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Studying abroad is a significant financial investment. You cover tuition, housing, utilities, supplies, and more. Plus, visa rules usually need proof that you have enough money to live on(Proof of Fund). Despite the high costs, many people opt for international study because of top-notch education, diverse classes, facilities, and better job prospects. That is why it is best to plan your finances carefully if you want to study abroad. If you are ready to start this journey, do not worry! We will walk you through the different kinds of financial aid you can get from scholarships, grants and student loans. We will also share some handy tips to help you secure the best support for your education goals.

Understanding Scholarships, Grants and Student Loans


A scholarship is money given to students to help pay for their education, and the best part is you do not need to pay back. Scholarships can sometimes cover the entire cost of education, making them the best option for students. However, they are highly competitive. Scholarships help to encourage academic excellence, support talented individuals, promote equal opportunities, assist specific groups (often disadvantaged), and advance certain fields of study. Universities, colleges, private organizations, non-profits and government bodies offer this.

Types of Scholarships


Grants are another best resource for students in need of financial help. Unlike loans, you do not have to repay grants, making them a crucial lifeline for many students. Both federal and state government is the provider of grants. By filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), students can see if they qualify for federal grants like the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Many states also offer grant programs to help local students pay for college.

Types of Grants

  • Federal grants (e.g., Pell Grants)
  • State grants
  • Institutional grants
  • Private grants

Students Loan

While scholarships and grants are ideal, many students need loans to cover the rest of their expenses. Loans come in two main types: federal loans and private loans. Federal loans, like Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans, have benefits such as fixed interest rates, flexible repayment options, and the possibility of income-driven repayment plans or loan forgiveness programs. Students need to borrow responsibly and think about their future repayment obligations when taking out loans.

Types of Student Loans

  • Federal student loans (e.g., Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans): International students usually can not get federal student loans from the U.S. Department of Education. Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans are only for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and eligible non-citizens. Because of this, international students need to look for other ways to fund their education.
  • Private student loans: Private student loans from banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions are a potential option for international students needing funds for their education. These loans usually depend on your credit history and might require a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. International students need to thoroughly check the terms and conditions of these loans, including interest rates, repayment options, and cosigner requirements, before deciding to apply.

What Are the Differences Between Scholarships, Grants, and Student Loans

  • Grants and scholarships are popular because you do not have to pay them back. Grants are usually given based on financial need, while scholarships are for better grades, sports, or specific fields of study. Loans, however, are the most common type of financial aid. Unlike grants and scholarships, you must pay back with interest. However, they are easier to qualify for and more widely available, making them more accessible.
  • Eligibility for scholarships depends on the specific scholarship program. Some scholarships are merit-based and awarded to those who demonstrate academic ability or talent, while Grants and student loans are on financial need or geared toward specific career goals.
  • Scholarships and grants may have limited availability and competition, especially for the top-tier ones. Student loans are more widely available but may have limits based on the borrower’s financial need and the cost of attendance.
  • When you apply for scholarships, you usually have to send in your grades, essays, and letters from people who know you. Sometimes, you might even have to go to interviews or tryouts. For grants, you might need to fill out forms like the FAFSA or special grant applications, where you share details about your finances. And if you are getting a student loan, you will likely have to fill out some paperwork and maybe give more documents to prove things.
  • Schools, private groups, or even individuals can offer scholarships, while governments, schools, or non-profits typically give grants. Student loans may come from the government or private companies.

Here are some easy-to-follow tips for getting the best financial support for your education:

  • Early Planning: Start looking into financial aid options and deadlines as soon as possible so you do not miss out on opportunities.
  • Maximize Eligibility: Fill out the FAFSA accurately and on time to increase your chances of qualifying for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs.
  • Seek Guidance: Do not hesitate to contact us for personalized advice and assistance throughout the financial aid process.
  • Explore Alternative Funding: Look beyond the usual sources of aid and consider options like employer tuition reimbursement programs, military benefits, or crowdfunding platforms.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on any changes to financial aid policies and new opportunities by staying connected and checking for updates regularly.


Funding your studies abroad can be financially draining but with the right help, you can find the best funding option. Whether it is a scholarship, grant, loan, or a mix of options, we can help!

With our support, you can start your academic journey feeling confident about finding the best financial aid for yourself. Start here.


Author Ojochide

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