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School of International Service Admissions

International Students: Additional Resources

American University’s Office of Merit Awards prepares AU students to compete for nationally competitive, merit-based scholarships and awards. They publicize major opportunities, select the university’s nominees, and provide intensive training to candidates. Although they are not a scholarship-finding service, they do maintain resources for students to research smaller or specialized merit-based grants not widely advertised to the university community. Search the National Scholarship Directory and Merit Awards Listings databases.

One fellowship administered by the Office of Merit Awards that is open to international students is the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Fellowship. This award funds all tuition toward a student's graduate or professional degree. Fellows also receive a generous stipend, which varies according to the level of financial need and demonstrated expenses. The competition is open to students in any field of study, and to international students as well as U.S. citizens. The deadline is February 1. Only college seniors planning to enroll full-time are eligible. Selection criteria: a minimum 3.0 GPA, academic achievement, leadership, volunteerism/public service, and participation in/appreciation for the arts and humanities.

In addition, the University also administers the Hart A. Massey Fellowship. This fellowship is awarded each academic year to one or more incoming Canadian students studying full-time at American University. The minimum award amount is $1,000. It is renewable for one year with satisfactory academic progress. This is a competitive award, and applicants must meet minimum University graduate admission requirements to be considered. Contact the graduate office in each school/college for an application. The deadline is February 1.

To be able to cover all academic and living expenses while studying in the United States, international students are strongly encouraged to seek funding opportunities outside the University by looking into the following options.

Online Grants and Scholarships Search

  • Academy for Educational Development (AED): AED administers a number of fellowship and scholarship programs for applicants from around the world, including the Presidential Scholarship Program (PSP), which funds Palestinian students’ pursuit of pre-academic training in the West Bank/Gaza and Master’s Degree studies in the United States.
  • Africa-America Institute (AAI): AAI administers a number of scholarship programs aimed at increasing higher education, professional training and skills-building opportunities for Africans. The programs include the Namibian Government Scholarship and the Rural Social Sciences Scholarship Fund.
  • America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, Inc. (AMIDEAST): AMIDEAST, a private, nonprofit organization that strengthens mutual understanding and cooperation between Americans and the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, administers a number of scholarship and fellowship programs, including the Cyprus-America Scholarship Program (CASP) sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
  • Education USA: A global network of more than 450 advising centers supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Education USA provides a comprehensive list of scholarship opportunities for students coming from different educational and ethnic backgrounds, students with special needs, as well as those interested in private loans.
  • Ford Foundation: Ford Foundation has a database of various grants for research and activities in the field of Asset Building and Community Development; Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom; Peace and Social Justice; and others.
  • Institute for International Education (IIE)’s Funding for U.S. Study Online: IIE’s new scholarship search engine allows students and scholars worldwide to search for grants, awards, scholarships and fellowships by country/region, area of study, location in the U.S., and name of program. IIE also administers a number of scholarship and fellowship programs designed specifically for international students, scholars, and professionals, such as the Fulbright Program and the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.
  • International Student Organization (ISO): a membership organization for international students who are currently studying in the USA, and for American students studying abroad. ISO provides a detailed list of grants and fellowships for various fields of study, including Middle Eastern studies, environmental and economic development, and social science.
  • Japan-Inter-American Development Bank Scholarship Program: Financed by the Japanese Government, this program awards scholarships to students from the Inter-American Development Bank's borrowing member countries to pursue master degree's studies at universities around the world in disciplines related to economic development.
  • Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP): This program is aimed at providing assistance to studies related to development at the master's level, in fields such as economics, health, education, agriculture, environment, natural resource management, or other development-related subject. Two years of full-time professional experience required, four to five years preferred. 
    Visit webpage for other eligibility criteria.
  • Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations Network: Soros Foundations are
    autonomous institutions established in particular countries or regions to initiate and support open society activities. The foundations consist of national foundations in 29 countries and provide a variety of grants pertaining to governance, law and justice, health, human rights, women, children and youth, and economic development, etc.
  • Organization of American States (OAS): Every year, OAS provides several hundred fellowships for graduate studies and research, fellowships for undergraduate studies at universities through the region and awards for specialized, short-term training at educational institutions and training centers in OAS Member and Observer States.
  • Peterson’s Find-a-School Search Engine: Peterson’s search engine now includes new scholarship search capability that allows international students to search through more than 170,000 scholarships, grants, and awards.  
  • Rotary International: Rotary International’s Humanitarian Grants Program provides several types of grants that address different service needs and funding options, such as the Volunteer Service Grants, the Health, Hunger, and Humanity Grants (3-H), and the Blane Community Immunization Grants.
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID): USAID offers a number of fellowship programs for individuals devoted to international development assistance, including the World Learning Democracy Fellows Program designed to help strengthen democratic institutions, programs, practices and activities in emerging and transitional democracies.
  • World Health Organization (WHO): WHO offers a number of research grants for initiatives aimed at the improvement of institutional development, material resources, and reproductive health. 

Loan Programs for International Students

International students may also be eligible for a number of private loans outside the University. Different loan programs may have different requirements for their applicants. Most of them would require a co-signer and/or Social Security Number and some form of satisfactory credit history. Please visit AU's International Student Scholar Services page on financial aid for international students for additional information.  

Other Support and Services for International Students

American University’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) provide a comprehensive list of services and resources for international students while ensuring compliance with federal regulations governing international educational exchange. Among many of the ISSS’ services are immigration advising and workshops; personal, academic, and financial counseling; outreach; international student orientation; Global Nomad services; and Ethnic and Nationality Club Advising. Prospective and current students who have questions about their visa status or financial documents should contact ISSS at 202-885-3350 or -3340, or email isss@american.edu.

The U.S. Department of State supports a network of Educational Advising/Information Centers around the world. These centers provide prospective international students with a list of services to facilitate their higher education and study opportunities in the United States, including document verification, translation, and pre-departure orientation, etc. Find a regional Educational Advising Center near you [offsite link]