Blog 🍎 School 11th March 2024

An Introduction to the Scholarship Options Available for International School Students

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Rebecca Hambery Schools Content Writer

Here at BridgeU, we’ve been supporting international school students in finding their best-fit university overseas for a decade. Our platform is designed to help nurture students throughout their entire higher education journey.

But something we know comes up for many international school students during university applications is the question of affordability.

There are numerous financial aid packages and scholarships to help students bear the cost of studying for an undergraduate degree overseas. So today, we’re looking at how financial aid and scholarships work in BridgeU’s most applied to countries and how school counsellors around the world can support their students with applications.

Common types of scholarships

Although different institutions and countries don’t offer the exact same scholarships, there are some common scholarships that your students can keep an eye out for.

Here’s a list to provide a quick overview of the types of scholarships we’ll be discussing today. Keep in mind that each type will have slight differences depending on the country your students are applying to, which we’ll cover in more detail later on.

Merit scholarships

Merit scholarships provide students with financial assistance based on achievement. For example, Miami University offers merit scholarships that provide students with up to $15k a year of financial assistance based on their GPA.

These scholarships aren’t just for academic achievement, either. They can also focus on personal achievements and are worth considering for students involved in any extracurricular activities that represent the following: 

  • Academics
  • Sports
  • Arts
  • Community service
  • Leadership

Regional and country-specific scholarships

Regional scholarships are great for international school students applying to universities abroad, as these are handed out based on the country or region you’re applying from. These are usually provided by the university, government departments or charities, and require students to meet the entry requirements and submit a full application.

For example, the University of Dundee in Scotland offers regional scholarships for international students, such as their Regional Vice Chancellor’s Scholarships, which are open to students from all over the world.

Athletic or sports scholarships

Sports scholarships are awarded to students based on their athletic ability and potential. As not all universities will accommodate every sport, it’s best to check in with the universities on your students’ shortlist to see what scholarships they offer. 

It’s important to consider that your students don’t need to be studying in sports courses or programmes to receive these scholarships. They’ll just need to participate on the university’s team or perform at a regional, national or even international level. 

A great example of sports scholarships available to international students can be found at Swansea University in Wales. They offer scholarships for a variety of sports, such as rugby, swimming, and football, and provide holistic support for athletes through their nutritionists, physiotherapists, sports psychologists and more.

Subject-specific scholarships

Subject-specific scholarships are awarded to students based on the subject they are studying at the university. These scholarships are usually provided to support students who have excellent grades or high potential.

Newcastle University offers international students scholarships for a wide range of courses, such as dentistry, engineering, and music. You can find out more here!


The United States is one of the most popular destinations for international students. Although it can be one of the more expensive options, we’re here to help provide all of the information you need to help make this pathway more affordable for your students.

There aren’t as many financial aid opportunities in the United States for international students as there are for domestic students. This means that when US universities do offer financial aid for international students, it is often much more competitive.

Miami University

Types of US scholarships

The most common types of scholarships for international students in the United States include:

  • Merit-based 
  • Need-based 
  • Talent-based (i.e. sports, arts, etc.)
  • Regional and country-specific 

To recap the two types of scholarships not mentioned above, need-based scholarships are granted by some institutions upon assessment of a student and their family’s financial resources. Students will need to demonstrate their financial need when applying by completing a CSS profile, the ISFAA or submitting documentation required by the university they’re applying to.

Sports scholarships are governed by several organisations, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). 

The NCAA’s website has a number of resources for international students who want to learn more about opportunities for aspiring athletes. An important thing to note as an international school counsellor is that the athletic recruitment process in the US is long and highly competitive. 


A great starting point for your students interested in athletic scholarships is to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center early in their secondary career. Then they can submit their athletic interest forms to the various universities they’re considering to alert the university’s coaching staff of their interest and experience.

How to find scholarships in the USA

There are several organisations that can help students get started with their search for scholarships. Below are just a few examples: 


This organisation is supported by the US State Department. Their website has a really useful database of international scholarships and financial aid opportunities.

The College Board

The College Board’s Big Future website has a really handy scholarship database with in-depth filters to help students structure their research.

University and college websites

Don’t forget that many US universities and colleges will have a section on their websites outlining any financial aid for international students they may offer.

The UK

In this section, we’ll cover the pathways to financial support available for your students who want to study in the UK. Luckily, student finance in the UK is a bit easier to understand than in the US.

Newcastle University

Types of UK scholarships

In the United Kingdom, international students have access to various types of university scholarships to support their studies. The two main types of scholarships to focus on are: 

  • Merit-based
  • Region-specific for EU students

Many universities will offer merit scholarships, so it’s worth students checking the websites of their shortlisted UK universities to see what they qualify for. 

With students from the EU no longer eligible for UK student loans, they’ll need to fund their studies using different methods. Luckily, a lot of universities in the UK are working to accommodate this with scholarships specifically for students coming over from the EU.

For example, Newcastle University offers a Vice Chancellor’s EU Scholarship to support students from the EU studying for an undergraduate degree at their school.


Keep in mind that a number of different organisations, including the UK government, will award scholarships and financial assistance to students, so don’t limit your students to only researching on university websites. We’ll cover this more in the next section!

How to find UK university scholarships

Many individual universities will offer scholarships for international students. It’s worth students researching their preferred UK university, as many will have information about scholarships and financial aid on their website. Here are a few examples:

Visit university websites 

The best place to start for your students is the official website of the universities they’re interested in. Students can explore these sections to find information about the scholarships available to them.

Check government websites 

Your students may find scholarship opportunities by checking the British Council website for possible funding options. They can also check whether the UK government or any organisations offer sponsorships for students who are studying abroad in the UK.

Contact university admissions offices

Students can reach out directly to admissions offices or international student services departments of universities for information about scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options. Encourage your students to ask specific questions regarding eligibility criteria, application procedures, and deadlines.


Tuition fees at universities in Canada will vary depending on the institution and the course, ranging from $1,500 to $20,000. As a general rule, humanities courses tend to be less expensive than courses in medicine, engineering or dentistry.

Western University

Types of Canadian scholarships

There are various types of scholarships available for international students interested in studying in Canada. Here are some scholarships we suggest your students keep in mind during application season:

  • Needs-based 
  • Merit-based 
  • Regional 
  • Government funded 
  • Privately funded

In Canada, both government-funded and privately-funded university scholarships are available to international students. These scholarships aim to attract talented students from around the world and support them in pursuing higher education at Canadian universities. 

For example, Western University offers a range of scholarships for international students studying abroad in Canada. You can read more on their website!


Almost every university in Canada will offer some kind of financial aid for students. A useful exercise for both counsellors and students is to take a look at university financial aid options when students begin researching and shortlisting universities

How to find Canadian university scholarships

As well as checking their chosen universities’ websites, students can try the following websites to find Canadian scholarship opportunities:

Scholarship database websites

  • EduCanada scholarship database: EduCanada is a comprehensive online resource provided by the Government of Canada that can help international students explore scholarship opportunities.
  • Universities Canada scholarship search: The Universities Canada scholarship search tool allows students to explore opportunities offered by universities and filter based on criteria such as academic merit, financial need, and field of study.
  • The Scholarships Canada website: This is a scholarship database that allows students to create a personalised profile to receive tailored recommendations for scholarship opportunities in Canada. 

Visit university websites 

The official websites of Canadian universities your students are interested in will have scholarships available specifically for international students. They can read through the “Financial Aid” or “Scholarships” sections of each website to find more information about available scholarships.

Network and Seek Advice

Don’t forget that your students can reach out to current or former international students studying in Canada, as well as academic advisors, professors, and mentors, for advice. They may be able to provide insights, tips, and recommendations on scholarship opportunities and the application process.

About BridgeU

BridgeU is the all-in-one university and careers guidance platform made for international schools. 

Founded in 2014, BridgeU is the market leader in university and careers guidance for global secondary schools. We partner with schools in over 140 countries and match students with over 26,000 universities. 

We’re dedicated to helping international school counsellors manage their careers guidance programmes and simplify the university application process. 

Plus, our Customer Success team works hard to connect international school counsellors and students to universities around the world.

Learn more about how we help St. Andrews International High School collaborate with universities to create bespoke workshops for their students in our case study.

BridgeU provides global schools with a free, comprehensive end-to-end solution for schools, advisors and students. To learn more about how you can use BridgeU in your school, book a free demo of the platform.

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