Scholarships

Can I get a 100% scholarship to study abroad?

Updated on: Jun 12, 2024
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Can I get a 100% scholarship to study abroad?
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Please note: (1) Edvoy provides expert advice on scholarships but does not offer them directly. (2) Please note that living expenses are not part of any scholarship's benefits, it solely covers tuition fee.

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For many Indian students getting a full scholarship or 100% scholarship is a myth as these scholarships have been heard of, but few are known to receive them. Yet, many colleges and universities offer Indian students 100% scholarships to study abroad. Although getting a 100% scholarship to study abroad is not easy, it is certainly possible.

In this guide, we will discuss the different types of 100% scholarships and how you can get a 100% scholarship to study abroad.

What is a 100% scholarship to study abroad?

A 100% scholarship to study abroad, also known as a full-ride scholarship, is an award that covers tuition fees and other college expenses, like accommodation, travel, insurance premium, food, and possibly even living costs. The main aim of this scholarship is to remove any need for additional financial aid and make the college experience of students almost free of cost.

A full-ride scholarship from some universities and colleges also includes participation in special leadership programs, internships, and peer mentoring. In addition, there is a similar-sounding award to a full-ride scholarship - a full tuition scholarship that covers only the tuition fee; all other expenses are to be borne by the student in a full tuition scholarship. So, always keep this in mind while looking for a 100% scholarship to study abroad.

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Types of full-ride scholarships

Some students get full-ride scholarships because of their academic history, athletic prowess, leadership, or merit, while some universities, colleges, or private organizations award full-ride scholarships to students. The 3 main types of full-ride scholarships are:

1. Merit-Based

The most common type of full-ride scholarship is a merit-based scholarship that is awarded to students with exceptional academic scores. It is usually determined through a student's GPA, SAT scores, or ACT scores. In addition to academic merit, leadership skills or community involvement also help in getting this scholarship.

2. Financial Need-Based

This scholarship is awarded to financially weaker students who can show some financial hardship. It is determined by the student's financial situation rather than his merit. The student’s family income is the most important criterion in awarding this scholarship.

3. Government

These scholarships are awarded by the central government and some state governments to students pursuing their studies at different levels. These scholarships aim to make higher education abroad accessible to students irrespective of their caste, creed, or class.

Besides the full-ride scholarships mentioned above, there are some other types of full-ride scholarships like athletic, activity-based, identity-based scholarships, etc.

Full-ride vs Full-tuition scholarships

Students can sometimes get confused between a full-ride and a full tuition scholarship. Although these scholarships may seem interchangeable, there are vast differences between the two.

Full-ride scholarships generally cover tuition fees, accommodation, insurance premiums, airfare, and other expenses students may encounter to attend the university. As a result, these scholarships have comparatively higher costs. These scholarships are awarded initially for one year and renewed for the next year depending on the student's eligibility.

These scholarships are hard to come by and are awarded to a small fraction of students (only 0.1% of applicants, according to College Raptor, 2021), but they try to make a student's college experience enjoyable and free of cost.

Full tuition scholarships cover the tuition fee only; it does not cover other expenses like accommodation, lab fees, travel expenses, etc. The main focus is to cover the tuition fee; however, some scholarships might also cover other expenses. The students have to bear all the other expenses, so these scholarships have lower costs than full-ride scholarships. According to Think Impact, 2020, 1.5% of applicants were awarded full tuition scholarships. Generally, these scholarships cover the tuition fee for the full duration of the course.

Full-ride scholarshipsFull-tuition scholarships
cover tuition fees, accommodation, insurance premiums, airfare, and other expensescover the tuition fee only
have comparatively higher costslower costs than full-ride scholarships
awarded initially for one yearcover the full duration of the course
awarded to 0.1% of applicants (College Raptor, 2021awarded to 1.5% of applicants (Think Impact, 2020)

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Not every university abroad awards full-ride scholarships to international students, but many international universities are awarding these scholarships. The five popular full-ride scholarships are:

1. Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship

The University of Toronto provides The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships for outstanding international students, including international students studying at Canadian high schools. It is awarded annually to students who are leaders within their school and who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and creativity.

It is tenable only at the University of Toronto for the first entry and covers tuition, books, incidental fees, and full residence support for four years.

2. Chevening/Cambridge Scholarship

Chevening Scholarship is the UK government’s global scholarship program to award international students to study in the UK for one year on a fully funded masters degree course. It is funded by the FCO and partner organizations, and is tenable at any college.

It provides funding for tuition fees, an annual stipend that is sufficient for a single person, and funding for other expenses as well.

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3. Karsh International Scholarship Program

The Karsh International Scholarship, founded in 2010 through a generous donation from Martha and Bruce Karsh, brings together top students from all over the world. The international applicants should apply directly to Duke University and demonstrate the financial need to qualify for this scholarship.

It covers tuition, accommodation, mandatory fees, demonstrated need that exceeds those costs, and three summers of funding for research.

4. Australia Awards Scholarships

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade administers the Australia Awards Scholarships to contribute to the development needs of Australia's partner countries in line with bilateral and regional agreements. These scholarships are offered for the full duration of the academic program specified by the Australian higher education institution, including any preparatory training.

The scholarship covers full tuition fees, return air travel, accommodation expenses, contribution to living expenses, overseas student health cover, and pre-course English fees.

5. Concordia Presidential Scholarship

The Concordia Presidential Scholarship is the most prestigious undergraduate entrance scholarship of Concordia University that supports international students. Each year, the university welcomes international students who demonstrate academic excellence and community leadership to conduct research and innovation in their institution.

Up to two Presidential Scholarships are available each year which covers all tuition and fees, books, accommodation, and meal plan fees.

Also read: Scholarship for Indian Students in the US

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Tips for winning full-ride scholarships

Full-ride scholarships are hard to come by and are awarded to a small fraction of candidates. Generally, less than 1% of the applied candidates get these scholarships.

Here are five tips that will help you get an advantage to secure a 100% scholarship to study abroad.

  1. Know where to look - The first thing you should know before applying for full-ride scholarships is to know where to look for these scholarships. The best place is to look at the official website of the chosen universities. Look out for all their scholarship programs, their eligibility, and how you can apply.
  2. Apply for as many scholarships as you can - Make a list of all the eligible scholarships and apply for all of them. Applying for these many scholarships may be time-consuming, but these scholarships cover all the expenses, so be prepared to do the hard work.
  3. Stand out from the competition - There is so much competition for full-ride scholarships, so its important to stand out from the pool of applicants. Start by writing a compelling essay, attach your language certificates, and show off your extracurricular activities and involvement with the local community.
  4. Double-check eligibility and application requirements - Before submitting your application, ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements and complete all aspects of the application satisfactorily. Many students get disqualified because of incomplete applications.
  5. Apply early - There is no preference for early applicants, humans evaluate these applications and likely have other jobs and responsibilities besides selecting scholarship winners. So, these evaluators will be flooded with applications later and may skim through some applications.

Many Indian students dream of getting a full-ride or 100% scholarship to study abroad. Some scholarships cover the tuition fees, while some also provide expenses for accommodation, traveling, food, etc. Although it is a bit difficult to get a full-ride or 100% scholarship, if you do proper research and are lucky enough, you can get a full-ride scholarship.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a 100% scholarship to study abroad for Indian students?

Yes, it is possible. You can get a 100% scholarship to study abroad. Many colleges and universities offer Indian students 100% scholarships to study abroad. Although getting a 100% scholarship to study abroad is not easy, it is certainly possible. We have mentioned five popular 100% scholarships above.

What are the different types of full-ride scholarships?

There are 3 main types of full-ride scholarships - Merit-based, Financial need-based, and Government.

What is the difference between full-ride and full-tuition scholarships?

Full-ride scholarships generally cover tuition fees, accommodation, insurance premiums, airfare, and other expenses students may encounter to attend the university. On the other hand, full tuition scholarships cover the tuition fee only; it does not cover other expenses like accommodation, lab fees, or travel expenses.

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