RP Insights: Comprehensive List of US Universities that Provide Financial Aid and Scholarships for International Students

RoundPier Team

There is plenty of incorrect information online about financial aid and scholarships for international students. A number of websites claim to provide scholarships, but do not and even when they do it is a small fraction of your tuition cost. There are forums stating foreign students have little to no chance of receiving financial aid, which is inaccurate. This article, which is updated periodically, is meant to be a resource for all international students looking for accurate information and an up-to-date list of top US universities with their OFFICIAL policies for international students.

This master list, provided to you and updated by the team at RoundPier, consists of universities that can cover up to 100% percent of a student’s financial need. Some will cover more than tuition and accommodation including dining, books, travel, etc. These colleges claim that their financial aid package mostly consists of grants that do not have to be repaid, work-study and loans. Please note that the list is not necessarily complete and there are cases where a school, which we do not mention here, can provide a full ride to a student but our goal was to find colleges that consistently provide significant amount of support to non-US students.

Before going into details some important myths to debunk about international admissions:

  • “Only few top colleges provide financial aid to international students”: this is not true. There are close to 60 colleges that can provide full or close to full rides based on our list (and there are more)
  • “You have to be world class to get into a US university with financial aid”: well, it does not hurt if you have a medal from some International Olympiad but there are well over 5,000 students getting in and receiving either full or very significant financial aid.
  • “Surely, I can get into second tier US college with my stats and extracurricular activities”: there is no such thing as a “safety” school for international students requiring financial aid. Even if your SAT and GPA are well above the range of a particular college, do not expect to get in and receive financial aid as many colleges base their decision on resources available to the applicant. For example, a student with a lower SAT score from a region where even taking a test is an issue may have an advantage over others.
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Before looking at this list it is critical you understand the specific terms regarding financial aid. There are different types of aid given to incoming students: need-based, merit-based, athletic scholarships, music scholarships etc. Among these types, “need-based” is of particular interest since many leading US colleges only offer need-based aid. This is the type of financial aid that is given based on one’s family financial circumstances. It all depends on one’s financial need; if one needs more money, one would be given more to cover his/her expenses (of course after official proof of one’s family’s finances are submitted).

There is however important distinction to be made between “need-based” and “need-blind”. If a school claims itself to be “need-based”, this means your ability to pay does affect their decision to admit you. In other words, if you cannot pay for school, you would be at disadvantage compared to another student with same academic credentials as your but can pay for the school. But that does not mean you have zero chance to get admitted as even need-based schools admit a lot of bright students with financial needs into their institution. On the other hand, if a school claims itself as “need-blind”, this means your ability to pay or not does not affect your chances of admittance. There are very few schools that are need-blind for international students. In our list we indicated whether a school is need-based or need-blind under the “Financial aid type” column.


Earning admission to a university that will generously cover most or all of your expenses is no easy task. There are universities that actively seek to increase their international student population with the belief that diverse minds coming together is a benefit to all. Therefore, these schools invest millions of dollars to enroll students across the globe. We try to search for the amount of aid universities give to their international students through various sources. The average amount of aid an international student could expect to receive is included in this list.

Sources: university websites, CollegeBoard, internationalstudent.com