Sources of Aid For International Students

No scholarship, grant, or other aid is available through the University of Washington's Office of Student Financial Aid for foreign students. Under federal and state regulations, an applicant for federal financial aid must be a United States citizen or permanent resident (green card) to be eligible for assistance.

The following are a few possible sources of financial assistance for international students.

The UW Graduate Funding Information Service (GFIS)

GFIS is a resource that current and admitted UW graduate students can use to find funding sources. Anyone seeking funding for their graduate education can start with their Funding Resource Guide, which contains valuable information and tips on sources of graduate funding. For students who are new to securing sources of funding, thoroughly exploring this guide is an excellent way to build a working understanding of the contemporary funding landscape; and checking out GFIS sooner rather than later can be the key to students finding the funding package that best fits their needs. GFIS recommends starting funding searches 9 to 12 months before award dates.

Study Abroad/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The best source of information on financial assistance for foreign study is Study Abroad, which is published every two years by UNESCO. This book is available at most libraries, some bookstores, or on the Internet through UNESCO’s web page. Study Abroad describes all the United Nations and various intergovernmental agency scholarships available. There are about 500 pages of detailed descriptions of scholarships offered by each country of the world, either for its own citizens to study somewhere else, or for people from somewhere else to come and study there. The book also contains information on specific courses of study offered by the universities and institutes of each country, specifically designed for, or available to people from other countries.

Other Print Funding Resources

We also recommend a book, "Funding for United States Study" from the Institute of International Education, which can be purchased on the web. In addition you may find "Peterson’s Scholarships for Study in the USA and Canada," and "Funding for United States Study: A Guide for International Students and Professionals," helpful. These publications are available for sale at

Web Funding Resources

There are a number of web sites that offer both general and funding information for international students. You may find the following sites helpful:

Resources for Female International Students

Female students may wish to apply for International Fellowships through the American Association of University Women. These fellowships are awarded for full-time study or research to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Selection criteria include outstanding academic ability, professional potential, and the importance of the field of study to changing the lives of women and girls in the country of origin. Both graduate and postgraduate study at accredited institutions are supported. Applicants must have earned the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree, must have applied to their proposed institution of study by the time of application. Contact the AAUW by writing to: AAUW Educational Foundation Department, 60 2201 N. Dodge St. Iowa City, IA 52243-4030; calling: 319/337-1716 ext. 60, or fill out a request for an application form on-line at

Other resources for women:

General Loan Assistance

The International Education Finance Corporation offers loans to international students who wish to study in the United States. Applicants need to have a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. The interest rate on these loans is a variable rate equal to the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate, which is comparable to the interest U.S. citizens pay on most educational loans. A guarantee fee of 6% is assessed, and the loans can be deferred for no more than 4 consecutive years while the student is enrolled in school. Before applying for this loan students will want to think seriously about whether their career plans in their country of origin will afford the resources to repay a loan, and whether the exchange rate between the currency in your country of origin and the U.S. dollar might affect their ability to repay. Please contact the International Educational Finance Corporation directly for more information at: 424 Adams Street, Milton, MA 02186 USA; tel. (617) 696-7840; email: Visit the International Education Finance Corporation website for more information.

Shih Loan Fund

A generous gift to the University from Mr. Jeff Shih resulted in the establishment of a loan fund for graduate students from Hong Kong, the Peoples Republic of China, and Taiwan. The following information describes the procedures by which students may be considered for a loan from one of these funds. Both short-term and long term loans are available.

Short term loans from the Shih Loan Fund are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Students may apply for a maximum of $2,500, repayable within six months. Due to demand, loans for more than $1,500 are made only in exceptional circumstances, and an individual student may obtain only two short-term loans during the course of their graduate career.

Departments may nominate students for the Shih long-term loan (with a maximum amount of $10,000). A letter from the student's chair or graduate program coordinator which describes the student's academic merit and any other special circumstances regarding the request should be sent to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. Only a few (2-3) loans at the full amount are available in any given, year, and usually commitments are made first to the first requests.

At the request of the donor, preference for loans from the Shih Fund will be given to students from the Peoples Republic of China and to students in the natural sciences or the professions. In addition, students who are receiving funding from the Chinese government are not eligible to participate in this loan program. These funds are for graduate students only. J.D. students are not eligible.

Other Possibilities

Students are encouraged to write to various foundations and organizations within their own country to inquire whether any scholarship or grant aid is available for studying outside of their country. Often aid from the home country or from organizations within the home country is an excellent resource for international students. Some examples of other resources include:

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