Studying in the US is expensive!
First, you need to pay the full tuition fee, which is 30%-50% more than the in-state tuition fee. Second, you have to arrange for living expenses, which could range between $1,000 and $2,000 or more per month, depending on your lifestyle.
There are various ways to manage your funding such as through an education loan, TA/RA-ship, part-time opportunities and, of course, scholarships.
You have a decent chance of getting some scholarships if you have a great academic background coupled with strong evidence for leadership, social and extracurricular activities.
We have curated a list of top scholarships, especially for Indian students, and listed them below along with details of the eligibility criteria and application process.
Please note that there would be many more scholarships offered by schools and departments that you would apply to. Hence, do check with your target schools and departments for any scholarships available for international students.
#1 Fulbright Foreign Student Program
The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from other countries to study and conduct research in the United States. The Fulbright Foreign Student Program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. Approximately 4,000 foreign students receive Fulbright scholarships each year.
The Fulbright Foreign Student Program is administered by binational Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or U.S. Embassies. All Foreign Student Program applications are processed by these offices.
Program eligibility and selection procedures vary widely by country.
Fellowships for Indian Citizens
The Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships are designed for outstanding Indians residing in India to pursue a master’s degree program at selected U.S. colleges and universities in the areas of Arts and Culture Management including Heritage Conservation and Museum Studies; Environmental Science/Studies; Higher Education Administration; International Legal Studies; Public Administration; Public Health; Urban and Regional Planning; and Women’s Studies/Gender Studies.
The fellowship will provide the following benefits:
- J-1 visa support;
- Round-trip economy class air travel from fellow’s home city to the host institution in the U.S.;
- Funding for tuition and fees*, living and related costs; and
- Accident and sickness coverage per U.S. Government guidelines.
- You must possess the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a recognized Indian university with at least 55% marks. You need a four-year bachelor’s degree, or if the bachelor’s degree is of less than four years, you could complete a master’s degree;
- You should have at least three years’ full-time (paid) professional work experience relevant to their proposed field of study by the application deadline;
- You must demonstrate experience in leadership and community service;
- You should not have another degree from a U.S. university or be enrolled in a U.S. degree program; and
- If employed, please carefully follow the instructions regarding the employer’s endorsement. If applicable, please obtain the endorsement from the appropriate administrative authority on the FNMasters Employer’s Endorsement Form. The employer must indicate that leave will be granted for the fellowship period. You can download the FNMasters Employer’s Endorsement Form from the USIEF website.
Eligible Fields of Study
- Arts and Culture Management including Heritage Conservation and Museum
- Environmental Science/Studies
- Higher Education Administration
- International Legal Studies
- Public Administration
- Public Health
- Urban and Regional Planning
- Women’s Studies/Gender Studies
How to Apply
Applications must be submitted online. Please refer to the Application Procedure and Guidelines (page 24) on the Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships webpage at www.usief.org.in for fellowship details and Application Instructions.
Tips from current Indian Fullbrighters on the application and selection process
Start the process early: “The early bird catches the worm.” This popular saying is relevant for prospective applicants for the Fulbright-Nehru program. I began my preparation for the Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship in 2013, six months prior to the July deadline. As I began early, I was able to do extensive research on the Fulbright program by reading articles, essays and blogs to understand the essence of this prestigious fellowship.
Read the application instructions: I found the actual application process easy as USIEF had prepared detailed instructions on the application process. There are several tips provided in the application form to help prepare a strong application. My advice to all applicants would be to devote time to read and understand the application instructions.
Write clearly and use simple language: As there are several sections in the application, the strategy I adopted was to spend two to three days on each section. After completing all the sections, I revised the application in its entirety a few times to ensure consistency. I advise all applicants to use simple and grammatically correct language and avoid using bombastic style.
Highlight the novelty in your research proposal: You should spend time to find out if similar research is being done in your field. It is important to ensure that your research adds a new dimension and contributes to the existing literature.
Establish the raison d’être to conduct your study in the U.S.: It is important to have a clear sense of “why” the research needs to be done in the U.S. Some criteria to consider would be — availability of primary sources, and interaction with well-known experts in your discipline among others. Highlight the extracurricular activities in your application. It is important to include information about your personal trajectories and how these steered you to apply for a Fulbright-Nehru fellowship.
Choosing referees: You should always reach out to those well versed with your work against someone who is a well-known name. Remember to get referees who can comment on different aspects of your credentials.
Prepare for the interview: Highlight the importance of your research and identify the significance it may bear upon your study discipline and on the contemporary realities of India and the U.S.
Host University: Identify institutions which could actually complement and benefit your own research.
USIEF, Fulbright House , 12 Hailey Road, New Delhi 110001
#2 Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation
The Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation, under its postgraduate scholarship Programme, offers Indian students with consistently high academic record an interest-free loan scholarship for post-graduation.
The PG scholarship amount, extending up to a maximum of Rs. 20 lakhs, is awarded on the basis of the Foundation’s assessment of prospective candidates.
The Foundation awards its postgraduate scholarship to students who wish to pursue their studies in the fields of Pure Sciences, Applied Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, Law, Architecture and Management at prestigious Indian and international universities.
All applications will be screened for shortlisting. Only shortlisted candidates will be informed between the months of April and May. It is mandatory for all the shortlisted candidates to attend a personal interview in Mumbai in the month of June. The interview is the basis for final selection.
It is mandatory for all the scholars to submit attested copies of the following documents within the timeline as decided by the Foundation:
The letter confirming admission to the college/ university for the proposed course of study.
I-20 in the case of students admitted to universities in the United States and a copy of the letter highlighting the financial support in the case of students admitted to universities in other countries.
Number of Awards
The maximum number of students selected across India to receive this award is 20.
Disbursement and Repayment of PG Scholarship Loan
On receiving a copy of the visa, the scholarship for post-graduation amount will be disbursed. Repayments will commence one year after the completion of the course as per the following schedule:
1st year after course completion: Nil
2nd year after course completion: 30% of the scholarship amount
3rd year after course completion: 35% of the scholarship amount
4th year after course completion: 35% of the scholarship amount
The Foundation will award its PG scholarship to students who fulfil the following criteria:
- Indian nationals residing in India.
- Students below 30 years of age.
- Graduates of a recognized university (students in the final year of a degree course and those awaiting their results are also eligible to apply).
- Students having sought admission for a postgraduate degree programme at any prestigious university for the fall intake (Those who are awaiting a decision from a university are also eligible to apply. However, the award of the scholarship is subject to them securing admission)
All applications for the Narotam Sekhsaria’s scholarships for post-graduation are received by the Foundation in the month of January for every academic year.
- STEP 1: The mode of application for the Foundation’s postgraduate scholarships is online: The candidate is required to complete the registration online at http://pg.nsfoundation.co.in.
- STEP 2: Upon registration for the Foundation’s PG Scholarship, the login credentials will be sent to the registered email ID. Once the registration is complete, an application fee of Rs. 500/- is payable either online through Net Banking or offline by sending a Demand Draft issued in favor of the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation.
- STEP 3: On receiving the application fee, the candidate will be able to access the form online by logging in with the provided login credentials. Completed application forms should be submitted before the closing date.
- STEP 4: Only candidates shortlisted for the next round of the selection process are contacted by the Foundation. They are required to produce duly certified supporting documents.
- STEP 5: The next round of the selection process is the interview round, for which candidates are required to come down to the Foundation’s office.
- Mark sheets of Std. Xth, XIIth, and all years of the undergraduate programme and degree certificates.
- Score cards of any qualifying examination taken (Eg: GRE, GMAT,CAT, GATE, etc).
- Copy of the admission letter(s) from the university, if obtained.
- Reference letters (in a sealed envelope).
- Statement of the course fee and any other financial document (this would include any other letter indicating the receipt of a scholarship, other source of funding, fee waiver, etc).
- Attested copy of the passport.
- One passport size photograph.
- Latest Income Tax Returns of parents.
#3 The JN Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians
The JN Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians has been helping Indian students since 1892 with loan scholarships for higher studies. People consider it a matter of great pride to be called a ‘JN Tata Scholar’. There are now more than 5,004 JN Tata Scholars all over the world.