Indian Students Scholarships in USA: Eligibility, Benefits, and Deadlines

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    The cost of living for international students studying in the US has seen a rise of 14% from previous years. Irrespective of this increase, there has been a rise of 5.4% in the number of Indian students studying in the US. For cost-effective education, a wide range of funding options is available to Indian students applying for HEI (higher education institutions) in the US.

    The funding options available to Indian students in USA  include Scholarships, Fellowships, and Loans. Scholarships are awards of financial aids that are preferred over other funding options. This is because fellowships are only available to PG students and loans are to be paid off.

    Open to meritorious students, the scholarships may be fully or partially paying. This depends upon the level of study, course, and the institution chosen by an applicant. Scholarships to study abroad can be broadly categorized into five categories. These are as follows:

    1. Government-funded scholarship
    2. Program-specific scholarship
    3. Subject-specific scholarships
    4. Organization Provided

    Scholarships for Indian Students after 12th

    The scholarships available for Indian students who wish to pursue undergraduate courses after completion of 12th grade are listed below:

    Tata Scholarship for Cornell University

    The Tata Education and Development Trust established a 25 million USD endowment with Cornell University to fund meritorious Indian students pursuing undergraduate studies. It supports around 20 scholars each year by offering the Tata-Cornell Scholarship.

    Application Window: Applications open around October & November. Awards are offered by December.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Must be an Indian resident and should have completed secondary school in India
    • Must have been accepted in one of the Cornell University’s UG Program.
    • Should be eligible for a need-based scholarship.

    Benefits: It is awarded annually until the student graduates. The only exception that is made is for the architecture major students, for funding is available for 8 semesters.

    Preference for scholarships is given to students enrolled in the college of architecture, arts & planning, and college of engineering. Students enrolled in applied economics & management, biological sciences, and physical sciences major are also given preference.

    Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarships

    The largest privately funded international scholarship program, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships sponsors several types of scholarships for UG and PG students. The three types of scholarships are as follows:

    1. Academic Year Ambassadorial Scholarship: Awards of 25,000 USD
    2. Multi-Year Ambassadorial Scholarship: Awards of 12,000 USD
    3. Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarship: Awards of 12,000 to 19,000 USD.


    • Citizen of a country in which rotary clubs are present.
    • Completed two years of college-level course-work or its equivalent.
    • Initial application must be made through rotary cubs.

    Note: The scholarship is not suitable for students who wish to continue their education in a foreign country where Rotary clubs are present.

    The program encourages people with a disability to apply for the scholarship.

    Other Scholarship available to Undergraduate Applicants

    Scholarship Award Offered Number of Scholars Chosen
    SelfScore International Student Scholarship 5000 USD 6
    Chevron Scholarship 2000 USD
    Western Union Foundations Global Scholarship Program 2500 USD 100
    Global Students Scholarship 1000 USD 1
    Asian Women in Business 25000 USD -
    Ivy Parker Memorial Scholarship 2000 USD -
    RD Sethna Loan Scholarship 10,000 INR  -

    Scholarships for Postgraduate Indian Students in the US

    As the tuition for postgraduate programs is high, given below are the scholarships for students who wish to pursue master’s, M.Phil, or doctorate degrees in the US.

    Fulbright Scholarships for Indians

    With its operation in more than 155 countries, the Fulbright Scholarships Program supports cultural and academic exchange among foreign participants and the US. USIEF awards around 7 types of scholarships to Indian students studying in the fields of business, sciences, public service, and arts. The list of awards for Indian nationals are as follows:

    1. Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships
    2. Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program
    3. Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program
    4. Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship
    5. Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program
    6. Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program for International Teachers
    7. Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program


    • Indian Resident
    • Outstanding academic or professional history
    • English language proficiency
    • Availability at USIEF office, Delhi for interview.
    • Applicants for Fulbright are not allowed to apply for the green card.


    • J1 visa support
    • Round trip cover
    • Monthly stipend
    • Tuition and cost of attendance cover.

    Note: of all the seven scholarships available to Indian students, each has its own benefit to offers.

    Inlaks Scholarship

    Academically high achieving Indian graduate (masters & doctoral) applicants with exceptional talent are offered a full-expense cover, Inlaks Scholarship, by the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation. 


    • Online Application Portal- Opens January 15.
    • Closes by April 15.
    • Document Upload- Completed by March 31, 12 noon.
    • Letters of reference are mandatory.


    • Indian citizen and resident at the time of application
    • Good 1st degree from a recognized Indian University/College
    • Age limit- 30 years.


    An award of a maximum of 100,000 USD is offered covering full tuition fees, one-way travel allowance, living expenses, and a health allowance.

    Note: If the total funding required increases the maximum limit of the award, candidates are required to submit proof of ability to cover the additional expense.

    Candidates must note that the scholarships are not offered in the following subjects:

    1. Engineering
    2. Business Studies
    3. Medicine
    4. Computer Science
    5. Public Health
    6. Film and Film Animation
    7. Fashion Design

    National Overseas Scholarship

    Organized with the support of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, National Overseas Scholarship is available exclusively to SC/ST candidates. It is a central sector scheme assisting students applying for masters and Ph.D. courses abroad.


    • Students must enroll in the following fields of study-
      • Engineering & management, pure & applied sciences, agricultural sciences & medicine, commerce, accounting & finance, and social science & humanities.
    • Age limit- 35 years
    • Minimum qualification- 55% in bachelor’s or master’s degree for masters or Ph.D. applicants, respectively.
    • Family income should not be more than 6,00,000 INR.

    Benefit: An award of 15,400 USD is offered as an annual maintenance allowance.

    Duration of Financial Assistance: 3 years for Masters and 4 years for a PhD.

    SN Bose Scholarship

    The partnership of the Science & Engineering Board, the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum, Department of Science & Technology (GOI), and WINStep Forward has developed an exchange program among the premier US and Indian Institutes.


    • Indian Citizen pursuing undergraduate or graduate degree programs.
    • Field of study- Atmospheric & earth sciences, mathematical & computational sciences, chemical sciences, physical sciences, and engineering sciences.

    Benefits: Airfare, health insurance, and stipend are covered under the scholarship offered to exchange students.

    KC Mahindra Scholarship

    Established in 1956 the KC Mahindra Trust offers loans (interest-free) to meritorious students for postgraduate studies.


    • Must hold a first-class degree or equivalent diploma from a standard recognized institution
    • Should be accepted by a reputed foreign institution for courses commencing from August 2019 or by February 2020.


    • Three top scholars are offered INR 8 Lakhs each
    • Remaining successful scholars are offered INR 4 Lakhs each

    Narotam Sekhsaria Scholarship

    Narotam Sekhsaria higher education scholarship program offers to fund to international students looking for master's courses study abroad.


    • Age limit- 30 years old
    • Applying for the fall intake of a prestigious institution
    • Field of study- Applied sciences, social sciences, pure sciences, architecture, humanities, law, or management.

    Benefits: INR 20,000 Lakhs are offered to the selected students.

    Scholarships for MBA in USA for Indian Students 

    With the expansion of the business industry opportunities, there has been a rise in the number of Indian students studying MBA in the US. The cost of the MBA program in the US can range from 60,000 USD to 100,000 USD. A higher cost of tuition leads to students opting for monetary aids. There are several scholarships and fellowships available to Indian students enrolled for MBA programs. Some of these are discussed below:

    Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship

    Through Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship program, the Dhirubhai Industries support Indian Students pursuing an MBA at Stanford University by funding 80% of the cost of tuition and associated fees.


    • Eligible for Stanford University MBA program
    • Commit towards a developing India by returning to work and live in India after completion of the degree.
    • Financial need and academic excellence

    Documents Required:

    • Education history: 10th and 12th board exam scores and transcripts
    • GMAT/GRE Scores
    • ELP test scores for students from universities/colleges with an official language other than English.
    • Honors and awards received
    • Employment history
    • Individual financial information
    • 250 words essay
    • CV/Resume

    Benefits: The fellowship for 2021 fellows will cover 80% of the tuition and associated costs.

    Chicago Booth Scholarships for Indian Students

    Some of the scholarships offered at Chicago Booth School of Business are specifically available to Indian Students. There are three such scholarships- Ramakrishnan Family Scholarship, Akhtarali H. Tobaccowala Fellowship, and Indian Trust Fellowship.

    • Ramakrishnan Family Scholarship: The annual 3 million USD gift from the Ramakrishnan family trust supports the Indian Students enrolled in Full-time MBA programs. The fund supports three Indian students and offers an award of 25,000 USD per year.
    • Akhtarali H. Tobaccowala FellowshipStarted by an alumnus of the school, Rishad Tobaccowala, a donation of 1 million USD is made to the school for funding the study of Indian Students.
    • India Trust Fellowship: Available to Indian students who have worked and studied in India at the time of admission at the Chicago Booth MBA program (FT). Two awards of 10,000 USD each are offered the tuition fees of the program.

    Other Scholarships Available to Postgraduate Applicants

    Scholarship Award Offered
    SelfScore International Student Scholarship 5000 USD each, 6 awards 
    Chevron Scholarship 2000 USD each, two awards 
    JN Tata Endowment Fund (loan) 10 Lakhs at 2% interest rate
    Global Students Scholarship USD 10,000
    Charles Legeyt Fortescue Fellowship 24,000 USD
    AAUW International Fellowship 18,000 USD- Master’s Level 20,000 USD- Doctoral Level 24,000 USD- Postdoctoral Level
    Ivy Parker Memorial Scholarship 2000 USD
    RD Sethna Loan Scholarship INR 10,000

    Around 819,644 international students study in the US. Around 400,000 students from the total international applicants are from India. A large number of students studying in the US are offered a scholarship. India ranks #2 for the number of students who apply for admission to the US and scholarships.

    With a wide range of scholarship options available for Indian applicants, the financial burden of choosing to pursue higher education in the US is reduced. It is, however, suggested that students should invest time in researching a best-fit scholarship according to their needs and academic achievements.

    FAQs for Applying for Scholarships in the USA.

    Ques. Common documents requested for scholarship application?

    Ans. Candidates are required to submit a copy of passport/ID, transcripts, SOP, LOR (2 or 3), CV, essay, Standardized test scores, parents financial information along with the tax returns, medical information, portfolios.

    Ques. Can Indian students receive a full scholarship to study in the US?

    Ans. With a large number of scholarships offered to Indian applicants, there are a few that help in covering the complete cost of living. Some of these are- Inlaks Scholarship, Tata Scholarship, and others.

    Ques. Which universities offer the most number of scholarships to international students?

    Ans. Universities offering multiple scholarships are Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, MIT, etc.

    Ques. What to include in the scholarship essay?

    Ans. Candidates must include leadership experience, degree of accomplishment, obstacles faced and overcome, learnings from the obstacles and how they shaped the applicant as a leader, including work done or planned to impact the community in their scholarship essay.