This article will give you the list of universities where international undergraduate students can study for free in the USA. The three main types of funding that you typically get are:-
- Financial Aid – which is need based
- Athletic Scholarships – which are for top athletes and
- Merit Scholarships
In this article I have covered both financial aid and merit scholarships. First, let me share with you the basis on which I have chosen these colleges
- Amount given per student – there are several hundreds of colleges that will offer you less than $10,000 as assistance. So, these colleges will finance either the full cost or at least the full tuition fee, which is about 80% of the total cost
- Number of awards given – I chose universities that financed many international students or had an instituted program for scholarships. In fact some of these colleges finance upto 500- 600 International students each year
- All these universities give aid or scholarship that allows students to graduate debt free. There is no loan component
- And finally, these universities are relatively higher up in the rankings because I know that those are the ones that really interest you. But a word of caution before I begin, these colleges are also some of the hardest institutions to be admitted to, with many of these schools accepting fewer than 10 – 15% of their applicants.
The list of the Top 10 US Universities where you study for free so read till the end to know about how to get scholarships for undergraduate students to study in USA for free
10. Williams College
This college is ranked within the top 100 colleges and is considered a very strong liberal arts college in the US. It is located on the east coast between New York and Boston and they gave full financial aid to about 50-100 international students last year.
Williams college states that it is a need-blind college and nearly 60 percent of Williams’ international students receive financial aid from the college of an average amount of $60,000 annually.
9. Columbia University
Columbia is an ivy league university, ranked amongst the top 20 universities in the world and is in New York City.
They are very generous with financial aid having given $13m in international financial aid to undergraduates. However, Columbia is ‘Need aware’. However, if you are highly qualified and they select you, then they are very generous with aid. They guarantee to meet 100% of all demonstrated financial need for all four years, regardless of citizenship.
8. University of Chicago
U Chicago is ranked in the top 10 universities in the world and consistently feature on the list of colleges that gives the largest sums of money to international undergrad students
Like Columbia, UChicago is also ‘Need aware’. However, if you are highly qualified and they select you, then they are very generous with aid and usually finance the tuition fee, cost of living, books and personal expenses.
In addition to financial aid, UChicago offers Merit scholarships are partial-tuition scholarships that may be a single lump-sum award, or a renewable annual award. Merit scholarships are considered independently of an applicant’s financial situation and all first-year applicants are automatically considered for merit scholarships; no additional application is required.
7. Amherst College
Amherst College is one of the top 25 colleges in the US and is in the state of Massachusetts. They are a ‘need blind’ school and typically grant 50 – 100 scholarships averaging $50,000. Over 50% of their student body is on some scholarship.
6. Washington University at St Louis
Wash-U is ranked within the top 100 universities and is especially strong in the Life Sciences and Medicine category. St Louis is in the state of Missouri and offers two large scholarship programs for international students –
- Annika Rodriguez Scholars Program
- Danforth Scholars Program
Together, these programs offer about 50 scholarships which are merit based.
They are looking for students of exceptional merit who demonstrate academic and leadership achievements, as well as the passion for community service
Usually these programs ask for
- An application to Wash-U (preferably under early action)
- A separate application and essay for the scholarship
- An additional letter of recommendation
WashU will invite the finalists to campus for a weekend program and finance the visit sometime in March
Scholarships range from partial tuition fee to full tuition plus a $2500 stipend. And since these are merit scholarships, they are prestigious too.
5. Yale University
Yale is an ivy league university, ranked among the Top 15 Universities in the US and is in Blue Haven, Connecticut. They have a ‘need blind’ admission process and their website reads that Yale admits students without regard to their ability to pay and meets 100% of demonstrated financial need. For all students. Without loans.
They grant about 100 – 150 scholarships each year averaging $49,575
Students who have a family income of less than $65,000 (Rs. 45 lakhs) will have the entire cost financed, and this amount gradually reduces as the family income increases.
MIT is a top ranked university in the world located in Boston. Once again, they have a ‘need blind’ admission policy and for students with a family income under $80,000 (Rs. 56 lakhs), the Institute ensures that the student can attend MIT tuition-free. They gave about 300 to 400 scholarships at an average of $42,000. MIT works out a package of scholarships, loans and student jobs to ensure that 35% of the students are able to attend tuition free.
3. Princeton University
Another ivy league top ranked school with a need blind admission policy. Princeton is located in New Jersey and is ranked in the top 10 universities in the world. Typically, for families making up to $65,000 per year (Rs. 45 lakhs) the aid package covers full tuition, residential college fee, room and board and those with family incomes up to $160,000 (Rs. 1 crore 12 lakhs) typically pay no tuition.
Princeton gives approximately 400 – 500 scholarships each year to international students averaging $50,000 and almost 60 percent of undergraduates receive some financial aid.
For the Class of 2021, 100 percent of families making up to $180,000 (over Rs. 1 crore) per year qualified for some financial aid.
2. New York University
One of the best kept secrets is New York University’s Abu Dhabi Campus (NYUAD) which provides ‘need blind’ scholarships its diverse student body which is from over 100 different countries. Having one of the lowest acceptance rates it offers financial aid to almost the entire batch of 300 – 400 students of an average amount of $72,000. This includes tuition, foreign travel for study abroad programs, room and board, health insurance, personal expenses, books, and a stipend of about $2,200 p.a. Financial support may also include up to two tickets each year between Abu Dhabi and the student’s country of permanent residence. Given NYU’s global network an average NYUAD student travels across 10-20 countries during their four year stay and never takes any money from home during that period.
The only word of caution in these top universities is that admissions are extremely competitive.
NYU also offers generous financial aid and merit scholarships at the NYU Shanghai Campus. Recently, NYU offered the entire batch of students enrolled in the MD degree program at their School of Medicine, with a full scholarship regardless of their financial need or academic performance. The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, which this year amounts to $55,018 for all the 442 students enrolled.
NYU School of Medicine is the first top 10-ranked medical school to make tuition free
Harvard is a top ranked university in the world located in Boston. Once again, they have a ‘need blind’ admission policy and for students with a family income under $65,000 (Rs. 45 lakhs), the Institute ensures that the student can attend Harvard free. They gave about 500 – 600 scholarships at an average of $59,000
More than 20% of their student population pays nothing and 100% of the students graduate with zero debt
Families with incomes between $65,000 and $150,000 (45 lakhs to 1 crore) will contribute from 0-10% of their income, and those with incomes above $150,000 (1 crore) will be asked to pay proportionately more than 10%, based on their individual circumstances.
Policies are the same for all students irrespective of nationality