Fabrication laboratory at the University of California Davis’ School of Engineering
(photo by UC Davis School of Engineering, used under CC license)
A recent survey found that students indicated high cost as their greatest deterrent to studying abroad. The other major deterrent was the lack of scholarship opportunities. But with proper information and planning, hopefully no student aspiring to go abroad will face this predicament and compromise on her or his academic endeavors.
There are a number of scholarships offered by schools, universities, and external agencies. These can help make it more affordable for Indians to study abroad. Let’s look at the various options.
Vibha Kagzi is an admissions consultant, the founder of ReachIvy.com, and a graduate of Harvard Business School. The above article is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on Quora
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One of the best sources of financial aid can be the college you attend. Universities provide grants and scholarships which do not have to be repaid and can be offered based on need or merit. For example:
Tata Scholarships at Cornell University – A $25-million endowment from the Tata Education and Development Trust supports around 20 Indian scholars at Cornell. To be eligible, you should first be accepted into an undergraduate course at Cornell, and then apply for need-based financial aid.
The British Council – The British Council recently announced the single largest number of scholarships ever launched in a year in India, by offering around 370 scholarships worth almost £1 million. Thirty-six UK institutions participate in this program, and scholarships will be offered for 260 undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Your current institution
The institution you currently attend could be a resource for financial aid. It’s important to speak to your school and department heads to understand if any scholarships are available and what their admission criteria are. For example:
Davis United World Colleges Scholars Program - All graduates of UWC schools who gain admission on their own merits to selected US colleges or universities qualify for need-based scholarship support through the program. The program currently supports over 2,700 scholars at 94 partner colleges and universities throughout the United States.
It is quite common for community groups to encourage and support exceptional members in their academic endeavors. For example:
Mustard Seed Foundation (The Harvey Fellows Program)- Provides scholarships to Christian students who are pursuing graduate studies at premier universities in fields considered to be underrepresented by Christians and who possess a unique vision to impact society through their vocations.
There are plenty of trusts, foundations and private groups that aid exceptional candidates. The criterion varies depending on the institution, and you will have to explain why you are the right candidate. For example:
Rotary Global Grant Scholarship Program- Supports international study at the graduate level and funds graduate-level coursework or research for one to four academic years. It is a partnership between the district / club in the study location and the district / club in the scholar’s home country. The minimum grant amount is $30,000.
Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships– Provides scholarships of up to $100,000 for exceptional Indian students to study in North America or Europe. The scholarship covers tuition fees, adequate living expenses and one-way travel. Applicants must be under 30 and must reside in India at the time of application.
Narottam Sekhsaria Foundation- Awards interest-free loan scholarships to Indian students with a consistent and strong academic record. The scholarship amount can be up to Rs 20 lakh, and is awarded to students who wish to pursue postgraduate studies at prestigious Indian and international universities.
The Indian government has scholarships, some in collaboration with others, to support outstanding candidates who want to study outside India. For example:
Government of Telangana – Introduced the Overseas Study Scheme for Minorities, for the benefit of the students belonging to minority communities. Financial assistance will be sanctioned to 500 minority students/graduates per year, to pursue postgraduate or doctoral studies abroad.
Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships - The Master's Fellowships are designed for outstanding Indians residing in India to pursue their degree at select US colleges and universities. Applicants should have completed the equivalent of a US bachelor's degree, have at least three years of work experience, and should be committed to return and contribute to their communities.
There are a number of resources Indian applicants can use to fund their study abroad. It’s imperative you do your research, connect with targeted colleges, explore Government schemes, reach out to external agencies, and speak to successful students. Start early and thoroughly explore all the options available before making your final decision.