Full-Ride Scholarships for International Students in the US

Studying abroad is the dream of most international students. This is because of the array of opportunities it presents.

One of the bottlenecks is the cost associated with pursuing a program at a university abroad. If that abroad is the United States of America, the cost will be more.

International students may require scholarships to achieve their dream of studying abroad. A full-ride scholarship would be golden for an international student in the US.

In this article, we’ll be showing you some full-ride scholarships available for international students in the US. 

What is a Full-Ride Scholarship?

A Full-ride scholarship is a comprehensive financial aid package. It covers the entire cost of attendance for a college or university.

A full-ride scholarship covers tuition, fees, room and board, books, and sometimes travel expenses. These scholarships are highly competitive and are awarded when you meet certain criteria.

Shishka reports that the US spends USD120 billion on funding across its Universities. USD 78,300 of that funding went to international students. Only a few international students get this scholarship. This shows how competitive it is to land a scholarship in the US as an international student.

What are the Types of Full-Ride Scholarships for International Students?

There are various full-ride scholarships available for international students in the US. These scholarships are offered by universities, government organizations, and private foundations. Here are some of them;

  • Fulbright Foreign Student Program: This program is sponsored by the US Department of State. This program offers full scholarships to exceptional international students. Priority is placed on students who demonstrate academic excellence. Leadership potential and a commitment to cultural exchange will stand you out.
  • Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program: This program provides full scholarships to mid-career professionals from designated countries. It enables them to engage in non-degree study and professional development in the United States.
  • American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship: This is offered by American University in Washington, DC. It covers all educational expenses for international students who have demonstrated leadership potential and a commitment to community service.
  • Stanford University Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program: This prestigious program provides full funding for graduate study at Stanford University to students from around the world who show exceptional leadership, independence of thought, and a civic mindset.

What Schools Offer Full-Ride Scholarships in the US?

Some universities in the US offer full-ride scholarships even to international students. These scholarships are highly competitive and available for quite a few students.

You’d have to stand out in your academic performances and other areas to increase your chances of success. Eligibility criteria will be discussed later on in this article.

Here are 5 universities in the US that offer full-ride scholarships;

1. Boston University: Trustee Scholarship

Every year, about 20 stellar students are selected for the Trustee Scholars Program. Many of them emerge with perfect 4.0 GPAs (top of the class). The scholarship values creatively well-rounded individuals with adventurous viewpoints and experiences. 

A Trustee Scholarship at Boston University covers full undergraduate tuition plus mandatory student fees. It is renewable for four years if a student maintains a solid academic performance.

2. Davidson College: John M. Belk Scholarship

The Belk Scholarship is quite exceptional because of the costs it covers. It offers full funding that covers tuition, fees, room, and board.

The Belk Scholarship at Davidson College also offers a $3,000 opportunity stipend to support students’ intellectual, leadership, and professional development).

You can learn more about the John M. Belk Scholarship here.

3. The University of Richmond: Richmond Scholars Program

The Richmond Scholars Program is the most prestigious merit award of the University of Richmond. This award gives students full tuition plus room and board. 

Scholars are selected based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, a strong sense of purpose, and commitment to a diverse and inclusive campus community.

4. Villanova University: Presidential Scholars Program

Vilanova University offers a renewable, merit-based award. This award covers full tuition, room and board, and the general fee. It also covers the cost of textbooks for eight semesters.

The Presidential Scholars Program attracts students from different intellectual, social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. 25 Presidential Scholars are selected annually.

5. American University, Washington DC: Emerging Global Leader Scholarship

The American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship is dedicated to civic service and positive social change. It funds students who will return home to improve under-resourced communities in their home countries.

What GPA do you need to get a full-ride scholarship in the US?

This largely depends on the college and its requirements. Ideally, a GPA above 3.0 is required to get a full-ride scholarship in the US.

In some colleges, the GPA requirement could go as high as 4.0 (perfect score). The common thing among Schools that offer full-ride scholarships is the priority placed on academic excellence.

What are the Benefits of a Full-Ride Scholarship for International Students?

  • Financial Relief: The most obvious benefit of full-ride scholarships is the financial relief they provide. They cover all of your educational expenses and allow you to focus on your studies. This will enable you to make the most of your college experience without the burden of student loans or financial stress.
  • Access to Quality Education: Studying in the US offers access to world-class educational institutions. You’ll get to enjoy cutting-edge research opportunities. Full-ride scholarships make this world-class education accessible to international students who may not be able to afford it.
  • Career Opportunities: Obtaining a degree from a US University comes with many opportunities. It can open doors for you to exciting career opportunities both in the US and around the world. Employers often value candidates with international educational experience.

How can I Secure a Full-Ride Scholarship?

Securing a full-ride scholarship is a competitive process. With careful planning and preparation, you can increase your chances of success. Below are some tips to help you stand out:

  • Start Early: Start researching scholarship opportunities on time. Begin preparing your application materials well in advance. Many scholarships have early deadlines, so it’s important to stay organized and plan.
  • Focus on Academic Excellence: the competition is high, and academic excellence will increase your chances of success. Make sure to maintain a strong GPA, excel in standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, and seek out challenging coursework and extracurricular activities.
  • Build a Strong Resume: Your scholarship application should highlight your leadership experience. It should also contain your community involvement and extracurricular achievements. Demonstrating a well-rounded profile can make you a more competitive candidate.
  • Craft Compelling Essays: Personal statements and essays are an important part of scholarship applications. Take the time to craft thoughtful, well-written essays. Let these essays showcase your personality, goals, and passion for your chosen field of study.
  • Get Letters of Recommendation: Secure strong letters of recommendation. This could be from teachers, mentors, or employers. Ensure they can attest to your academic abilities, character, and potential for success.
  • Prepare for Interviews: If selected for an interview as part of the scholarship application process, prepare thoroughly. Research the scholarship program and practice common interview questions. Be ready to articulate why you are a deserving candidate.


Full-ride scholarships for international students in the US offer a unique opportunity to pursue higher education at some of the world’s top universities. The scholarship gives you the privilege to do so without bearing the costs involved. Securing a full-ride scholarship requires dedication, perseverance, and a strong commitment to excellence. With the right mindset and preparation, you can turn your dream of studying in the US into a reality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like