We all know that studying abroad is a rewarding experience, but it can be expensive. There are many scholarships and grants offered by governments, private and public universities, educational institutions to help you support financially with your studies. From tuition fees to health insurance, several factors add on to your expenses while studying abroad.
With the rising cost of living and studying, most of the universities are finding ways to support students financially. Let’s discuss some of the most common ways of graduate funding:
1. Scholarships, Grants and Financial Aid
There are many scholarships provided by governments and educational institutions to aid you financially. The different types of scholarships include:
- Fellowships or Merit-based scholarships
- Academic scholarships
- Grants or Need-based scholarships
- University scholarships
- Government-funded scholarships
- Program-based scholarships
- Athletic scholarships
- Specific scholarships based on your ethnic background or community.
Grants can be acquired from various sources, and one of the most significant advantages is that you do not have to repay the amount except under certain circumstances. The most popular out of all the grants is the Federal Pell grant. The pell is usually offered to undergraduate students from low-income families who have not completed their bachelor’s degree. However, the amount you get depends on your financial need, cost of attendance and your status as a student.
Here are some of the graduate funding options you have in some of the major countries:
Endeavor scholarships and Fellowships
Merit-based scholarships like Adelaide Graduate Research Scholarships and International Postgraduate Research Scholarships.
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development Canada also offer scholarships for international students.
Canada’s research councils such as NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC, and CIFAR offer competitive graduate scholarships.
British Chevening Scholarships
Commonwealth shared scholarship scheme
Fulbright Foreign Student Program
Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program
Rotary Peace Fellowships
Emile Boutmy Scholarships
Foundation Rainbow Bridge MBA Scholarships
2. Educational loans
Educational loan is the next best option after scholarships if you are planning to pursue your degree from another country. Most of the educational loans offer a flexible period which gives the students enough to room to repay the loan after graduation. Direct PLUS loans can be used by students to help pay for their education. These loans have a fixed interest rate and are not subsidized which can be beneficial to the student.
Stafford loans are most beneficial for students enrolled in accredited American institutions of higher studies. These loans are available both as subsidized and unsubsidized loans. The subsidized loans are offered to students who are in financial need where the federal government pays the interest. For unsubsidized Stafford loans, the students are responsible for all the interest on the loans.
3. Home and host country governments
The department of education in your home country is the first place to check for funding opportunities since international students may not be eligible for government funding schemes in the host country. The government-funded aid includes sponsorships, loans, grants, and bursaries, each with distinct rules depending upon the eligibility, deadlines, application procedures and amount of funding rewarded.
4. Part-time jobs/ Internships
Each country has its own rules if you intend to do part-time jobs to support your finances. Part-time jobs not only give you hands-on experience of the industry but also helps you support your expenses. Most of the universities offer many opportunities for part-time work or else you always have the option to consider freelance work as a tutor to improve your skills.
5. Universities and Educational Institutions
International students can get aid from most of the universities and educational institutions in the form of fellowships, scholarships, bursaries, grants or awards. You have to make sure that you fit the requirements and apply online by highlighting your strengths and skills.
Crowdfunding has become very common in education as many universities have started to incorporate their crowdfunding platforms on their websites. These platforms help students to fund their projects while some colleges even use these platforms to crowdfund scholarships. Just like the million other advantages of social media, crowdfunding is something that will surely help you pursue your dream of studying abroad.
7. Campus-based aid programs
Another way to support your finances while studying abroad is by getting into campus-based aid programs. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS) and Federal Perkins Loan programs fall under the category of campus-based aid programs.
The Pell grant recipients who demonstrate a severe financial need can seek help from FSEOG. The amount you receive depends on your financial need, when you apply, and funding available in your university. Undergraduate and graduates in the Federal Work-study program receive a set of money and work part-time jobs to pay for their school expenses. Under FWS you have the opportunity to work hourly jobs either for your school or for community service position.
The Federal Perkins Loans are attractive because of their low-interest rate and are designated solely to help students in extreme financial need.
8. Military Service
The federal government and some of the non-profit organizations offer money to college veterans, future military personnel, active duty personnel or those related to veterans. While most of these scholarships and grants are reserved for students pursuing subjects within military life, some are more general and awarded based on merit.
9. Community service
You can always get aid from community service scholarships if you are willing to volunteer in your community. Community service helps you to distinguish you from the competition by showing your commitment to making the world a better place.
10. Peer to peer lending
Peer to peer lending is the service which connects lenders and borrowers through online services. These loans can be an alternative to the traditional forms of educational financing and credit cards for students. There are mainly two types of P2P loans:
- Friends and family loans
- Stranger to stranger loans
11. Portfolio funding
Portfolio funding is another way to fund your overseas education where you secure small amounts of money from different sources. You can apply for all the types of financing available where you can start a fundraising pack and a letter asking for help in funding your degree.
12. Teaching and research assistantships
Some universities provide you financial support in exchange for your help with teaching or research which are called assistantships. There are two types of assistantships:
- Teaching Assistantships
These assistantships are offered to first-year graduate students during which they can earn their monthly stipend by teaching a class, lab, or assisting a faculty member.
- Research Assistantships
In these assistantships, you can earn your monthly stipend or tuition by helping a faculty member with their research for 10-20 hours a week which includes collecting, analyzing and reporting data.
13. National Research Council
National Research Councils provide partial or full fee coverage with a stipend for students who are looking for funding for their research. A graduate degree or a relevant work experience is the eligibility criteria for the grants.
14. Employer Contribution
Most of the companies will sponsor all or part of an employee’s graduate schooling through tuition reimbursement. If you prove your ability to the employer and work for some time, you can easily persuade your employer to fund your postgraduate education.
15. Professional Associations
Besides the government associations, there are plenty of professional associations who provide funding for your education. Every country has several associations for all kind of courses and requirements which can help you fund your training based on your needs.