There’s a lot of planning that goes into studying abroad — and a big part of that planning process is figuring out how to fund your journey overseas. Luckily, there are different types of financial aid available, including grants and scholarships. Keep reading to find out more.
Scholarships and grants 101
Although scholarships and grants are both considered gift aid, meaning they don’t need to be paid back like loans, there are some differences between the two — mainly, where the funds come from and eligibility criteria.
Grants are typically need-based, and the funds generally come from the state and/or federal government. Grant qualifications may include family income, disability status and cost of the school, among others. Scholarships, on the other hand, are merit-based and awarded for a variety of reasons, including field of study, heritage, hobbies, athletics, volunteerism and more. These monetary gifts often come from universities or private organizations — you can also see if your home country offers any scholarships for students studying abroad.
It's also important to note that both scholarships and grants can vary in monetary value — some may be a full ride (meaning all expenses are paid for), while others may be a few thousand dollars (or less). But, there is no limit to the number of scholarships and grants you can apply for and accept — so do your research to find out what you’re eligible for and start applying!
Stand out from the competition
As mentioned above, scholarships can be awarded for a number of reasons, but there are factors that can help you stand out and give you an edge over other students applying for the same scholarships:
- TOEFL iBT® test scores | In some cases, TOEFL scores can be a factor in gift aid. It’s important to note that some scholarships may require a higher test score than what is required for admission to the school. For example, a school may require a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 90, but you may need a score of 110 to qualify for a particular scholarship.
- Leadership and teamwork | Scholarship awarders are looking for students who demonstrate an ability to work well with others — it’s also important to showcase an ability to lead in group situations.
- Letters of recommendation | Be sure to get strong letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your skills and strengths, like teachers or coaches.
Start your journey
For the English proficiency exam that is accepted by more than 11,500 universities and institutions in 160+ countries, choose the TOEFL iBT test. (It’s also accepted by 100% of universities in the U.S. and preferred by 9 out of 10.) If you’re still not sure where you want to study, check out the TOEFL Destinations Search tool.
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