Top 5 Indian Government Scholarships to Study Abroad!

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Are you an Indian student who wishes to pursue a degree abroad? 

Achieving a global degree and experiencing a multicultural learning environment is a dream for the majority of Indian youth. While academics are the first prerequisite for a study-abroad plan, the other important factor is funding. A significant proportion of students hesitate to pursue their studies abroad due to a lack of adequate funds. 

You’ll be delighted to learn that the Indian government provides several scholarships to help Indian students seeking rewarding career opportunities abroad. Especially for female students, and for students from socially disadvantaged communities, there are extra privileges promised by the government. 

We have done exhaustive research on 5 top Indian government scholarships that you must keep in mind while submitting your applications. The list is organised based on the type of funding and preferred study location.

Indian Government Scholarships

Types of Indian Government Scholarships

There are a variety of scholarships available for different levels of students. The right research and preparation can help you obtain the best of them. Scholarships for studying abroad are mainly divided into the following categories:

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Top 5 Indian Government Scholarships to Study Abroad!
  • Merit-Based: Here, a student’s academic record or achievements in extracurricular activities, such as sports or community service, decide the eligibility and award. An applicant with higher academic excellence is preferred for this type of scholarship.
  • Student-Centric: Some scholarships are based on the student’s gender, colour, religion, family, etc. Some countries or institutions can also consider scholarships based on a particular medical history or condition.
  • Based on Destination: Several government agencies, governments, and universities award scholarships and funding to students from a specific country. For example, the New Zealand and the United Kingdom governments offer fellowships for overseas students from Commonwealth countries, which includes India as well. 
  • For Specific Subjects: Students who wish to pursue a specific subject/program of study may be eligible for grants from certain universities and institutions. For example, if a student wants to study MBA, they can get a scholarship from institutions providing the same for this particular category.
  • According to Needs: These scholarships are awarded based on the student’s financial situation and are aimed at financially challenged students. To obtain these types of scholarships, you may be asked to furnish your family’s income details and submit documents like ITRs, employment certificates, income proofs, etc.
  • For Athletes: This type of scholarship scheme is only available to the best athletes. The grants require you to participate in rigorous training and represent your university at tournaments while balancing your studies.

While applying for your preferred university, list the scholarships that you are eligible to apply for, and filter them accordingly. 

Top 5 Indian Government Scholarships

The Department of Higher Education, a division of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, India is responsible for handling the scholarship application and approval process. 

Not all the scholarships in the list are provided by the Indian government alone; some are fully sponsored while others are partially sponsored. The majority of the awards are for advanced degrees such as research, master’s, and doctoral degrees. However, some of them are applicable to study abroad after 10th and 12th. 

1. Agatha Harrison Memorial Fellowship

Agatha Harrison Memorial Fellowship is a fully funded Government scholarship, which is provided for a single student. The scholarship is specifically for one candidate to study at St. Antony College, Oxford University London

Scholarship TypeAmountSubject
Merit-based INR 26,78,566History, Economics, Political/Social Science

The fellowship is administered by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) of India. It primarily targets students who are aspiring to pursue their academic careers in the field of social science. 

2. Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship

The Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship is an Indian government scholarship to study abroad. It helps excellent Indian students, who wish to pursue a Master’s degree at one of the top universities in the United States. 

Scholarship TypeAmountSubject
Merit-based Fully-funded All Master’s Programs 

The Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship is a fully-funded scholarship. So it covers your tuition fee, living costs, travel allowance, and health expenditure as well. 

Besides this, the Indian government also partners with the same foundation to provide other scholarships as well. These include:

  • Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship for Indian PhD students
  • Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships for Indian PhD students

3. Dr Ambedkar Scheme of Interest Subsidy on Educational Loans for Overseas Studies

The scheme aims to provide interest subsidies to meritorious students of Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Economically Backward Classes (ECW) with interest subsidies. The purpose is to help students pursue higher education overseas and build a better life.

Scholarship TypeAmountSubject
Need-based Subsidy All Master’s Programs 

This is a need-based scheme, providing subsidies for students, who are paying education loans for overseas studies.  

4. National Overseas Scholarship for SC Students

This is one of the prominent Indian government scholarships to study abroad, helping an Indian student from a Scheduled Caste to go abroad and study. There are 100 awards given in a year. Similar to this, there is another scholarship meant for students of the Scheduled Tribe category, but the number of seats awarded in this one is only 20.

Scholarship TypeAmountSubject
Student-centric INR 10,23,093 (UK)
INR 12,81,543 (US)
Master’s & PhD

Apart from the annual maintenance allowance mentioned above, the scheme also provides a contingency allowance of INR 124825 for the US and INR 113677 for the UK. In addition, the scholarship also covers tuition fees, visa fees, medical insurance, and Incidental Journey

SC students can apply for this Indian government scholarship to study abroad courses in management, pure and applied sciences, medicine, agricultural sciences, commerce, accounting, and finance.

5. Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarship

The Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships were established in 1976, and since then, it has been awarding grants to talented Indian students. This fellowship is available to those who intend to pursue an MPhil, Masters, or Doctoral programme in the United Kingdom, the United States, or Europe.

Scholarship TypeAmountSubject
Merit-based INR 83,21,870Liberal Arts & Humanities 

The application commences in March 2024. 

Application Procedure for Indian Government Scholarships

Now let us look at the application procedure for Indian government scholarships to study abroad. When choosing your preferred scholarship, fellowship, grant, or other financial aid to study abroad, the eligibility requirements are the first necessity to check. You can only proceed with the remaining steps if you fulfil the eligibility criteria. Once you satisfy the entry requirements, you can start preparing the essential documents for your application.

Eligibility Criteria for Indian Government Scholarships

The eligibility requirements for Indian government scholarships vary from each other. For example, the entry requirement for a merit-based scholarship is excellent academic scores, whereas a student-based scholarship prioritises the socio-economic status of the student. However, the most common criteria for the majority of Indian government scholarships are as follows:

Academic Excellence: The minimum score required for a scholarship varies from each other. However, in general, most financial aid asks for an excellent academic background. 

Financial Background: You will have to provide reasons, and supporting documents to prove that, you cannot afford to study abroad without any financial aid.

Before starting with your application, read the eligibility requirements for the scholarship and consider them accordingly. 

Documents Required for Indian Government Scholarships

The documents required for your scholarship can vary depending on the scheme, country, university, or program you are applying to. The general requirements are given below. 

1. Class 10th Board Certificate

2. Caste/Community Certificate

3. Photograph

4. Scanned Signature

5. Your Address proof (current & permanent)

6. Qualifying Degree/Provisional Certificate

7. Mark sheet of qualifying examination

8. Valid Document regarding admission to a Foreign University

(Application, Registration or Admission related document)

9. Income Certificate

10. NOC Certificate if the applicant is employed. 

11. Gap certificate 

12. ITR acceptance document.

You can visit the official website of your preferred scholarship to learn more about the document requirements, and other updated information regarding the scheme. 

Difference Between Scholarships & Student Loan

The most significant distinction between student loans and scholarships is that student loans require repayment after the successful completion of degrees. Student loans are a type of financial aid that a bank or other financial institution lends to the beneficiary based on several factors. Scholarships, on the other hand, are grants forwarded to a deserving candidate based on academic performance or other achievements (sports, extracurriculars, etc.).

Student loans can be obtained from the government bodies or major banks. Most banks, however, offer these loans at a very high interest rate which may not be feasible for students. This is where collateral-free loans provided by various organisations come in. The advantage of taking a collateral-free loan over a traditional student loan is that these loans can be secured without a guarantee or pledge. 

Final Thoughts

Scholarships, fellowships, and other financial aid are the go-to solutions for your financial burdens while opting to study abroad. The best part is you won’t have to pay the money back. Scholarships and grants are similar and they are mostly provided based on a student’s needs, merit, and social status.

Indian government scholarships are initiatives that are adopted to ensure that the students of India get a chance to study in foreign universities. The registration and approval process for getting into a scholarship program might be rigorous. Still, for those who can complete the formalities and obtain the grant, every part of the process will be worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Can I study abroad for free?

    A. If you wish to study abroad with less expense, then you can apply for a scholarship, fellowship, or grant. The financial aid provided for each country, program, and university might vary from each other. You can also avail of Indian government scholarships to study abroad. Check out the scholarships provided for your study-abroad destination and plan accordingly.

  • Q. Are there private scholarships to study abroad?

    A. Yes, apart from the Indian government scholarships, there are other private study abroad scholarships you can apply for. Some of them are:

    – Orange Tulip Scholarship Programme: To study in Holland
    – Great Wall Program: Set up by the Chinese government and UNESCO for students and scholars from developing countries to study in China.
    – JN Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians: For Indian students, looking for PhD or Postdoctoral studies overseas in countries like the USA, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Ireland, and other European countries.

  • Q. Which Indian government scholarship to study abroad is best for me?

    A. The best international scholarships for you depend on your requirements and needs. Choose the best one, align your study degree, the country where you want to study, and the institute. Opt for a grant that caters specifically to your institution and country. Other factors to consider while choosing your scholarships for studying abroad by Indian government after graduation are your financial background, social status and academic record.

  • Q. Is it possible to get scholarships for Indian students to study abroad?

    A. Yes, Indian students can study abroad with scholarships. Some of the most popular Indian government scholarships for studying abroad 2023 are:

    – The JN Tata Endowment – Higher Education of Indians
    – Tata Scholarship for Cornell University
    – Lady Meherbai D Tata Education Scholarship
    – Scholarships by the Council on International Educational Exchange
    – Future of Change India Scholarship 
    – DLD Executive

  • Q. Do I have to spend money after obtaining a scholarship?

    A. A scholarship primarily covers tuition fees and living costs. Some might also cover travel, insurance costs, and a few other expenses. Although scholarships cover your primary costs, you might be required to spend on some other expenses on your own. This includes your personal needs and other special necessities.

  • Q. Can I get a scholarship to study in the UK?

    A. Yes, it is possible to get a scholarship to study in the UK. Some of the scholarships are:

    – Rhodes Scholarships
    – Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships
    – Erasmus Mundus
    – Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship
    – Chevening Scholarships
    – Vice Chancellor’s International Scholarships

  • Q. Which is the best country to study abroad in?

    A. Some of the best countries to study abroad are the US, the UK, France, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Countries such as the U.S., UK, and Canada have the largest number of Indian students in their educational institutions. A significant reason for this is the increased quality of education and the diversity of programs provided by the universities of these countries.

  • Q. Can I study in America for free?

    A. Yes, you can study in America with less expense. For this, you have to apply for scholarships, fellowships, grants, or other financial aid. Some scholarship for abroad studies are

    1. American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship
    2. AAUW International Fellowships in USA for Women
    3. Fully-funded Rotary Peace Fellowships
    4. Fulbright – Nehru Fellowships

  • Q. Is the Indian government providing scholarships to study abroad?

    A. Yes, the Government of India provides numerous scholarships to help its students to study abroad. Some of the government scholarship for abroad studies are 

    – Inlaks Shivdasani Scholarships
    – Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship
    – Dr Ambedkar Scheme of Interest Subsidy on Educational Loans for Overseas Studies
    – JN Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians
    Great Scholarships

  • Q. What are the top scholarships to study Master’s abroad?

    A. Some of the top scholarships to study Master’s abroad are:

    1. Narotam Sekhsaria Scholarships
    2. Hani Zeini Scholarship
    3. Young Women in Public Affairs Awards
    4. K.C. Mahindra Scholarships For Post-Graduate Studies Abroad
    Unimoni Student Stars 2023

  • Q. What are the top scholarships offered to study abroad after 10th?

    A. Some of the top scholarships that provide funds for students to study abroad after 10th include: 

    – Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES) 
    – Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX)
    – Host Family Scholarships
    – Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (CBYX) 
    – Baltic-America Freedom Foundation (BAFF) Leadership Academy

  • Q. How do I apply for a scholarship with the Indian government?

    A. You can apply for scholarships for studying abroad by Indian government online, via the official website of the Ministry of Human Resources. Keep an eye on the opening of the applications and apply quickly to grab your spot successfully. Do not wait for the deadline. Try to prepare the necessary documents beforehand. 

Jhansi Rani

Jhansi Rani is an experienced overseas education counsellor and specializes in helping students choose the right academic path in the USA.

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