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5 Top Indian Government Scholarships To Fund Your Study Abroad Dream

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

You’ll be delighted to learn that the Indian government provides several scholarships to help Indian students seeking rewarding career opportunities abroad. We have done exhaustive research on 7 top Indian government scholarships that you must keep in mind while submitting your applications. The list is organised by the type of funding and preferred study location.

indian government scholarships to study abroad

Overview of Indian Government Scholarships

Studying abroad requires two things, merit and money to support your dream. When it comes to merit and scoring good marks, everyone needs to work hard. But if funding is an issue, you can always rely on a few sources of external support to sponsor your degree at a foreign institute.

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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5 Top Indian Government Scholarships To Fund Your Study Abroad Dream
  • 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 the 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.
  • For Specific Subjects: Students who wish to pursue a specific subject 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.

Top 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; 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.

1. Agatha Harrison Memorial Fellowship

Under this fellowship, which the government entirely funds, an Indian student is placed at St. Antony College, Oxford University London, for an academic year.

  • Type of Scholarship: Merit
  • Total Amount Funded: £ 29,944.85
  • Subjects: History, Economics, and Political/Social Science

2. Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship

The Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships is an Indian government scholarship to study abroad and help excellent Indians who wish to pursue a master’s degree at one of the United States’ top universities.

  • Type of Scholarship: Merit
  • Amount or Type of Expenses: Tuition, living costs, travel allowance, health cover.
  • Subjects: All (only Masters)

Besides this, the Indian government also partners with the same foundation to provide scholarships in other subjects and courses. 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 Loan 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 the students pursue higher education overseas and build a better life.

  • Type of Scholarship: Need-based
  • Amount or Type of Expenses: Provides subsidies on interest payable by students during the study period.
  • Subjects: All subjects; Master’s degrees.

These are some of the significant Indian government scholarships to study abroad. Besides them, you can also explore some of the private-run scholarships and fellowship programmes run by private organisations for international students aimed at helping them with study fees and other expenses. These are:

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

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.

  • Type of Scholarship: Student-centric
  • Amount or Type of Expenses: Tuition fees, cost of books, airfare, and living costs.
  • Subjects: Engineering, Technology, and Science (for ST students). 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 awarded grants to talented Indian students. This fellowship is available to those who intend to pursue MPhil, Masters, or Doctoral programmes in the United Kingdom, the United States, or Europe.

  • Type of Scholarship: Merit-based
  • Amount or Type of Expenses: Provides a maximum support of INR 72,000 that covers tuition, accommodation & one-way travel allowance.
  • Subjects: Liberal Arts & humanities

Difference Between Scholarships & Student Loan

The most significant distinction between student loans and scholarships is that student loans require repayment after 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, is a grant 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 organisations such as Leap Finance 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.

Leap Finance helps students fund their foreign education with a lesser interest rate. So you can focus on your education. Find more information on collateral-free loans here.

indian government scholarships to study abroad


Scholarships represent a much-needed gift for students and candidates who want to study abroad. The best part is they 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 covers almost every subject, types of degree, and every category of student. 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

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

The best international scholarships for you depends on your requirements and needs. To 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.

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

You can apply for a government of India-provided scholarship to study abroad online via the Ministry of Human Resource website. Keep an eye on the opening of the applications and apply quickly to grab your spot successfully.

Do I have to spend money after obtaining a scholarship?

A scholarship primarily covers tuition fees and living costs. Some might also cover travel, insurance costs, and a few other expenses. But you may not find a single scholarship that will sponsor every expense you will have to undertake while studying abroad. So, yes, you will have to spend out of pocket even after securing a scholarship.

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Kanika Singh

Kanika took a detour from academics for the corporate world. Now she works as a senior editor specialising in content creation, marketing, and strategy.

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