Education is an expensive proposition, all the more so if you happen to desire to study abroad. The average cost of attending a post-graduate program is US$ 30,000 per academic year, and it can be even more for a private college. With this cost only rising every year, it is not unusual for a student to fund his education through some combination of personal savings, family contributions, student loans and grants.
The last of these – education grants – are a very important component of a student’s funding options.
Grants can be of several types:
- Federal / Government grants
- College and University Grants
- Grants from NGO’s
- Grants from professional associations
In India, Government grants for overseas study are limited. However, when it comes to study abroad, there are a few University and NGO-level grants that can be very useful for an aspiring student.
The Fulbright-Nehru fellowship is among the most prestigious in India. These are given to deserving students for a wide range of programs including Masters and PhD program. This covers costs including the visa, travel and tuition as well as living expenses, though it does come with a rider that it may not cover the complete cost. It is available to those who have completed a graduate degree with at least 55% marks and have at least 3 years of work experience in a field relevant to the course sought to be pursued.
There are restrictions on the courses for which the Fulbright-Nehru fellowship may be availed, full details are available at the website http://www.usief.org.in/Fulbright-Nehru-Fellowships.aspx
This program is restricted to studies in the USA.
The Rotary Foundation offers grants for study outside India in any city that has a host Rotary Club. It is available for graduate and post-graduate courses and covers all expenses including visa, medical expenses, household expenses and tuition.
The Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation is another organisation that covers overseas education expenses for eligible candidates. Grants are restricted to certain courses, and for details candidates are advised to go through the foundation’s website at http://inlaksfoundation.org/inlaks-scholarship.aspx
The Commonwealth scholarship and fellowship plan is for PhD programmes upto 3 years in duration. It covers travel, tuition and living expenses. It is available only for studies in the United Kingdom.
The GREAT Scholarship is another UK-only scheme offered by the British Council in India. There are 300 scholarships available every year, mostly for post-graduate studies. These include Engineering, Law, Business, Art & Design, Biosciences, IT and more.
Cambridge University offers the Gates scholarship for students pursuing a PhD, MSc or MLitt at any of the colleges within Cambridge University. There are only 55 slots open worldwide for this scholarship, however, which makes it a difficult one to qualify for.
Last but not least is the Rhodes scholarship, perhaps the most prestigious in the world. Sponsored by Cecil Rhodes, it was the first of its kind when established in 1902. The Rhodes scholarship is available for non-British students to pursue their studies at Oxford. There are five slots for Indian students available each academic year.
A number of other trusts also offer grants of varying amounts, however the most prominent and comprehensive ones have been named above. In addition, colleges and universities offer course-specific grants for financially needy students.
For those planning to apply for overseas studies, do not fail to explore all these options in pursuit of your academic dreams.