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Top 5 scholarships for Indian students aspiring to study abroad

This article explores the scholarship options available for Indian students aspiring to study abroad

Mahesh Ramani

The Tata Scholarship at Cornell University, Brandes University Scholarship and University of California Berkeley Scholarships are some of the popular scholarships offered by USIEF and its partners.

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The past decade has seen a massive increase in the number of Indian students going abroad for higher studies. Earlier the trend was for Indian students to complete an undergraduate degree in India, work for a few years and then go abroad for a postgraduate education. We see positive changes now, as students aspire to even do their undergraduate study abroad and also opt for vocational job-centric courses in Australian TAFE Institutes.

The important factors that contribute to the increase in numbers of Indian students going abroad for higher studies are:

  • Awareness of value of an international degree
  • Faster approval of study loans by banks
  • Increase in number of scholarships available

This article examines some of the top scholarships on offer for Indian students and their brief descriptions.

Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program

The Aga Khan Foundation provides a limited number of scholarships each year for postgraduate studies to outstanding students from developing countries who have no other means of financing their studies. Scholarships are awarded on a 50% grant: 50% loan basis through a competitive application process once a year in June or July. The Foundation assists students with tuition fees and living expenses only. The cost of travel is not included in AKF scholarships. Half of the scholarship amount is considered as a loan, which must be reimbursed with an annual service charge of 5%. A guarantor is required to co-sign the loan agreement. The payback period is five years, starting six months after the study period funded by the Aga Khan Foundation.

Chevening Scholarships

Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. The programme makes awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the world to study postgraduate courses at universities in the UK. The Chevening programme was established in 1983 and has developed into a prestigious international scheme. There are over 42,000 Chevening alumni around the world who together comprise an influential and highly regarded global network. The programme provides full or part funding for full-time courses at postgraduate level, normally a one-year Master’s degree, in any subject and at any UK university.

Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan

This is one of the most well known and popular scholarships available to students from Commonwealth countries. In India this scholarship is managed by the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission, the British Council and the Government of India. Students aspiring to study courses in Engineering and Technology, Science (Pure and Applied), Agriculture and Humanities and Social Sciences are eligible to apply for scholarships. The preliminary selection of candidates for scholarships is carried out in India by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Department of Education, and Government of India. Eligible applications are verified and short-listed and this is followed by personal interviews of the applicants in New Delhi.

Hornby Scholarships

The A.S. Hornby Educational Trust offers the Hornby Scholarship to students who aspire to study an ELT course in the UK. Applicants need to have an IELTS score of 6.5 or above and should be accepted at an institution in the UK for studying a postgraduate ELT course.

Applicants should have at least five years’ hands-on and direct experience as an English language teacher/teacher trainer. Alternatively, they should have been involved in some sort of developmental work as trainers or managers. The scholarship will cover the tuition fee of the course.

USIEF Scholarships

The United States India Educational Foundation was established to promote academic partnerships between Indian and American universities and provide Indian students the opportunity to study in top American universities. The Tata Scholarship at Cornell University, Brandes University Scholarship and The University of California Berkeley Scholarships are some of the popular scholarships offered by USIEF and its partners.  

Students are also advised to visit the website of the Ministry of Human Development for details of other scholarships that Indian students are eligible to apply and offered in partnership with other governments.

As a student be sure to apply to all relevant scholarships that you are eligible to apply for – and always remember to read the fine-print to check if any repayment of the scholarship amount is required. Do you think we have missed adding any other important scholarship? Do write to us with your inputs in the comment section below.

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