Scholarship has always been a beacon of hope for students around the world, especially for those who aspire to pursue higher education in international universities but are constrained by financial limitations. Need-based scholarships, in particular, are designed to provide monetary assistance to students who demonstrate substantial financial need. This article will delve into the why, how, as well as what of need-based scholarship for international undergraduate students.

Why Need-Based Scholarship?

Education is a fundamental right, and financial constraints should not stand as a barrier to it. International students often face hefty tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs when studying abroad. Need-based scholarship is crucial as they alleviate these financial burdens, enabling deserving students to pursue their dreams of obtaining a quality education. These scholarships also enhance diversity in the classroom, ensuring that students from various socio-economic backgrounds have the opportunity to contribute their unique perspectives. Moreover, they encourage global interconnectivity and cultural understanding, furthering the mission of many universities to foster a global community.

How Do Need-Based Scholarships Work?

Need-based scholarships are granted based on the financial needs of the student, rather than their academic or extracurricular achievements. To apply for these scholarships, students typically need to provide detailed documentation about their financial situation, which can include tax returns, bank statements, and a written statement explaining their financial circumstances.

Scholarships may cover full or partial tuition fees, and some also include living expenses, book costs, and travel allowances. They can be provided by universities themselves, governments, private organizations, or charitable entities. It’s important for students to understand the terms and conditions of each scholarship, as some might require them to maintain a certain grade point average or fulfill specific obligations.

The Application Process

Let’s delve deeper into the process of applying for need-based scholarships and highlight more specific scholarships available for international undergraduate students. The process of applying for need-based scholarships can be rigorous, but it’s definitely manageable if you approach it systematically. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Research: Start researching scholarships as early as possible. Make sure to thoroughly understand the eligibility criteria, application process, deadlines, and benefits of each scholarship.

Documentation: Gather all necessary documents. This may include financial statements, tax returns, or income certificates that demonstrate your financial need.

Application: Most scholarship applications require you to fill out a form and write an essay or personal statement. Take your time to craft a compelling narrative that demonstrates your financial need, aspirations, and motivation.

Recommendations: Some scholarships may require letters of recommendation. Reach out to your teachers or counselors well in advance and provide them with adequate information to write a comprehensive recommendation letter.

Submission: Submit your application before the deadline. Make sure all details are accurate and all necessary documents are included.

What are Some Need-Based Scholarships for International Undergraduate Students?

Need-based scholarships are financial awards that are granted to students based on their demonstrated financial need. These scholarships aim to provide support to students who require financial assistance to pursue their undergraduate education. While the availability and eligibility criteria for need-based scholarships can vary across institutions and organizations, here are some examples of need-based scholarships for international undergraduate students:

The University of Oxford’s Reach Oxford Scholarship

This scholarship is highly competitive and is awarded to a few students each year. It covers university fees, college fees, as well as, a grant for living costs, which are awarded for the entire duration of the student’s course. Candidates must be citizens of countries that are eligible to receive official development aid from the OECD’s Development aid Committee (DAC).

The University of British Columbia’s International Major Entrance Scholarship

The IMES is given to outstanding foreign students who are starting their first year at UBC. Scholarships are given to students when they start their first year at UBC, and they can be used for up to three more years of school. The number and level of these scholarships awarded each year vary, depending on available funding.

Harvard University Scholarships

Harvard’s financial aid programs pay for tuition, fees, room, and board. The university commits to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need for all four years. Most Harvard aid is awarded on the basis of financial need, as well as, the average need-based aid grant is over $50,000.

Stanford University Scholarships

Stanford provides need-based financial aid based on the total cost of attendance, which includes tuition, room and board, books, personal supplies, and travel expenses. Stanford’s financial aid program aims to ensure that education is affordable for all admitted students.

MIT Scholarships

At MIT, 90% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. The Institute ensures that all students can afford a MIT education, regardless of their financial circumstances. Financial aid comes in the form of need-based scholarships, work-study, and loans.

Australia Awards Scholarships

These scholarships are long-term development awards administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. They want to help Australia’s partner countries meet their goals for growth and development. In addition, People from developing countries can use the scholarship to go to full-time college or graduate school at one of several Australian universities.

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships

These scholarships promote international exchange and research cooperation between Switzerland and over 180 other countries. The scholarship covers a monthly payment, exemption of tuition fees, health insurance, airfare, housing allowance, and more. The Federal Commission for Scholarship for Foreign Students (FCS), which gives out the scholarship, chooses who gets them.

Each of these scholarships has its own eligibility criteria and application process, and the competition is typically very high. Therefore, it’s crucial to prepare a strong application that highlights not only your financial need but also your academic achievements, leadership potential, and career goals. It is important to note that the availability of these scholarships can vary and may be subject to change. Therefore, it is recommended to visit the official websites of the respective scholarship programs or contact the universities directly for the most up-to-date and accurate information on eligibility criteria and application processes.


The landscape of need-based scholarship for international undergraduate students is vast and diverse. These scholarships are vital in promoting equitable access to education and fostering global unity. However, It’s essential for students to research thoroughly, understand their options, and apply diligently. The journey might be daunting, but the reward—a quality education without a significant financial burden—is undoubtedly worth the effort.

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