American scholarship
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai was once an American scholarship recipient. Source: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

From Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai to K-drama leading actress Han Ye Seul, Oscar-winning director Ang Lee to Princess Iman of Jordan, these VIPs are the products of American universities.

Chennai-born Pichai earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Han graduated from Cerritos College with an associate degree in Computer Graphics. After his mandatory military service in the Republic of China Navy (ROCN), Lee went to study theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and completed an MFA at the Tisch School of the Arts of New York University. Princess Iman, eldest daughter of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, is currently attending Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

You don’t have to be royalty to afford to study in a US university. Fees aren’t the cheapest, but with these American scholarship programmes, plus some motivation, talent and smarts on your part, you too can experience all the world’s superpower higher education system has to offer.

Princess Iman (L) is currently studying at Georgetown University, an institution popular among royals.  KHALIL MAZRAAWI / AFP)

Here are the top American scholarship programmes open to international applicants:

Siebel Scholars

Over the last 19 years, the Siebel Scholars programme has funded US$45 million in grants to top universities including Johns Hopkins, Wharton, Berkeley, Stanford, and many more. The programme, founded in 2000, picks the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, bioengineering, and energy science.

Each year, more than 90 exceptional students — who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership potential — are awarded a US$35,000 award toward their final year of graduate studies (Pichai was one of them).

Peace Fellowships

The Rotary Peace Centres programme offers academic training, practice, and global networking opportunities. The goal is to develop the capacity of peace and development professionals or practitioners to become experienced and effective catalysts for peace. As a fellow, your tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses will be covered. Up to 130 recipients are selected from around the world each year to pursue a professional development certificate programme or master’s degree in the US, Japan, UK, Australia, Sweden, Thailand and Uganda.

Fairleigh Dickinson University

A range of merit scholarships is open to international undergraduate students at this private university, with campuses in the state of New Jersey and across the border in Vancouver, Canada. One of them is the  FDU International Scholarship — part of the International Undergraduate Freshmen Scholarships — worth up to US$24,000 per year. It is renewable for up to four years. SAT/ACT is not required.

College students eat dinner at the Longstreet Theatre at the University of South Carolina on Aug. 10, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina. Students began moving back to campus housing last August. Source: Sean Rayford/Getty Images/AFP

Fulbright Foreign Student Programme

Graduate students, young professionals and artists can apply for this American scholarship administered by binational Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or US embassies. Each year, approximately 4,000 foreign students are selected. As eligibility and selection procedures vary widely by country, you’ll have to head to the specific page on the Fulbright website for more details.

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Programme

Humphrey Fellows — mid-career professionals in many fields selected by their potential for leadership and commitment to public service —  take part in 10 months of non-degree academic study and related professional experiences in the US. Approximately 150 fellows receive this American scholarship every year. They are hosted by 13 major US universities, chosen for their excellence in the programme’s designated fields of study — such as Finance and Banking; Sustainable Lands; Thriving Communities — and for the resources and support they offer Humphrey Fellows.