Guaranteed Need-Based Scholarships for International Students in USA with GPA and Test Score

Guaranteed Need-Based Scholarships for International Students in USA with GPA and Test Score

As an international student looking to study in the United States, you know that funding your education can be challenging. While merit-based scholarships are available for those with exceptional grades and test scores, need-based aid considers your financial situation and the actual cost of attending school. Scholarships for International Students in USA.

The good news is that guaranteed need-based scholarships for international students do exist, allowing you to achieve your dreams of earning a degree in America. By researching early, preparing the necessary applications, and meeting the eligibility criteria, you can find funding to cover a portion or all of your expenses.

Don’t let worries about tuition and living costs deter you from applying to U.S. colleges and universities. With hard work and perseverance, you can find need-based scholarships and grants to make your goals a reality.

Need-Based Scholarships vs Merit Scholarships for International Students

As an international student, the cost of attending college in the U.S. can be quite high. To help make higher education more affordable, many schools offer need-based scholarships. Unlike merit scholarships which are awarded based on grades, test scores, talents or skills, need-based scholarships are awarded based on a student’s financial need.

To determine need, schools will have students fill out financial aid forms that provide details about their family’s income and expenses. The school then uses this information to calculate a student’s expected family contribution (EFC) and financial need. The need-based scholarship aims to bridge the gap between the cost of attendance (COA) at the school and what a student’s family can contribute.

Some well-known, need-based scholarships for international students include:

• Fulbright Foreign Student Program: Provides funding for graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to study and conduct research in the U.S. Awards include tuition waivers and stipends.

• Global Scholarship Alliance: Offers need-based scholarships up to $10,000 for international undergraduate students attending partner schools in the U.S. and Canada.

• Sallie Mae’s Scholarship Search: Database with over 5 million scholarships worth $24 billion, including many for international and needy students. Students fill out a profile and matching scholarships will be identified.

By researching and applying for need-based scholarships, international students have an opportunity to fund their U.S. education and follow their dreams. While competition can be tough, need-based aid opens doors for students who have financial difficulties, making college a possibility.

Top Universities Offering Full Need-Based Aid for International Students

If you are an international student seeking full financial aid to study in the U.S., some top universities offer generous need-based scholarships. ###

The Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania, meet 100% of demonstrated need for all admitted students, including internationals. Their aid packages typically include scholarships, work-study, and minimal student loans. Admission is very competitive, with most having acceptance rates under 10%, but the reward of a full-ride at a prestigious university is life-changing.

Other elite schools with generous aid for international applicants include MIT, Duke, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Rice, and Emory. At MIT, for example, the average need-based scholarship award for international undergraduates is over $43,000 per year. While still competitive, these schools may have slightly higher acceptance rates of 10-20% for strong candidates.

Large public universities, like the University of Michigan, University of Virginia, and University of California schools can also be affordable options for international students with high scores and grades. They offer merit scholarships for academic achievement as well as need-based aid. Acceptance rates vary but may be around 20-30% or higher.

In summary, if you are an accomplished high school student seeking college in the U.S. but require significant financial assistance, do not lose hope. With outstanding grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and a compelling application, admission and generous need-based funding at top American universities is possible. Put your best effort into the application process, and doors may open for you that you never thought possible.

How Financial Need Is Calculated for International Applicants

Financial need for international students is determined differently than for domestic applicants. To calculate an international student’s financial need, schools will consider several factors:

Cost of Attendance

The total cost of attendance includes tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. This figure represents the total amount of money required for one academic year at the school. For international students, the cost of attendance may also include higher health insurance fees and travel costs.

Family Contribution

The family contribution represents the amount of money the student’s family can provide to help pay for educational costs. Schools will evaluate the family’s income, assets, family size, and cost of living in the home country to determine an estimated family contribution. Documentation such as bank statements, tax returns, and information on family expenses may be requested.

Student Contribution

The student contribution reflects any personal financial resources the student can provide, such as personal income, savings, and private scholarships or sponsorships. Students should report any funding they expect to receive to help pay for their studies.

Financial Need

A student’s financial need is calculated as the cost of attendance minus the family contribution and minus the student contribution. Need-based aid is awarded to help meet a student’s remaining financial need after other resources have been considered.

International students seeking need-based aid should prepare to provide detailed financial documentation to demonstrate their level of need accurately. By providing comprehensive information about their financial situation, students can maximize their opportunities to receive need-based scholarships, grants, and other aid. With proper planning and by meeting all deadlines, international students have a good chance of obtaining funding to achieve their educational goals.

Minimum GPA and Test Scores Needed for Need-Based Scholarships

To qualify for need-based scholarships as an international student in the USA, meeting certain minimum GPA and standardized test scores is typically required.

Minimum GPA

Most need-based scholarships mandate a minimum 3.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale for consideration. Some highly competitive scholarships may require a 3.5 GPA or better. Your high school grades are very important for establishing your academic merit. If your grades are slightly below the minimum, you may still be considered if you have a record of steady improvement over your high school career.

SAT/ACT Scores

For many need-based scholarships, submitting SAT or ACT scores is compulsory. Minimum scores of 1000 on the SAT (Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing sections combined) or a 21 on the ACT are commonly required. Higher scores will increase your chances, especially for prestigious awards. If English is your second language, strong scores on the SAT Subject Tests in Math Level 1 or 2 and a science like Biology or Chemistry may strengthen your application.

Some scholarships may also consider scores from English language proficiency exams like the TOEFL or IELTS. Minimum scores of 600 (paper-based) or 100 (internet-based) on the TOEFL or 6.5 on the IELTS are typically needed to demonstrate English fluency for undergraduate study in the U.S.

In summary, to maximize your eligibility for need-based scholarships, aim for the highest GPA and standardized test scores possible. While minimum scores may meet basic requirements, higher numbers will make you a more attractive candidate, especially for very competitive scholarships. With strong grades and scores, along with a compelling personal statement highlighting your financial need, you will put yourself in a good position to obtain funding to study in America.

Tips for International Students to Get Full Financial Aid

To be eligible for guaranteed need-based scholarships in the US as an international student, there are several tips to keep in mind:

Maintain a High GPA

International students must meet the same academic standards as domestic applicants to qualify for most need-based aid and scholarships. Maintain a strong grade point average, especially in your final years of secondary school. A GPA of 3.5 or higher will make you a competitive candidate.

Submit Required Standardized Test Scores

Many US universities require international students to submit scores from standardized tests like the SAT, ACT, or TOEFL to demonstrate English proficiency. Meet or exceed the minimum scores listed for your target schools to be considered for their merit-based aid. Some schools may waive test requirements for need-based aid, so check with the financial aid office.

Complete Required Financial Aid Applications

Most US universities require the CSS Profile and in some cases the FAFSA to determine eligibility for institutional aid. Submit these forms as early as possible to maximize available funding. Be prepared to provide documents like bank statements, tax records, and income statements to verify your financial need.

Apply for Grants and Scholarships

Research additional scholarships and grants you may be eligible for beyond the university’s aid. Apply for any relevant private, federal or state scholarships and grants to supplement what the college offers. Some options for international students include the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, Rotary Youth Exchange, and EducationUSA Opportunity Funds Program.

Consider Work-Study Programs

Some universities offer work-study programs that provide part-time jobs for students with financial need. This allows you to earn money during the school year to help pay for expenses. Inquire about work-study opportunities and any requirements to participate. Some schools give preference for these programs to students who have demonstrated significant financial hardship.

By following these useful tips and taking the necessary steps, international students can increase their chances of obtaining guaranteed need-based scholarships and financial assistance for study in the United States. With diligent effort, all students regardless of financial means can achieve their dreams of earning a college degree.

Popular External Need-Based Scholarships for Int’l Students in USA

External scholarships for international students in the US are available based on financial need. These are awarded by private organizations, non-profits, and charities. Some popular need-based scholarships include:

The International Students Scholarship Fund (ISSF)

The ISSF provides scholarships for undergraduate and graduate international students in the US based solely on financial need. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Awards range from $500 to $5,000 per year.

The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships

The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships offer funding for graduate study in the US. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and strong academic achievement. The fellowship covers half of tuition and living expenses for up to two years of graduate study in any field. Recipients can attend any US university.

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program provides scholarships for graduate study and research in the US. Applicants must have a university degree and English proficiency. Awards include tuition, travel expenses, health insurance, and a living stipend. Fulbright scholarships are open to students from over 160 countries.

The American College of Surgeons International Guest Scholarships

The ACS offers scholarships for physicians and medical students outside the US and Canada to pursue short-term surgical education and training in the US. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and strong academic credentials. The scholarship covers travel and living expenses for up to three months.

The Rotary Foundation Global Grants

Rotary Global Grants provide scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study abroad, including the US. Applicants must show strong academic achievement and financial need. Grants cover round-trip transportation, tuition, books, room and board, and other program-related expenses. Students can attend any accredited university or college.

In summary, there are many generous external scholarships and fellowships available for international students in the US based primarily on financial need and strong academic standing. These scholarships help make a US education possible for students from around the world. With diligent searching and persistence, international students can find funding to match their goals and circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions About Need-Based Aid for Int’l Students

As an international student hoping to study in the U.S., you likely have many questions about financing your education. Need-based aid, including grants, scholarships, and student loans, can help make a U.S. degree affordable. Here are some common questions and answers about need-based aid for international students:

What is need-based financial aid? Need-based aid provides money for college based on your financial need. This includes need-based grants, scholarships, student loans, and work-study programs. The aid amount depends on costs to attend school (tuition, fees, room and board, etc.) and your family’s ability to pay these costs.

Am I eligible for need-based aid as an international student? Some schools and private organizations offer need-based aid for international students. Eligibility depends on several factors, including your financial need, academic merit, and the schools or organizations providing the aid. Many schools require the CSS Profile and your family’s income documentation to determine need. Check with schools you’re interested in to learn their policies.

What types of need-based aid are available for international students? The main types are:

  • Need-based grants: Free money that does not need to be repaid. Some schools offer need-based grants for international students.
  • Need-based scholarships: Also free money that does not need to be repaid. Some are offered by schools, non-profits and private donors for international students.
  • Student loans: Money you borrow and must repay with interest. Some student loan options are available for international students with a U.S. co-signer.
  • Work-study: Part-time jobs offered through schools where you earn money to help pay for college expenses. Some schools offer work-study for international students.

Can I use need-based aid to fund my entire degree? It is unlikely need-based aid will fully fund your degree as an international student. You should explore all options, including scholarships, student loans, family contributions, and personal savings. With a combination of these resources, you can make a U.S. education possible.

Does my GPA or test scores affect my eligibility for need-based aid? Some need-based scholarships consider your GPA and test scores, but most need-based grants and student loans focus primarily on your financial need. Strong academics may open up more scholarship opportunities, but will not directly impact most need-based aid. Your funding package will depend on the resources available at your school of choice and your demonstrated financial need.

Scholarships for International Students in USA: Additional Resources

To supplement the need-based scholarships, there are additional resources international students can utilize to fund their education in the USA.

Private student loans are offered by banks, credit unions, and private lenders to help pay for university in the US. These loans typically require a cosigner who is a US citizen or permanent resident. Interest rates and terms vary between lenders. Some well-known private student loan lenders for international students include Ascent Independent, MPower Financing, and Prodigy Finance.

University payment plans allow students to pay tuition and fees over the course of the semester or year instead of upfront. This can make the costs more affordable and manageable. Many universities offer their own payment plans for a small enrollment fee.

Part-time on-campus jobs, such as teaching assistantships, resident advisor positions, library attendants, cafeteria staff, and research assistants provide income and valuable work experience. These jobs typically have a maximum number of work hours for international students, usually 20 hours per week during the semester.

Freelancing, online surveys, tutoring, and ride-sharing are other ways for international students to earn extra money on a flexible schedule. While these jobs may be more competitive, they can be done without strict hour requirements and around a class schedule.

Crowdfunding platforms enable students to raise money from many donors to fund their education. Students share their story and goals on sites like GoFundMe, YouCaring, and Indiegogo to spread awareness of their funding needs. While success is not guaranteed, many students have been able to raise substantial amounts through crowdfunding.

With determination and an open mind, international students can find ways to fund their education through a combination of scholarships, student loans, part-time work, and other creative means. The key is starting your research early, exploring all opportunities, and not getting discouraged easily. With hard work, your dream of studying in the United States can become a reality.

Guaranteed Need-Based Scholarships for International Students in USA FAQs

As an international student hoping to study in the US, funding your education can be challenging. Need-based scholarships provide essential financial assistance based primarily on your financial need. Several prestigious US universities offer guaranteed need-based scholarships for international students that meet certain academic criteria.

To be eligible for these merit-based scholarships, you will need to demonstrate strong academic achievement and test scores. Most require a minimum 3.0 GPA (B average) and 1100 SAT or 24 ACT score. Some may require higher scores for certain majors or programs. Along with your scores, a compelling personal essay and letters of recommendation from your teachers can strengthen your application.

The specific amount awarded depends on the cost of attendance at your chosen school and your family’s financial situation. Funding may cover a percentage of tuition, fees, room and board, and living expenses. Need-based aid is often renewable each year if you maintain satisfactory academic progress. Types of need-based scholarships include:

  • Full or partial tuition waivers: Covers some or all of your tuition and mandatory fees.
  • Room and board grants: Helps subsidize your housing and meal costs.
  • Stipends: Provides a fixed amount for living expenses like books, supplies, and transportation.

To apply, fill out the CSS Profile financial aid application, which considers your family’s income, assets, and expenses to determine your financial need. Check with the schools you’re interested in for their specific deadlines and additional application requirements. While competition can be strong, focusing on schools where you are a good match academically and expressing your genuine need for assistance can help maximize your chances of receiving aid.

With high costs of living and education, need-based aid makes studying in America possible for many international students. Do your research, understand the criteria, and apply strategically to give yourself the best opportunity to get funding for your US degree.


As an international student, you have a unique opportunity to study in the U.S. and experience American culture firsthand. While the costs of attending college in America can be high, there are generous need-based scholarships available to help make your dreams a reality. Do your research, find programs that match your interests and financial situation, and apply to as many as possible. With hard work and perseverance, you can overcome financial difficulties and gain access to a world-class education.

A life-changing experience awaits you, if you take that first step. Don’t miss out on this chance to broaden your horizons. You have so much to offer, and these scholarships can help open the door to a vibrant community that will value your contributions. The future is yours to shape. Now go out there and seize it!

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