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How To Fund Undergraduate Studies Abroad: Scholarships And Other Alternatives

Often times when people talk about funding their education, it is usually a conversation directed towards those who have finished their undergraduate studies and have acquired some skill that will benefit the organization/institution funding their program. There is little to no information for prospective or current undergraduate students looking to fund their program so it is easy to think that these opportunities do not exist. Through this article, you will learn the different types of scholarship opportunities for undergraduate studies and how you can position your ward to access these scholarship opportunities.



Where You Can Find Funding Programs

Most of the institutions that offer scholarships are mostly public universities/colleges because they get subsidies from the government to supplement their education. Some countries like the U.S. offer numerous funding opportunities for international students while other countries like Norway, Austria, Germany, Finland, and Sweden offer different types of free/low tuition schemes and tuition waivers for international students. You should note that there are various criteria a student may have to meet in order to access the funds or waivers.


Programs That Attract The Most Funding

In recent times, there has been a heavy emphasis on STEM programs and this has led to the emergence of many attractive funding opportunities from around the world. STEM programs are essentially programs that are focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Following the trend of the economy, organizations are investing deeply into developing technology in their various locations. If your ward is a female interested in any of the STEM-related programs, there are even more funding opportunities available for them in STEM.


Medical programs are also one of the heavily funded programs for undergraduate studies. Just like STEM, there is an increased focus on medicine and health-related issues, leading to more funds being channelled to improving access to the relevant training needed to improve global health.


Types of Funding Available to Undergraduate Students

This article will review 6 of the numerous scholarship opportunities available to undergraduate students. It is interesting to note that there are many schools where you can combine more than one funding opportunity to support your stay in school.

  1. Scholarships: Scholarships are probably one of the commonest types of funding available to students, especially as there are no financial commitments to paying back the money given. Once a student meets the requirements laid out by the issuing institution, the scholarship is disbursed, and the student can carry on with their education. Some of the universities have requirements for when the scholarship recipient has commenced their studies, and an example is meeting a certain GPA every semester/year. The different sub-types of scholarships include:

    1. Merit-Based Scholarship: These are mostly based on previous academic or extra-curricular achievement/performances of the student.

    2. Targeted/Specific Scholarship: These scholarships are specific to personal charactersitics or a group of people. Common examples include women in STEM, African students, or indigenous students. These scholarships are not open to everyone and require very specific qualities in the students not be available to everyone.

  2. School Grants: Grants or bursaries as they are popularly called in the U.S are funding opportunities mostly need-based. This simply means that you need to prove that without this funding, you will not be able to continue your education. You also do not have to repay the grants.

  3. Student Loans: Student loans are also a very popular form of funding. These are usually the last resort that student go to when they have not been able to access other funding opportunities. In recent times, there have been a few organizations that are focused on financing African students. Each of these finance companies have their own specific requirements that you need to meet. One of such organizations is Mpower. You need to research these finance companies and review all the requirements and conditions before engaging them for a loan.

Why Should Schools Offer You a Scholarship/Funding?

One of the major reasons schools will offer you a scholarship will be because they want you to choose their school over the other schools that you may have applied to. Universities are searching for the next genius or the next outstanding person who will put their school on display. So, schools essentially do not just offer to fund anyone who has not stood out from the crowd one way or the other. Your ward then need to send in amazing application(s) for the school(s) to consider them for any available funding opportunity. If you are looking to secure funds for your ward's undergraduate study, it is important that the potential student has a balanced life.


Many guardians, particularly Africans, are particular about the grades of their wards and while that is important, every Tom, Dick and Harry is also doing the same generic thing. Most of these schools get a lot of applications from people who have great grades. The key to standing out is to create a robust extra-curricular lifestyle. The school is looking to see the applicant's passion for something, their zeal, and how dedicated they are to living a full life outside of classes and grades. Your ward needs to also consider extra-curricular activities like swimming, music, sports, clubs, groups, and volunteer work. Another very useful extra-curricular skill to have is a computer or coding skill. These skills can be exciting for universities to see and they immediately want to support, especially if the applicant is female. If the potential student can take on leadership roles like the prefect in their school, this can be another way to showcase their leadership skills.


Mature Students

Mature students are oftentimes neglected and a lot of focus is put on “fresh out of high school” students. If you are a mature student (20 years old and above) seeking to continue your education, we applaud you. If you need external funding opportunities for your study abroad, you are most likely more advantaged than a fresh high school graduate but you need to have gained relevant experience in the program that you are applying for. Your relevant experience will contribute to convincing the scholarship panel that you are passionate and capable of succeeding in your proposed program. Besides applying for undergraduate scholarships, we have another way to further improve your chances of getting funding as a mature student. You can consider a graduate program and take advantage of our Graduate School Application Bootcamp where you will learn how to stamp out trial and error and successfully apply for graduate scholarship opportunities.

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