How to get financial aid to study abroad

Gearing up for pursuing higher studies abroad? Wondering how to get financial aid for your studies in a foreign country? Looking for information on education / student loans for studying abroad? This article provides all the requisite information for students in India who are desirous of availing financial help for pursuing studies abroad.


Studying abroad and getting a foreign degree is the dream project of many of the aspiring Indian students. After clearing most of the rounds like getting a high score in TOEFL, IELTS, GATE etc, financial aid for studying abroad would be a great concern for many Indian students.

Studying abroad in Western countries like UK, U.S.A, Australia and other European countries would be a very costly affair. The cost involved in studying abroad not only involves the expenses related to your studies like university fees etc. but it also involves the expenses of your living in the foreign countries which includes the house / room rent, food, clothing and other essentials.

So when you are applying to a particular university in the foreign country, you should give equal attention to your finances for studying abroad, otherwise you would find it too difficult to meet with expenses.


How to get financial assistance for studying abroad

When you think of the expenditure for your education abroad, you might be wondering how to cope up with the finances and how to get financial help for the same. During such a situation many questions crop up in your mind and you might be thinking who all are eligible to get the financial help and why to get financial aid?

Well, it is simple. As mentioned earlier, studying abroad in developed nations would be a costly affair and it is difficult to do without a financial aid. So every student irrespective of his financial status need financial help for studying abroad. In fact, at the time of applying for a visa, the students willing to study abroad need to provide necessary evidences of their funds / property / assets in India so that they / their parents can meet with the expenses at least in the first year of their college / university education.

However, there are various other options for getting financial aids for studying abroad. If you want to get financial aid from the university funding, then you need to note the point that such an aid from the university is available only in the U.S and the universities in other countries like the U.K, Australia, Canada etc. do not offer financial aid or scholarships to the foreign students. However in the countries where the universities do not offer financial aid, you can pursuing higher studies with your own expenses or with the student loans from the banks of your country.

As more and more Indian students are showing interest in studying abroad, there is a increase in the flexibility in providing loans and financial assistance to the students going abroad for higher studies.

Different types of financial aid

As mentioned earlier, the type of financial assistance mainly depends on the country you wish to study. Most of the universities in the United States of America offer scholarships, aids, fellowships and assistant-ships based on the course that you are applying. Broadly financially assistance for studying abroad is categorized into three ways. These are (i)Assistant-ship (ii) Fellowship or scholarship and (iii) student loan.
  1. About assistant-ship

    Students with merit get the eligibility for assistant-ship which is provided by the specific university. For the under-graduate courses it is near impossible to get financial assistance in the foreign universities.

    For the graduate level M.S courses, getting an assistant-ship is the best way of funding your education. However, most of the universities do not offer assistance for doing MBA as the students can easily earn high income and will be in position to clear all their loans. There are some business schools which offer assistant-ship to merit students.

    And at the Ph.D level, there is no fees but the students are given stipend which would be helpful in covering their expenses. However, they are required to teach the under-graduate classes depending on the course and help in the teaching process.

    There are different types of assistant-ships based on the course. These are:
    • Graduate Assistant-ship: This type assistant-ship is mainly given to the students pursuing graduation and the students getting assistant-ship need to provide their help in the office administrative works.

    • Research Assistant-ship: This is mainly given to the students who are involved in the research work. For this, the students need to assist their professors in the lab works and research works. And the students who are selected to get this type of assistant-ship need to show their research aptitude and they also need to show their analytic skills through their research projects and research publications.

    • Tuition Waiver: Students who get the eligibility for this type of assistant-ship do not have to pay the tuition fees of the university but they need to pay other general fees for availing the facilities offered by the university like library, computer and health services.

    • Teaching Assistant-ship: Under this type of assistant-ship, the student at the Master level need to help their professors in the teaching process and they need to take tutorial classes, conduct experiments in the lab, grade the exam papers and thus extend their help to the profession in clarifying the doubts of the under graduate students. In order to get this assistant-ship, you need to have good communication skills.

  2. About fellowships and scholarships

    The university aid for offering scholarship / fellowship is mostly available at the graduate level only and not in the under graduate level. The students who are willing to apply for this type of financial aid from the universities need to have exceptionally outstanding profile in academics. In case the students who are awarded with this financial aid are willing to renew their financial aid, they need to score high in their courses in the following year. The amount of scholarship / fellowship offered to the students depends on the academic profile of the student.

    There are some Indian organisations / trusts that offer scholarships to the Indian students who are willing to study abroad. Some of these are:
    • Nehru Trust for Cambridge University and Trinity College

    • J N Tata Endowment

    • Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships

    • Rhodes Scholarship

    • ITC Scholarships

    The aspiring students need to gather the required information like eligibility criteria for applying for these scholarships from these organizations.

    There are even certain international organizations which offer scholarships like the Fulbright Commission, AMIDEAST and World Health Organisation. Students can get all the required information including the eligibility criteria for applying and obtaining these scholarships.

  3. About student loans

    There is high level of competition for availing the scholarships / fellowships and financial assistance-ships. As it is evident that all the aspiring students cannot stand in the competition, however they need to get disappointed but they can apply for an education loan in any one of the banks or financial institutions offering the same.

    If you are getting admission in one of the top universities of the country, you need no require the signature of a co-signer for loan sanctioning. Otherwise, the institutions sanctioning education loan require a co-signer in your loan application. The co-signer can be from the country where you reside or he can be from the country where you intend to go.

    There are some terms and conditions and a set scheme of interest for applying and getting the education loans from the financial institutions. In general, the public sector banks in India offer loans to the Indian students who have a confirmed admission to a full-time course in the foreign universities. Before sanctioning the loan, the banks in India look into the academic record of the student and sanction the loan only if they find it satisfactory. Though the conditions are nearly same for all the banks and financial institutions yet these have their own schemes.

    Besides these, there are certain foreign banks particularly the U.S based banks like the Bank of America which offer educational loans to the international students.

  4. Procedure for bank loan

    A comprehensive educational loan scheme has been framed by the Govt of India in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banker's Association. According to this scheme a loan of up to Rs.7,50,000/- is offered to eligible students for education in India. While for the aspiring students who intend to study abroad, as per their eligibility criteria a loan of Rs.15,00,000 is sanctioned to them. However there might be variations in the figures provided. And you need to fulfill the eligibility criteria of the sanctioning bank in order to obtain the loan from the bank. Following is the eligibility criteria for getting loan from a bank in India:
    • You need to be an Indian national.

    • You must have secured admission to a professional or technical course through the proper selection process.

    • You must have secured admission to a foreign university.

  5. Other important points to note

    The rate of interest of education loans up to Rs.4,00,000 is 10.75% and it does not exceed the Prime Lending Rates while the rate of interest is calculated at 11.75% for a loan above Rs.4,00,000 which is subject to changes as per the guidelines of RBI or the loan sanctioning bank.

    Most of the banks in India do not charge any processing fee / upfront charges for education loans while the State Bank of India accepts a deposit of Rs.5000 for the sanction of education loan which is adjusted in the margin money. The loan can be obtained from the branch which is nearest to place of your permanent residence. You need to submit the following documents when you are applying for a bank loan:
    • Certificate providing the proof of your admission to the course in a foreign university.

    • You schedule of expenses for the course.

    • Copies of letter confirming you scholarship.

    • Copies of permit for foreign exchange, in case it is applicable.

    • Two recent passport size photographs.

    • Statement of your bank account for the last six months.

    • Your income tax assessment order which should not more than two years old.

    • A brief statement of your assets and liabilities.

    Article by Kalyani
    Kalyani is basically an educationist and presently a home-maker who is fruitfully utilizing her free time in freelancing, online content writing and above all blogging. She is an active lead editor at for over 2 years. She is an environmentalist who strives to protect the environment through the revival of age-old eco-friendly practices. She also strives to preserve the rich cultural heritage of India.

    Follow Kalyani or read 226 articles authored by Kalyani


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