Moreover, they might also have to attempt a test in order to qualify for the scholarship.

College/University Scholarship

Colleges and Universities provide scholarships to students to study specific subjects. International students are provided with scholarships by foreign universities to diversify their student base and bring varied cultural experiences to the campus.

How to Apply for a Scholarship Abroad?

The application process for study abroad scholarships is a time-intensive task but is worth the labour. Students often wonder how to get scholarships to study abroad. Here are some of the common steps of applying for scholarships abroad:

Step 1: To make a checklist of the scholarships for which the student is eligible.

Step 2: Scholarships require the submission of documents like academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, letters of motivation, statements of purpose and essays. So students should check the requirements in advance. For entry-based scholarships, they do not need to submit a separate scholarship.

Step 3: They will have to fill up the application form for the scholarship and submit the documents.

Step 4: Finally the wait to receive confirmation will start.

What are the Chances of Receiving a Scholarship Abroad? 

The study abroad scholarships are generally limited in number with a large number of applicants competing for them. Though the chances are less, it should be kept in mind that someone will ultimately receive the merit scholarships and yes, it can be anyone!

To boost the chances of receiving different types of scholarships, students need to follow the steps given below:

  • The students need to have a strong academic profile with excellent grades and high standardised scores to be eligible for scholarships. Ergo, it is necessary to prepare oneself well in advance to be eligible for scholarships.

  • It is advisable to apply proactively for all types of scholarships so as to maximise the chances of getting them. They should check the government scholarships to study abroad besides the private scholarships.

  • Exclusive scholarships are given to Indian or Asian students by foreign countries thereby reducing the level of competition. Women are given special scholarships so that they can continue their studies. 

  • The universities also have scholarships for which the students get automatically eligible while studying a particular course. The students must target to receive such scholarships to improve their chances.

  • Students can apply to study in those countries where the cost of education is low and chances of getting scholarships are high.

For instance, almost all German universities do not require tuition fees and the cost of living can be covered by DAAD scholarships. However, the DAAD scholarships are applicable to students studying at the postgraduate level.

In France, social scholarships are provided to the students and most programs are taught, free of cost. The Chinese government provides scholarships called the Grant of PRC which covers the tuition fees and living expenses.

Tips to Boost Chances of Receiving a Scholarship Abroad

Getting study abroad scholarships is not as easy as it looks. There is fierce competition for getting merit scholarships, especially among students willing to study abroad. While it is important not to know how to write a convincing scholarship essay, a few tips on boosting the chances of receiving a scholarship to study abroad are discussed below:

  • Thorough research on the available scholarships is to be done and students should know the eligibility requirements and prepare accordingly. They should read the application carefully before starting to fill it up. In case of doubts, one should email the scholarship provider with their queries.

  • They should be motivated and committed to demonstrating their intentions as truthfully as they can. Leadership skills and other personal qualities are highly valued by the scholarship committee. Candidates must display real-life evidence of the same.

  • Building a strong connection with the mentors is important as they are the ones who will write letters of recommendation. It is, therefore, necessary to build personal connections with them so that they can know the students better and the same will be reflected when they write on their behalf.

  • The writing should be lucid and clear. Adherence to the word limit and answering only what is being asked is necessary. Digressing from the topic is not wise. Students may draw examples from real life and establish them with their intentions to study abroad. 

  • The write-ups should be devoid of any grammatical or formatting errors. An engaging introduction is a brilliant way to increase the curiosity of the reader to know more about the applicant.

Study abroad scholarships are an integral part of foreign education. They not only ease the financial burden of the student but also help them to focus solely on education rather than worrying about the means to repay the education loans taken. The students must devote sufficient time to researching the best scholarships to study abroad and give their best in order to get selected.

Our study abroad experts have assisted thousands of students in getting study abroad scholarships and guided them through the application process. Write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com to learn about our services.

Find the Right Scholarship for You!


Does scholarship mean free education?

 A scholarship does not mean free education. The amount given by scholarships can be more or less than the tuition fees. Students can partially or fully pay their tuition fees with the scholarship. It does not ensure freeship. Students are awarded scholarships based on their academic performance or economic condition.

How do you know if you won a scholarship?

You can know if you won a scholarship by keeping track of the website of the scholarship provider. After the deadline of the scholarship passes the scholarship committee reviews the applications and goes through their documents. Then students are informed by phone call or email if you are successful and the further process to get the scholarship will be explained.

How do I get scholarships?

Students can get scholarships by applying for them. There are several governmental and private scholarships that cover tuition fees and other expenses of students. They have to prepare statements of purpose, motivational essays or give interviews as a part of getting selected for the scholarship.

Do I need to pay back my scholarship?

 No, students do not need to pay back their scholarships. The scholarships are gift aids given to motivate students to carry on their academic endeavours. It is a token of appreciation and encouragement. It is not a financial loan that the students have to repay.

What can scholarships do for you?

Scholarships can do several things for the students the primary one being the reduction in the financial burden of the students. It can save you from the huge amount of loan that needs to be repaid. It empowers the students to chase their academic objectives without pressure. Scholarships provide more time to study and pursue knowledge.

What grades do you need to get a scholarship?

The grades needed to get a scholarship is different for different scholarships. The institutes that provide merit-based scholarships assessing the academic background of students mostly demand grades between 3.5 to 4. A high GPA is a mandatory requirement for these scholarships. Apart from GPA, there can be other criteria based on which a student is given a scholarship such as gender, caste and extracurricular activities.

How many scholarships can a student get?

Students can get as many scholarships as they apply for but they can finally choose anyone. However, the terms and conditions of the scholarship vary from one organisation to another but most of them mandate that students can utilise the funds of only scholarship. If any discrepancy is found in this regard, the student is liable to answer the organisation.

When should I apply for college scholarships?

The students can apply for college scholarships after they have received the offer letter from the university of their choice. They must keep a note of the deadlines of various governmental and private scholarships at the national and international levels. The scholarship deadlines are just before the beginning of the session so that students can enjoy their benefits during the course.

Which countries give free scholarships?

The countries which give you free scholarships are Germany, Norway, Finland, Austria and Iceland. Here the meaning of free scholarship is the opportunity to study free of cost. Students do not have to pay any fee apart from minor administrative charges if they study in the public or state universities of these countries. They are not required to pay any tuition fees but other expenses have to be paid for.

Can I get a 100% scholarship to study abroad?

You can know if you won a scholarship by keeping track of the website of the scholarship provider. After the deadline of the scholarship passes the scholarship committee reviews the applications and goes through their documents. Then students are informed by phone call or email if they are successful and the further process to get the scholarship will be explained.

How long does it take for a scholarship to process?

A scholarship takes around four to five months to complete the whole procedure. First, the scholarship deadlines are released and students have to apply for it by attaching all the necessary documents which may include motivation letters and statements of purpose. Then the applications are scrutinized and the scholars are selected. 

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