3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Which US Universities offer 100% scholarship for undergradute students from India?


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Accepted Answer
3 years ago[edited]

If you are asking how many colleges offer merit-based scholarships then that would be a hardly any. If you are asking which schools have the best financial aid based on your family's ability to pay and their assets, then there is a small list. In the US, the rule of thumb is if you can get accepted into the very best colleges based on your application, and you happen to be low-income, then you will get a very good financial aid package. The very best financial aid packages would most likely include tuition, room, and board. However you would still be financially responsible for other fees, health insurance, activity fees, travel back and forth, your own technology costs like laptops and phones, and books and supplies. So the very best packages I have ever seen look something like this. Total Costs $82,000, University Grants ($75,000), Work-Study Job ($3000), Expected Summer Jobs ($2000), and student/family contribution $2000. So if you are an international student and get a full ride, you still have to come up with $5000-$10000. You also have to pay for your admin cost to the US State Department to get your Student VISA etc and that might also cost $600 or more.

So my advice is to do your research and see where you personally stand with be a competitive applicant at these following schools because they offer the best financial aid in no particular order.

Columbia University

Skidmore College

Duke University




Trinity College



Wellesley (womens College)










University of Richmond

Berea College (KY)

It's a bit tricky for many other colleges because although they offer financial aid to international students it makes covers only 20% or 40% of your total annual costs so you would have to make up the difference prior to matriculating.

You DO NOT want to waste a lot of time, money, and effort applying to a lot of schools only to find out that you can not afford to attend even if they give you full tuition because that typically is only 2/3rd of the costs. Therefore it is very important for an international student to put a list together of saying the top 10 or top 20 schools they feel they can get accepted to that have a proven track record of given high financial aid to Int'l students.

Each and every college has its own financial aid office with its own rules. So that's over 4300 separate and individual FinAid offices. I will not go much into detail on how they determine your need but suffice it to say all college applicants have to fill out various forms called the FAFSA and CSS profile concurrently with their college applications so your Common App or Coalition App goes to the Admissions office at the college you are applying to and your FAFSA and CSS Profile go to the FinAid Office. If the school is need-blind, they will decide on accepting you are not, without weighing in on your ability to pay. Once you are admitted, (internally), the FINAID side puts together a financial aid package that goes along with your admittance.

Some colleges are super-efficient and when you open your acceptance letter, they have a link to the Financial Aid office which had already determined your financial award. Then you know immediately if you can afford to attend. Other schools, take an extra week (s) to put the financial package together, so you might get bad news even though you were accepted into the school. Even if you get say $10,000 or $20,000 less than you need to attend the school, if you have been accepted by multiple schools, it's often in your best interest to have firms like CV find negotiate your financial aid package to see if they can improve their offer. You have much less leverage if you only get accepted into 1 school. But if you get into 3 schools and 2 of them have great offer letters and the 1 you really want to go do doesn't, then it's a typical strategy to lever the other 2 offers against the 1 and hope for the best.

The last thing I will give advice on for Int'l students is to be humble and not think they deserve to get into all these colleges. Each admission cycle is more and more competitive and often it's even harder for Int'l students because they have different coursework, different grades, different ECs, different values, and cultures, etc. So you might be a 99% percentile candidate in your country but now you are competing on the global stage with many many students who have had 13 years of excellent private education. I would not waste too much time with focusing too much on reach or hard reach schools but try to apply to as many Targets and Hard Targets as possible so you have somewhere to land and attend. If you had your heart set on MIT or Harvard or Stanford, but you know that the failure rate is 96-97% then it is much better to focus on colleges where you have at least a 20% chance of getting in. (there's no harm in still applying to those but just roll with the punches if you don't get in).

Good Luck.

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