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Funding and scholarships for study abroad

Deciding to study abroad is to plan for your future. Finding extra help with your funding can make studying abroad much more affordable. There are opportunities in countries around the world for prospective students to find financial help in the form of scholarships and bursaries, which can cover anything from your tuition fees to accommodation and travel expenses.

Scholarships, bursaries and discounts

Scholarships tend to be awarded to students on the basis of academic excellence. They do not need to be repaid and can cover a variety of your study abroad expenses.

Bursaries tend to be awarded to students who qualify by specific circumstances, such as the student’s background. Bursaries also do not need to be repaid.

Some universities also offer discounts on tuition fees for students who meet certain criteria.

Where to look for Scholarships

University scholarships

The first place to look for a university scholarship is the university that you are applying to. The university will list any scholarships that it has to offer prospective international students, along with the qualifying criteria of the scholarship, on its website.

A few examples from around the world include:

Government funded scholarships

You may find through researching your chosen university for scholarship opportunities that there are often government funded scholarship opportunities available. We have listed some of these below for popular studying abroad destinations.


Eiffel Scholarship Program

Open to students up to 25 years of age from developing countries at Masters level, and students up to 30 years of age from developing and industrialized countries at PhD level. Applications for this scholarship program must be made through your university.


GREAT Scholarships

GREAT scholarships are open to students from a list of 15 countries (Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ghana, Greece, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam). The scholarship scheme offers students £10,000 towards their tuition fees for a range of taught postgraduate programmes. For your specific nation, the British Council website has a list of the participating universities.

Chevening Scholarships

Chevening Scholarships are awarded to postgraduate students who can demonstrate strong leadership potential and academic excellence. Chevening scholarships are fully-funded scholarships, covering tuition fees, living expenses and travel fees. The selection process for Chevening Scholarships is highly competitive and rigorous. Applications can be made on the Chevening scholarship website.

Commonwealth Scholarships

Commonwealth Scholarships are awarded to students from Commonwealth countries who would not be able to afford to live and study in the UK without the award of a scholarship. More information about the Commonwealth Scholarships can be found on the CSC website.


The NL Scholarship

The NL Scholarship is open to students from outside the EEA, who wish to study either bachelors or masters degrees in the Netherlands. The scholarship of €5,000 is awarded to the student in their first year of study. The list of participating universities and how to apply can be found on the study in NL website.


Master Mind Scholarships

The Master Mind Scholarship is a grant of €10,000, along with a waiver of tuition fees for an academic year, for outstanding students from around the world. Learn more and find out how to apply on the Study in Flanders website.

VLIR-UOS scholarships

VLIR-UOS offers scholarship opportunities for students from selected countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to attend ICP Connect study programmes. Find more on the VLIR-UOS website.


DAAD scholarships

DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service, offers multiple scholarship options for international students wishing to visit and study in Germany. Browse the scholarship database for more information.


Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships are aimed at students who have completed a master’s or research degree. There are also scholarships offered to students who wish to pursue a Masters degree in art in Switzerland.


The Italian government offers grants for foreign citizens who wish to study in Italy. More information can be found on the Study in Italy government website.


SI Scholarship for Global Professionals

The Swedish Institute (SI), a public agency, offers academic scholarships to masters students from a list of 41 countries around the world. The list of countries and qualifying criteria can be found on the SI scholarship website.


Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship

The Japanese Government offers seven types of scholarship programs ((Monbukagakusho), many of which are available for foreign students. More information about these scholarships can be found on the Study in Japan website.


Australia Awards Scholarships

Australia Awards Scholarships are awarded by the Australian government to students from developing nations who wish to study in Australia at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Australian Awards Scholarships cover full tuition fees, airtravel, living allowances and more. For information about how to apply and for a full list of benefits, please visit the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

New Zealand

The New Zealand Government offers several Manaaki scholarships for international students from developing countries to study in New Zealand. This includes scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate study. You can view the list of scholarships available and the list of eligible countries on the New Zealand Scholarships website.


The US Government offers scholarships in the form of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, which offers funding to graduate students, artists and young professionals who wish to carry out research in the United States. The Fulbright Foreign Student Program is administered by US embassies and Fulbright Foundations in over 160 countries. The list of countries and further information can be found on the Fulbright Foreign Student Program website.

University discounts

Aside from funding opportunities, another way of saving money when studying abroad is looking for discounts offered by your university. These may be dependent on your background, or they also might be available if you meet certain criteria.

For example, lots of universities offer discounts from their tuition fees to their alumni if they go on to study at postgraduate level.

Many universities offer students a discount on their tuition fees for prompt payment. The University of Derby in the UK offers international students a £500 discount from their tuition fees if students are able to pay their tuition fees in full by the time of enrolment. Newcastle University in the UK offers their students a 2% tuition fee discount for paying tuition fees upfront, whilst the University of Strathclyde offers their students a 3% discount on tuition fees for upfront payment.

Some Universities offer tuition fee discounts to students based on their economic or geographic background. For example, Ca’ Foscari University offers students a means tested discount based upon their income.

When to start looking for financial aid

We recommend that if you intend to look for financial assistance for your studies, to start your search as soon as you decide on what course you wish to apply for. At this point you can ask your university if they offer any scholarship opportunities, and you can also look into any funding opportunities offered by the country of the university you are planning to attend. Starting your search early gives you the maximum opportunity to explore all options before you commence your studies.