3 years ago
School List Suggestions

International Student University Scholarships

Hello! I am writing to ask about universities that offer scholarships for international students ( at least 50%), such as Denison University; my chances on CollegeVine are 60% in this one. I have a full GPA and ranked first on my class. I also have pretty good leadership and activities. However, I am applying test-optional. I would be thankful for top university suggestions that offer guaranteed scholarships for International students, and test-optional.

I tried to search on Niche & CollegeVine for top universities with Guaranteed Scholarships but couldn't find, so would anyone please tell me how to find universities with this specific criteria.



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2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

Hi @LeenAlshibi! Unfortunately, getting scholarships at U.S. universities as an international applicant is nearly always a tricky thing. The first thing I would mention is that there is a difference between need-based aid and merit-based aid. Need-based financial aid is what schools try to give students whose families cannot afford the full cost of attendance. It's a common misconception that international students never qualify for need-based aid. While there are only five schools in the country that meet 100% of demonstrated need on a need-blind basis for international students (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Amherst, MIT), there are still plenty of good schools that offer need-based aid to international on a need-aware basis. Wellesley College, Middelbury College, and Northwestern, for example, all meet 100% of demonstrated need to international students on a need-aware basis. Additionally, Bowdoin, Brandeis, Stanford, and many more programs offer some amount of need-based aid to international students on a need-aware basis.

Merit-based aid consists of the kind of traditional scholarships awarded to students who greatly surpass the academic standard generally needed for admission to a given school. Many schools do offer merit-based aid to international students. While some schools may give ranges (for example, Northeastern says it offers $10,000-$28,000/year merit-based scholarships to international students), others won't say at all (USC and BU just say that international students cannot obtain need-based aid, but that merit-based scholarships are possible for them).

Obtaining these types of scholarships is not a clear-cut thing. There's not specific line that one needs to exceed to qualify. Typically, having taken a challenging course load and achieving perfect or near-perfect grades, submitting a good SAT or ACT score (even at test optional schools), accomplishing impressive things in your extracurricular activities, and writing stellar essays will help. While the very most selective schools in the country don't offer merit-based scholarships to anyone domestic or international, relatively selective schools do offer them. Typically, more selective schools - where excellent grades and good standardized test scores are expected of everyone admitted - care more about extracurricular activities and essays when making merit-based aid decisions. Less selective schools tend to prioritize grades and test scores.

There are only very few schools that offer automatic scholarships to international students. We have compiled a list of many of them in a blog post, which you can read here:


We also have a blog post with averages of total aid international students receive at a large number of U.S. colleges. Please keep in mind that these are only averages (you might qualify for much more or much less should you apply), and that these averages combine need-based aid and merit-based aid amounts into one number. Also, remember that this list does not include every single college in the U.S. that offers aid to international students. It's just as many as we could find! You can view that here:


Best of luck!

3 years ago

I haven't really looked into assured scholarships for international students, but one thing I would suggest for getting stuff you need for college (like when you get to the university in the US) would be reaching out to churches in the area to see if they have programs for helping international students. I live in a college town, and I know several of the Baptist churches here collect furniture and stuff for international students. Not free money, but it is free stuff and would decrease one of the costs.

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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