international scholarships for us students
American students can apply for international scholarships that'll allow them to study abroad. Source: Menahem Kahana/AFP

Studying abroad has many benefits – better career prospects, building an international network and a lifetime’s worth of memories. For Americans, it’s also to avoid heavy debts. The average borrower owes US$$28,950 in student loan debt.

A semester or two abroad can lessen this figure. Some students even complete their entire degree outside of the US. Most times, these options end up being cheaper than a full stint in a public or private uni in the US.

It’s possible to save more money or even graduate debt-free with scholarships. If you’re an American looking to study abroad, check out these five international scholarships for US students: 

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

First on the list of international scholarships for US students is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship offered by the US Department of State. It works as a grant programme and is exclusively offered to US undergraduate students who have limited financial means to study abroad. This academic  year, close to 3,000 scholarships of up to US$5,000 will be awarded.

The catch is: you have to be a US citizen undergraduate student who is receiving or will receive the Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university. Read here to find out if you’re eligible to receive this scholarship. 

Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) 

international scholarships for us students

The Council of International Exchange of Scholars (CEIS) is offering over 800 Fulbright US Scholar Programmes for US citizens. Source: Brendan Smialowski /Pool/AFP

The Council of International Exchange of Scholars (CEIS) is offering Fulbright US Scholar Programmes for US citizens. With over 800 awards in more than 135 countries for awardees to teach, the programme sends students abroad to conduct research and carry out professional projects around the world. T

here are four main scholarships students can choose from: Fulbright Scholar Awards, Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Awards, Fulbright Postdoctoral Awards and Fulbright International Education Administrator Awards.

Do note that if you’re a graduate or doctoral student looking for funding to complete your degree, this scholarship is not for you. You are also required to have some years of working experience prior to applying. Recent college graduates with limited professional experience are ineligible and should instead apply to the Fulbright US Student Programme.

Full eligibility requirements can be found here

George Mitchell Scholarships

international scholarships for us students

The Mitchell Scholarship Programme sends American graduate students to universities in Ireland. Source: Paul Faith/AFP

An initiative of the US-Ireland Alliance, the Senator George J. Mitchell Scholarship Programme sponsores 12Mitchell Scholars to pursue one year of study in any discipline offered by higher learning institutions in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Some of these institutions include Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick and Queen’s University Belfast. 

This scholarship is awarded annually to those between the ages of 18 and 30 and is judged on academic excellence, a record of outstanding leadership and a sustained commitment to community and public service. The award covers costs of tuition, accommodation, a stipend for living expenses and travel.

Applications for 2023-24 are closed but do keep a lookout for 2024-25.

Marshall Scholarship

Offered in both one-year and two-year tenures, the Marshall Scholarship awards up to 50 scholarships annually. Similar to the George Mitchell Scholarship, the Marshall Scholarship was introduced as a way to strengthen ties between the UK and US by financing Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the UK.

The scholarship covers university fees, cost of living expenses, annual book grant, thesis grant, research and daily travel grants, fares to and from the US and a contribution towards the support of a dependent spouse (where applicable). 

Do note that not all degree programmes are applicable for this award. Read here to learn more. Wondering if you’re eligible for the award? Check here

Rhodes Scholarship

Compared to the international scholarships for US students mentioned above, the Rhodes Scholarship is the most celebrated of them all. Every year, 32 students are selected as Rhodes Scholars. 

The scholarship provides full financial support to awardees to pursue a postgraduate degree at the prestigious University of Oxford in the UK. It covers the course fees and provides an annual stiped — for 2021-22 academic year, the stipend is 17,310 pounds per annum (1,442.50 pounds per month) to pay for all living expenses, including accommodation. Read more about the scholarship here

Are international scholarships really only meant for geniuses? Debunk this and more here.