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Scholarships to Study in the USA for Indian Students

Updated on 08 May, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

The USA is undoubtedly one of the most expensive countries globally, but this factor should not come in your path to achieving higher education in the country. With the help of a wide range of scholarship options available for Indian students, you can find a way to support your studies throughout your program. However, one should not rely on one scholarship and apply for different scholarships to increase their chances of availing one of them. 

By means of this article we try to provide a solution to the popular question,’how to get a scholarship to study in the USA for Indian students?’

Read through as we have enlisted some of the scholarships available at one’s disposal to choose from. 

Scholarships in USA

Types of scholarships options in the USA for Indian students

The types of scholarships that the USA offers for Indian students to study abroad after 12th or graduation are given below: 

1. Government-funded scholarship

As the name suggests, government-funded scholarships are the scholarships provided to Indian students by the US government. Indian students can avail these scholarships if they wish to study abroad after 12th or graduation. Some of these scholarships include:

A) Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program

This program is a part of the Fulbright program, which aims to bring talented individuals from all over the world to the United States. This scholarship is for those people who wish to pursue master or doctoral degree programs. This program also includes a special provision for minority students or ordinary citizens who are not well versed in the language. This program covers the tuition fees, monthly expenses, and cost of living of the students. 

Source: Global Survival Guide

Eligibility Criteria

a) A bachelor’s degree from a recognised Indian institution

b) A minimum experience of 5 years 

c) English language proficiency with a valid TOEFL score 

d) Leadership qualities 

e) No prior work experience in the US 

B) Fulbright- Nehru Fellowships

International students applying for master’s or doctoral programmes can avail this scholarship. Graduate students and young professionals can stay in the USA for a year or two through this scholarship. Tuition fees, living expenses and medical costs of the students get covered under this scholarship. Only J1- visa support is offered in this scholarship. 

Eligibility Criteria

a) Bachelor’s degree from a recognised Indian university with at least 55% marks.

b) Minimal three years of professional work experience

c) Must not possess another degree from a US university

d) Experience of working in community service to portray leadership  

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2. Non- government funded-scholarship

 A) #YouAreWelcomeHere Scholarship 

This scholarship is offered to students undergoing their undergraduate studies. The primary purpose of the scholarship is to attract international students to pursue their graduation in the US regardless of their stream. The university offering such scholarships waive off 50% tuition fees from the UG program you enrolled in. 

Eligibility Criteria

a) Only open for undergraduate programs regardless of any stream.

b) Must meet the application deadlines set by the university

c) Students must submit a 500 to 1000 words video essay showing their passion for promoting intercultural activities along with the scholarship application.

d) Students must showcase enthusiasm towards intercultural learning and exchange. 

B) AAUW International Fellowships

AAUW stands for American Association of University Women (AAUW). This international fellowships program offers scholarships to non-immigrant female students pursuing full-time graduate and postgraduate degrees at accredited US institutions. 

The amount awarded to the students is given below. 

Master’s degree- 13,39,568 INR

Graduate or postdoctoral- 1315071 INR – 2191485 INR 

Eligibility Criteria

a) Students must have an academic degree-holding equal value as a bachelor’s degree in the USA. 

b) English language proficiency: IELTS or TOEFL ( as per the requirement of a scholarship provider) 

c) Clearly state their intention of returning to their homeland after finishing their degree in the US. 

d) Should be a full-time student for the scholarship year


The International student financial aid is a summer program that grants scholarships to high school students between 14 and 18 who excel academically and are actively involved in extracurricular activities. Through this scholarship, the student gets a fixed amount of 36,648.6 INR.

3. Merit-based scholarships

These scholarships are provided to students based on their academic scores and overall performance. Students who possess an impeccable academic record are awarded merit-based scholarships. 

Merit-based scholarships are further divided into three categories:

a) Academic Scholarships

These scholarships are provided to students with exceptional grades or good SAT scores. 

b) Average Academic Performance Scholarships

These types of scholarships go beyond academic grades and analyse your overall performance as a student.

c) Sports Scholarships

If you are an excellent sportsperson, this type of scholarship can help fund your study program in the USA. They are highly competitive as universities follow some rules in granting these scholarships to selected students. 

d) Need-based scholarships 

Need-based scholarships are provided to students who are not financially strong to support their studies. Although these scholarships are offered specifically to US students, some universities also provide them to Indian students. 

e) University-specific scholarships 

These scholarships are provided to the students who meet the requirements set by the universities for a particular program. In the majority of the cases, these scholarships are covered by university alumni.

How to get a scholarship to study in the USA?

To apply for the scholarships to study in the USA, students must check whether they are eligible for the same or not. Although the eligibility criteria for each scholarship are different, there are certain factors based on which students applying for a scholarship to study in the USA are evaluated. 

1. An outstanding academic score 

Being a good student academically goes a long way in making you an ideal candidate for availing a scholarship at your dream university. A good academic course certainly acts as a factor that makes the university more favourable towards the candidate. The eligibility requirements, such as academic scores, vary with the university you select, the course you are interested in, and your level of study. 

2. Extracurricular activities and volunteering experience 

Participating in extracurricular activities and having volunteering experience acts as an added advantage when it comes to getting scholarships in the USA. Some universities look for a candidate who can add value to their institution as a whole. Therefore, having a good record in extracurricular and volunteering can give you an edge over other candidates.  

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How to get a scholarship to study in the USA after 12th?

Some scholarship options for Indian students who wish to study in the USA after the 12th. Some of them are as follows:

1. Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships 

This scholarship is offered to the students who wish to study in North America and Europe and hold some expertise in their chosen stream. The scholarship is not for the students who enrol in engineering, Business Studies, Computer Science, Medicine, Public Health, Hospitality and Tourism, Fashion Design and Film and Music Animation. 

Amount of the scholarship- 74,42,045 INR 

Terms and conditions 

  • The scholarship covers tuition fees, cost of living, travel expenses, health allowance and one-way travel expenses. 
  • If the total funding required is more than 7442045 INR, the applicant must prove that they cannot bear the total cost of the course. 
  • The proof of additional funds must be shown at the time of the interview.
  • If the applicant accepts any other scholarships, teaching assistantships and part-time jobs, they must be approved by the foundation sponsoring the fund.
  • The scholarship will not be applicable after nine months from being awarded. 
  • Scholarships are awarded in the month of May/June for the session that starts in August, September or October.

Eligibility criteria 

  • All Indian citizens who have been residing in India for the past six months at the time of filling out the scholarship application 
  • For specific subjects like Humanities, Social Sciences, Fine Arts, Law and Architecture, candidates should have a minimum cgpa of 6.8 from a recognised university.
  • Candidates applying for Science, Mathematics and Environment related subjects should have a minimum cgpa of 7.2 
  • Candidates having a postgraduate degree are not eligible for the scholarship. 
  • Also, the candidates who have already started their postgraduate studies abroad are not eligible to apply for the scholarship. 
  • Candidates must fulfil their English language proficiency before applying for the scholarship. 
  • Candidates applying for the 2022 scholarship must have valid documents to support their application.

2. Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship

The Rotary club offers this scholarship to undergraduate, graduate and qualified individuals wishing to study abroad. All the students except the Rotary club members can apply for the scholarship. Under this scholarship, one can avail of the scholarship in the range of 15,000 USD to 30,000 USD (11.26 lakh to 22.50 lakh INR).

The scholarship has three sub-categories which are listed below: 

Academic-Year Ambassadorial Scholarships: In this scholarship, funding will cover one-year tuition fees, travel expenses and accommodation charges. The amount of scholarships that students get is 18,699,33 INR. 

Multi-Year Ambassadorial Scholarships: This scholarship provides two or three-year course funding. The maximum amount provided through the scholarship is 89,4668 INR.

Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarships: The scholarship is provided to the students who engage in a thorough study of language for a maximum of 6 months. The funding provided through the scholarship covers language training expenses, round-trip transportation charges and accommodation costs ranging between 8,94668 to 1,40,2229 INR. 

Eligibility criteria

  • There must be a rotary club in your country to avail of this scholarship.
  • The candidate must have completed at least two years of college-level coursework. 
  • Candidates already pursuing a degree in a foreign university are not eligible to apply for the scholarship.
  • To apply for Academic-Year and Multi-Year Ambassadorial Scholarships, the candidate must be proficient in the language of the country he’s applying to. 
  • Only specific programs that focus on water and sanitation, peace, primary education, community development and disease prevention are covered under this scholarship.
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How can Indian students get a scholarship for MS in the USA? 

Here are some tips that you need to follow to get a scholarship for MS in the USA:

1. Apply for the scholarships before the deadline

Along with filling out your university applications, fill your scholarship applications before deadlines so that you don’t miss your chance. Check both the application and scholarship deadlines of your selected universities beforehand so that you can arrange all the required documents in due time and avoid last-minute chaos. 

2. Check the eligibility criteria of the scholarship. 

There are various scholarships for Indian students in the USA, each with different eligibility criteria. Therefore, it is essential to know about the scholarships that our universities of interest offer and whether they meet the eligibility criteria for all of them.

3. Keep your essential documents handy. 

The universities abroad look at the previous academic performance of the candidates who apply for the scholarships. While most universities only require undergraduate mark sheets, some may also ask for 10th, 11th and 12th mark sheets. 

4. Get your scores right. 

Getting a decent score in language proficiency tests (IELTS or TOEFL) and GRE or GMAT can maximise your chances of getting a scholarship if you wish to pursue masters from overseas.

5. Volunteering experience 

Any volunteer work at your previous institution would benefit from getting scholarships. While checking the profile of candidates, universities pay attention to your volunteering experience in various cultural activities or events. Whether you have participated in college events or engaged yourself in some community work, it is relevant. 

6. Accomplishments and recognitions 

Your accomplishments and recognition go a long way in making you an ideal candidate for scholarships. These include the competitions you have won, published research papers, certificates of extracurricular activities and merit certificates. 

7. Scholarship Essay

Your Scholarship Essay gives you the opportunity to set yourself apart from all the other applicants by showcasing your interest in the program and explaining why you deserve the scholarship. 

8. Letter of Recommendation (LORs)

LOR from the professors of your previous institutions can significantly make you an ideal candidate for the scholarship. Any professors who taught you one or two subjects in your program can be asked to provide a LOR. 

You can also ask your reporting manager to write a LOR for you if you are a working employee in an organisation and wish to pursue masters from abroad.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some scholarships to study abroad?

Foreign countries provide many scholarships options to provide financial support to students from all over the world. If we take the US into account, the government offers government-funded scholarships, non-government based scholarships, need-based scholarships, merit-based scholarships and university-specific scholarships. To name a few, there is Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program, #YouAreWelcomeHere Scholarship, Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships and Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship.

How to get a free scholarship to study in the USA?

There are many universities in the USA that provide full-ride scholarships to students. Some universities also offer grants that cover related expenses. Though hard to get as they are few in number and the competition for it is high, these scholarships can be availed by going through the university’s official website you are looking to apply for.

How to get a scholarship for MS in the USA?

To get a scholarship for MS in the USA, there are specific steps that students should follow. Apply for the scholarship before the deadlines, check whether you are eligible for the scholarship or not, clear your language proficiency exams, arrange LORs from your previous college professors and write impressive scholarship essays if you are willing to study abroad.

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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