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Scholarships for Indian Students to Study Abroad


The year 2019 witnessed a phenomenal increase in the number of Indian students opting to study abroad. A sizable chunk of this popularity can be attributed to the availability of international scholarships for Indian students. Let’s take a look at the scholarship options and how they play a pivotal role in shaping and fulfilling the academic dreams of students.

Why are Scholarships Important to Study Abroad?

Opting to pursue a degree course from an international university often involves sizeable expenditure that can strain one’s finances. While availing a student loan can help to meet the cost of studying abroad, scholarships further ease the funding constraints.

  • Availing a scholarship can reduce the overall financial strain imposed by the cost of living and academics, making education affordable.
  • Depending on the type of scholarship and the institutions sponsoring it, the scholarship amount can reach up to 100% of the total cost of education.

Different Types of Scholarships

Scholarships can be of several types, each designed to fulfil the disparate funding needs of students. Knowing about its types can thus help you decide and apply for the most suited ones.

  1. Merit-based scholarships

These scholarships are awarded to students basis their merits in specific fields, be it academics, sports, or co-curricular activities. Such assistance is often renewed every year throughout the course duration if students fulfill the merit criteria.

Merit-based scholarships often finance up to a 100% of the tuition fees of selected students. Some scholarships also include a stipend or allowance for living expenses, airfare cost, as well as health and travel insurance cost, etc. Some global universities also limit such scholarships to a maximum amount of funding.

  1. Destination-specific scholarships

Such scholarships are either provided by the student’s country to pursue education at a specific destination. Or, such destinations themselves grant funds to international students enrolling with them.

Destination-based scholarships can be either based on tuition fee waiver or can fund the total living costs of a student studying abroad. Also, there can be a maximum limit to these scholarships.

  1. Student-specific scholarships

Scholarships that are student-centric are often available to individuals based on their religion, race, gender, medical history, etc. These funding assistances target to uplift students from specific backgrounds via a scholarship for overseas education.

These scholarships can also be destination based and often come with either tuition fee waivers or funding for the cost of living, or both.

  1. Subject or course-specific scholarships

Educational institutions or universities grant these scholarships to international students when pursuing specific subject, field or course of study.

Based on whether a course or subject-specific scholarship is fully or partly funded, the amount of financing can range anywhere between 40% and 100% of tuition fees. These scholarships, however, do not often fund the living cost.

  1. Athletic scholarships

These funding assistance programs target students with outstanding performance records in sports. While these scholarships are renewable, the student must continue playing and represent the university or institution nationally and internationally alongside fulfilling academic requirements.

The scholarship amount, designed to offset the cost of a general or specialised degree, usually benefits students with up to 100% fee waiver and funds the cost of living as well up to a certain percentage decided by the sponsoring or organising body.

  1. Need-based scholarships

These scholarships are designed to provide financial assistance to students with weaker economic background. Under such programs, students with financial constraints can avail necessary funding via this scholarship to pursue higher education at international universities.

As need-based scholarships are awarded on the basis of one’s economic background, the total funding is usually high, between 70% and 100% of the total cost of completing the education.

Let’s take a quick look at the scholarship options available for Indian students to pursue their higher education in different countries.

Country-Specific Scholarships

Indian students can explore scholarship options for the following countries to pursue their degree course accordingly.

  1. The United Kingdom

The UK offers numerous scholarship opportunities for students from developing countries willing to pursue their higher education from one of its universities. The Government of India also offers merit-based scholarships to students carrying academic excellence to further their educational venture abroad. Some of the top scholarships for Indian students in the UK include –

  • Charles Wallace India Trusts Scholarship – The CWIT scholarship is granted to doctoral or research-level students pursuing a degree in humanities, heritage and arts. The CWIT scholarships are available as long and short-term grants as well as fellowships. The scholarship amounts include fully-funded awards, i.e. 100% of the total tuition fees. In its 30 years of existence, the Trust has awarded 2700 grants.
  • GREAT Scholarships – Offered by the British Council in collaboration with The GREAT Britain campaign of the UK, the scholarship allows students to pursue higher studies in several top universities of the country. To secure a GREAT Scholarship, Indian students must be undergraduate degree holders and fulfil other basic eligibilities.

Under the aegis of the British Council, the scholarships amount to 10,000 Pounds at minimum, with close equivalence to the cost of pursuing one year of a postgraduate degree in the UK.

  • CSSS or Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme – Students from the commonwealth countries, including India, can avail scholarships under the CSSS. This scholarship allows students to pursue their postgraduate degree at LSE or the London School of Economics and Political Science. Applicants must be undergraduate degree holders and sufficiently fluent in spoken and written English to avail the funding.

The amount of financing provided under this need-based scholarship include 100% of the approved tuition fees alongside a stipend of 1,100 Pounds towards the cost of living, airfare from to and from the country of an awarded student’s residence to the UK and warm clothing allowance. The cost of living stipend in the case of students pursuing their higher studies in the London Metropolitan area amounts to 1,362 Pounds.

Some other recognised scholarships to pursue higher studies in the UK include –

  • OCSI scholarships
  • Sir Ratan Tata Fellowship for South Asian Students at LSE
  • University of Lincoln India scholarship
  • UWE International scholarship
  • Sussex India scholarship


  1. The United States of America

Given the prioritization of international education by the US Government, scholarship opportunities for Indian students in the country are immense. You can select either a government or non-government sponsored scholarship program and apply for it by fulfilling the essential eligibility conditions. Here are a few of them –

  • Cornell University Tata Scholarship – Students who have already been accepted for a degree course at the Cornell University can apply for the funding program Cornell University Tata Scholarship.

This student funding affiliate comes with an established endowment of 25 Million Dollars for financial aid to Indian students pursuing their undergraduate degree from the USA. Such funding can be availed by a maximum of 20 students receiving admission at the Cornell University at a given time.

  • Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships for Indian students – Indians can utilise the opportunity to obtain an MBA degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business by applying for the fellowship program. To be eligible for the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship, students must return to India within 2 years of completion of their MBA program, among other requirements.

The Stanford University awards up to 3 scholarships every year under this funding program. As for the class of 2022, the financial support extended under the Fellowship funding scheme will amount to 80% of the cost of attending a course and its associated fees approximately. Such funding is available for each student for each year of a 2-year long postgraduate degree.

  • Fullbright-Nehru Research Fellowship – The merit-based scholarship program Fullbright-Nehru Research Fellowship provides funding to Indian students with a background in academic excellence to pursue any degree course in US universities. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree alongside specific work experience, among other requirements, to avail funding under the fellowship scheme.

Funding under Fulbright Fellowship is provided for a duration ranging between 2 weeks and 24 months based on the grant category. Also, for a master’s degree, the grant includes 100% of the cost of living along with a percentage of tuition fees, depending on case-to-case basis, health insurance coverage as well as economy class air fare for a round trip. Doctoral and postdoctoral candidates receive stipend on a monthly basis along with health insurance and round trip air fare. Further, these grants differ under research categories. All the grant categories, however, include J-1 Visa support.

Some other scholarships to pursue a degree course in the USA include –

  • Hubert Humphrey fellowship program
  • IEFA scholarships
  • AAUW international fellowships
  • Scholarships for the Chicago Booth School of Business
  1. Australia

The government of Australia spends a whopping $770 million annually to provide funding to international students to pursue a degree course at the country’s universities. Given the popularity of Australia among Indian students as an overseas destination for higher education, the scholarship and fellowship opportunities are ample. Take a look!

  • India Global Leaders Scholarship – Students hoping to pursue an undergraduate or postgraduate degree course under the University of Queensland’s Economics, Business and Law Faculty can apply for the Indian Global Leaders Scholarship, a program for funding full-tuition fees of the course.

Scholars qualifying for the funding program receive a tuition fee scholarship worth between 5000 and 20,000 Dollars, with the final amount of grant differing at the selection committee’s discretion.

  • UNSW Sydney Future of Change India Scholarship – Students who have already been accepted for a degree course by the University of New South Wales Sydney can apply for a Future of Change India Scholarship.

Grants under the scholarship program amount to 5,000 Dollars annually for the entire course duration.

Other scholarship programs for higher education in Australia are –

  • Australia Awards
  • John Allwright Fellowship
  • Endeavour Leadership Program
  • University of Adelaide Ashok Khurana Scholarship for Indian Students
  1. Canada

The Government of Canada, several of its universities, and other independent bodies offer scholarship programs to Indian students to support them pursue their higher education in the country. Meritorious students can apply for these programs against simple eligibility criteria laid down by the sponsoring body. Some of these scholarships include –

  • Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute Fellowship – Under the program, students can apply for a scholarship for various under and postgraduate courses. Students who have completed a degree course from a recognised Indian university are eligible for the Shastri Indo-Canadian Fellowship.

The duration of such scholarship extends between 8 and 12 weeks for each student, with the value of award varying between 500 and 1,000 Canadian Dollars. Financing under the Fellowship program includes expenses related to the cost of living.

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) Program – Any graduate Indian can apply for the scholarship to pursue higher education. As a pre-requisite to receive a grant under the Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program, they must have accepted an offer from one of the universities in Ontario.

The award value under OGS includes 5,000 Dollars for each session and can be availed for up to 3 sessions spread over a year, amounting up to 15,000 Dollars. Such value amounts to one-third of the total cost of pursuing a course.

Other renowned scholarships for Indian students’ education in Canada are as follows –

  • Associate-ship from NRCC
  • Ontario Trillium Scholarship
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Trudeau Scholarships and Fellowships
  • Quebec Provincial Government Scholarship
  1. New Zealand

Opportunities for higher education in New Zealand via scholarships are immense. This is mainly because many of these programs focus on providing university education to students from the commonwealth and pacific regions. International students, including Indians, can thus apply for several of these schemes to fund their higher studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

  • New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships – The CSFP or Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan provides funding assistance to students pursuing PhD or masters in one of the country’s universities.

The award value under the NZ Commonwealth Scholarships varies based on the university a qualifying student selects to study from. The emoluments roughly amount to 25,000 NZ Dollars and include tuition fees as well as the cost of living and travel.

  • NZIDRS – New Zealand International Doctoral Research Scholarships or NZIDRS are funded by the government to provide scholarship to students pursuing PhD from one of its universities. These are merit-based scholarships and require students to hold high academic scoring.

Grants under this scholarship scheme include living allowance along with travel, heath insurance and thesis allowances which can amount up to 30,000 NZ Dollars.

Other New Zealand scholarships for Indian students worth mentioning include –

  • New Zealand Global Research Alliance Doctoral Scholarship
  • Palmerston North City Mayor’s Goodwill Ambassador Scholarship
  • SEG scholarship
  • New Zealand Excellence Awards

Alongside these, scholarship options for three other countries are mentioned below to help Indian students with their higher education abroad.

  1. Ireland

Students from India aspiring to complete their higher education from an Irish university can apply for scholarships provided by the government, universities, and other institutionalised bodies. Based on the educational institution’s criteria, these funding aids can be received in part of the total tuition fees or in full. Scholarships in Ireland to look forward to are –

  • The Walsh Fellowship
  • The Government of Ireland International Education Scholarship
  • The Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship 2020

While most of the scholarship programs available for pursuing higher education in Ireland are merit-based and require high academic scores, students can also receive grants based on their extracurricular efficiency, specialisation and such other parameters.

The grant amount, however, varies as per institution as well as the type of award, and can range up to 100% of tuition fees and a part percentage of the total cost of living and travel as per the grant committee’s discretion. Also, these grants are usually provided based on the yearly stipend criteria.

  1. China

With more and more Indian students opting to pursue their higher education from Chinese universities, China is fast becoming a prominent international destination for degree courses. While quality education, along with technological advancements, has driven such prominence, various scholarships, grants and fellowships are also accessible now to help students with their higher studies abroad.

Some of the top scholarships for Indian students in China are listed below.

  • Chinese Government Scholarship
  • MOFCOM Scholarship China
  • Chinese University Program
  • Anhui Provincial Government Scholarship

Most of the scholarships offered to Indian students to pursue their higher education in China are based on their academic record, and minimum education acquired. Also, the grant amount can vary on case to case basis, but can go up to 100% of the cost of education as well as living.

  1. France

Higher education in France for international students has received much acclaim, primarily due to its high-quality academic pedagogy at an affordable cost. Indian students can further make higher studies cost-effective by opting for some of the well-known scholarships in France. Listed below are thus a handful of scholarships to study in France.

  • Raman-Charpak Fellowship
  • FACE or French Academic Cooperation and Excellence Scholarship
  • Charpak Master’s Program, France
  • INSEAD Diversity Scholarship
  • Emile-Boutmy Scholarship

Minimum qualifications of applicants are mostly considered as the eligibility criteria for these scholarships. Also, up to 25% of the scholarship value is funded by the French Government, with grants provided as monthly stipends. Yearly funding under these scholarships can range between 2,500 and 16,500 Euros based on the course, specialisation, university and the type of award.

Following is a list of other scholarships with their countries that Indian students can apply for when looking forward to pursuing their higher education abroad.

Country Name of Scholarship/Fellowship/Grant
1.      South Korea Silk-Road Scholarship Program
2.      Japan Aichi Scholarship Program
3.      Thailand HM King’s and Queen’s Scholarships
4.      Hong Kong, China Hinrich Full MA Scholarships in International Journalism
5.      Singapore Singapore-India Joint Research Grants
6.      Netherlands Orange Tulip Scholarship

The Process to Apply for Scholarships

Since these scholarships are offered to pursue higher studies in different universities across the globe, the application process may vary for each funding program. Nevertheless, below given is a standard procedure one can utilise to apply for a scholarship.

Step 1 –Research on the scholarship options

For starters, undertake thorough research to gather information regarding scholarship availability for the educational discipline, the country targeted, universities and your nationality. Proper research will help you arrive at the most suitable scholarship program/s for your academic goals.

Step 2 –Check and fulfil eligibility requirements

Proceed to check the eligibility requirements, and whether you qualify for the selected scholarship. The requirements can vary depending on the type of scholarship sought, extending across educational qualification and economic background.

Step 3 –Redraft your resumé

Next, make necessary changes to your resumé before applying so that the first impression of your eligibility with the university or institute is aligned as per the scholarship requirements. Also, draft separate cover letters for different scholarships if applying for more than one. Any co-curricular experience or achievement must be highlighted to emphasise on your eligibility.

Step 4 –Keep track of the calendar for deadlines

Scholarship programs come with a set deadline for a given period, within which students must apply. It is thus essential that you remain aware of the different deadlines and stay prepared to apply before the last day of application submission.

Once these steps are complete, you can proceed to apply for your scholarship program/s with the selected university or educational institute either online or offline, as required.

Eligibility Factors that Affect the Chances of Scholarship Qualification

Although scholarships cover a wide range of qualifications to allow students from diverse backgrounds fulfil their academic dreams conveniently, some factors typically affect their eligibility. Take a look.

  1. Minimum qualification

Several scholarships come with a minimum qualification requirement, whereby students must hold a specified undergraduate or postgraduate degree to apply.

  1. Academic progress

The track record of one’s academic progress also contributes to his/her qualification for a funding program. For instance, in the case of a limited number of scholarships, students with remarkable academic progress stand a better chance to be approved than otherwise.

  • Nationality

As some scholarship programs are targeted towards students of specific nationalities, you must check whether you fulfil this requirement or not before proceeding.

  1. Enrolment and acceptance status

Specific assistance programs are designed to fund the higher education of students only after they have enrolled in or been accepted by the university/educational institute. Thus, you will not be able to apply without obtaining such enrolment or acceptance.

  1. Criteria-specific merit

This factor indicates the type of merit one is applying with for a scholarship. Such merit can be on the basis of educational achievement, extracurricular recognition or a cognisance in sports.

With these factors in mind, Indian students can step forward to fulfil their academic pursuits abroad by applying for a suitable scholarship.

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