How to get a grant to study abroad


How to get a grant to study abroad? – This is perhaps one of the most popular questions related to foreign education. Studying abroad is expensive and accessible to a few, and if you add living expenses, then literally a few will be able to afford studying at a foreign university. With the help of grants and scholarships, getting an education abroad is available to anyone, however, it is not at all easy to get into the number of happy grant recipients! How to apply correctly? – We’ll explain in this article


“Any goals are achievable if you choose the right path and follow the plan” – such a philosophy of life I got from my grandfather, and in my life I was more than once convinced that it really works. With you Mr. Great, and today we are talking about receiving grants for foreign education. Studying in Europe or a prestigious American university has remained a pipe dream for many. “It’s very expensive”, “My family couldn’t afford it”, “Studying abroad is for the rich” are the most popular explanations why dreams of studying at a university abroad remain dreams. But the real reason is the focus on finding excuses, not opportunities. Grants for studying foreign students at the world’s leading universities have existed for a very long time, and the doors of prestigious universities have always been open for purposeful young people. Yes, getting a grant is not an easy task! But if, following the precepts of my grandfather, you develop a preparation strategy and strictly adhere to it, sooner or later you are guaranteed success!

What is a study grant? Types of financial assistance

A grant is one of the most popular terms when it comes to financial aid. Let’s deal with the definitions. So, a grant is a gratuitous subsidy for education or scientific or other research. Unlike scholarships, a grant is usually awarded as a lump sum. The amount of funding can cover not only the cost of education, but also the cost of living and feeding of a student, and even, in some cases, provides for some funds for personal needs during study.

Grants for education, as a rule, are allocated by government funds or educational organizations (often by the universities themselves), private foundations and NGOs, there is also a known practice when commercial organizations interested in highly qualified personnel in the future become grant givers.

The largest amount of grants is allocated to master’s and doctoral programs. Getting a grant for a bachelor’s program or language internships is more difficult.

Among the largest donors in the field of international education are:

In addition to grants, there are other types of financial assistance that can also be used, for example, scholarship programs such as:

Scholarship is a study scholarship that can cover up to 100% of the cost. Scholarships are divided into merit-based scholarship (scholarship for good academic performance) and need-based scholarship (scholarship for needy students);

Fellowships – scholarships for students who combine their studies with the work of teaching assistants and help in research;

Athletics scholarships – scholarships for athletes playing for university teams;

Assistantships – scholarships for students who cannot fully pay for their studies and work as compensation in various structures of universities (in a library, at a department, in a laboratory, etc.)


Who is eligible for grants?

Grant recipient requirements vary by program. Restrictions on age, citizenship, previous education and work experience are different for each individual grant.

Students from underdeveloped countries have the greatest chances for grants. This is understandable – young people from such regions especially need support.

General requirements for everyone:

  • good knowledge of the language in which to study, necessarily confirmed by international certificates (for example, IELTS);
  • excellent academic performance, high grade point average in a diploma or certificate;
  • availability of academic and professional letters of recommendation.

Due to the fact that receiving a grant is always a competition, the winner will be the candidate who in one way or another stands out from the competition. These can be both academic achievements that are understandable to everyone, and characteristics such as non-traditional views or belonging to national minorities.

How to get a grant to study abroad? General strategy

Of course, in any scholarship program there are lucky ones who will tell you that they ended up in a foreign university quite by accident – on the last day of applying, they learned about the competition, uploaded some documents that were at hand, and, voila, it worked! It happens! But rarely.

If you are determined to win a grant seriously, and success for you is not a favor of fortune, but a reward for your efforts, then strategy will be important for you. Applying for a bachelor’s degree abroad or completing a postgraduate study at a foreign university – any of these goals requires preparation.

First of all, you should decide where, in which country / countries you would like to study. It is worth taking care of this issue no later than 3-4 years before the expected start of training, because you have serious work ahead of you!

You should start by monitoring the study grants available in the country you are interested in. It is necessary to cover all possible programs – grants from foreign private and government funds, scholarships from the universities themselves.

After studying the requirements for candidates, you will receive a detailed plan of preparation and will be able to work out each criterion, for example, language requirements (learn English intensively or another language necessary for study), participation in research or publications, work experience in the specialty.

How to write a motivation letter to improve your chances

When applying for a grant, it is important to understand that the sets of documents of candidates are not much different from each other. A motivation letter will help you stand out from your competitors.

A big mistake when writing a statement of purpose is to focus on templates found on the Internet. Even if they are letters from students who received a scholarship to Cambridge! The uniqueness of the letter is an indispensable condition.

You need to think not as a candidate, but as a person who makes a decision to award a grant: how does this or that applicant differ from the rest, what benefit can he bring, why should he be preferred?

When applying for several grants, it is worth writing separate letters for each organization. Understanding the mission and goals of the grantor will help you draw up the right theses and find the keys to success.

Focus not on what studying abroad will give you, but on how you will be useful to the donor, the university or society as a whole, taking advantage of financial assistance.

It would be a big mistake to write that you are considering a grant as an opportunity to move to a residence permit abroad, or that you will be able to travel around Europe to your heart’s content while doing a Phd.

Numerous courses, including online programs from Western universities on popular platforms such as Cousera and others, will help you understand the intricacies of writing motivation letters.


Grants go to those who believe it is possible. Try, dare, make an effort, and you will definitely succeed! My grandfather repeated: “Diligence is the mother of success“, and the nanny of his sons often says: “Patience and work will grind everything.” The possibilities of the modern world are truly endless, and they definitely do not depend solely on the size of the wallet.  Great Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengor (the prototype of the protagonist of the film “The Man Who Knew Infinity“) ended up in Cambridge by simply writing a letter to a famous British professor!

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