5 Benefits of Merit-Based Scholarships

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Scholarships are a form of financial aid awarded to students to help with the cost of higher education. Starting a new career path isn’t all that rosy as there are lots of expenses tied to it. From application fees to tuition to accommodation, to the book cost, feeding, field trips where necessary, assignment expenses and the list goes on. There seems to be something you need to do that’ll cost you money every day. For students who aren’t working or getting any support from family and friends, it is almost impossible to meet up, hence the need for a sponsor. 

Sometimes, students apply for grants, fellowships, assistantships, or scholarships to help them with the cost of their education while they are in school. While grants, fellowships, and scholarships often don’t require that students perform any service in return, assistantships do not work that way. It is often expected that the students help a professor out while also enjoying the attached benefits. 

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Additionally, student loans are another way students can get money to fund their education. For student loans, the loan provider may disburse the amount directly to the school’s account. The students aren’t also forced to pay back immediately as payment can span for as long as 5 to 10 years depending on the agreement with the loan service provider. 

Whatever means it takes to fund your education, you should do it at all costs. Just ensure that it is legal. However, in this article, we will succinctly examine the benefits of applying for merit-based scholarships and the available merit-based scholarships you can apply for as an international student.

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What Is A Merit-based Scholarship?

As the name implies, merit-based scholarships are provided to students who exhibit a high level of academic achievement in a defined area. It could be in academics, athletics, arts, or any other area. 

Generally, there are different types of scholarships and their aim is the same. That is, to help students with the cost of their education. However, need-based scholarships are solely based on people facing financial difficulty.  

Read also: The Role Of Scholarships In Encouraging STEM Education

Types of Merit-based scholarships

There are different types of merit-based scholarships. They include: 

1. Academic scholarships: they are funded by either the university or a private organization and are often given to students who give excellent grades. 

2. Sports scholarships: this type of scholarship is often competitive and is best for athletic students who want to study in the United States. 

3. Average academic performance scholarships: before this type of scholarship is awarded, the student’s overall performance is often put into consideration. Other aspects apart from academics like extracurriculars, community service, joining a group, and other things are considered before the scholarship is awarded.  

5 Benefits of Merit-based scholarships

Additionally, there are different benefits international students stand to enjoy when they apply for and secure merit-based scholarships. Some of them include: 

1. Access to Quality Education:

The provision of scholarships often provides students the opportunity to pursue their higher education at high-ranking colleges or universities. Generally, some students are exceptional but unfortunately, they are limited as they might be unable to fund their education or have family members who will sponsor them. The availability of merit-based scholarships provides them the opportunity to access university education at no cost and enables them to maximize their experiences. 

2. It brings recognition and prestige

Oftentimes, merit-based scholarships, especially the academically inspired ones often infer some form of prestige on its recipient. Scholarships are difficult to get. It’s not as easy as spreading butter on bread as there will always be thousands of people vying for the same spot. So, anyone who can win it is awarded some respect and recognition. Additionally, this motivates the recipient to work harder and to make a more groundbreaking impact. 

3. Career Opportunities

Not only do merit-based scholarships help you explore a new country, but they are also useful to individuals who want to explore a new field. There are different types of merit-based scholarships available and some of them are strictly based on an area of specialization. Additionally, in many developing countries, the educational sector is not as advanced and developed as other countries, so there are limited opportunities to explore. However, securing a merit-based scholarship provides you the opportunity to explore fields and career paths that are unavailable in your home country. You get access to in-depth research, learn with state-of-the-art facilities, and increase your knowledge. It also doesn’t end there. On getting to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained, you’ll be ahead in the job market while trying to apply for one. 

Read also: Scholarships For Women In Male-Dominated Fields

4. Reducing Student Debt

It is a fact that access to merit-based scholarships helps students with the cost of their education. This in turn leads to a reduction in the debts students incur when they go to school. When scholarships are available, the option of students working for money or applying for student loans will not be in the equation as they have free sponsorship to pursue their education. 

5. Financial Relief

Securing a merit-based scholarship will help reduce the financial burden education brings both on parents who act as sponsors and individuals who are sponsoring themselves. Imagine having to study while worrying about the bills you have to pay. You certainly wouldn’t concentrate in class and this can lead to earning lower grades. 

Furthermore, depending on the benefits offered in the scholarships, some are designed to cover the whole cost of your education including flight tickets, tuition, accommodation, and even a monthly stipend for you. Others have different benefits that vary. Some might cover only tuition or half of it. Whether it’s a fully funded scholarship or a partly funded one, the fact remains the same. Scholarships help reduce the financial burden that comes with getting an education. 

Furthermore, some of the additional benefits attached to merit-based scholarships include the reduction of student loans, meaning students will not have to take loans or borrow to fund their education. Also, students will have the opportunity for growth and self-development. They will also be able to network with like-minded people. 

Merit-based scholarship opportunities available for international students

Below are some merit-based scholarship opportunities available for international students who want to study abroad:

Government scholarships

1. Chevening Scholarships (UK)

Chevening scholarships are funded by the government of the United Kingdom and they are open to students from different nationalities. They are awarded to students with leadership potential. They cover tuition fees, living expenses, and a return flight ticket among other benefits.

2. Fulbright Foreign Student Program (USA)

The Fulbright scholarship program is open to intern students who want to study in the United States for a minimum of one year. It is also a fully funded scholarship that covers tuition, airfare, and living expenses among other benefits

3. Eiffel Excellence scholarship program (France)

The Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France. It is open to international students who want to pursue a master’s or post-doctoral degree in the country. It doesn’t cover tuition fees but it covers other costs like a monthly stipend, social security cover, return trip, etc. 

4. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Canada)

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships is open to international students who wish to pursue their master’s and postdoctoral degrees in universities in Canada. It is worth as much as $50,000 yearly and spans for 3 years.

5. Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships (Switzerland)

Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships is open to graduates across any field who want to pursue a postgraduate degree in Switzerland. The scholarship covers a monthly stipend, tuition, and health insurance among other benefits.  

Read also: 20 Fellowships In The USA For Graduate International Students – Open Every Year

University Scholarships

1. Gates Cambridge Scholarships (UK)

They are awarded to outstanding applicants who want to pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge. It is a fully funded scholarship.

2.  Macquarie University Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarships (Australia) 

It is a partly funded scholarship, unlike the Gates Cambridge scholarship. It is offered to international students at both undergraduate and graduate levels at the Macquarie University North Ryde campus. The scholarship amount sums up to AUD$10,000

3. ETH Excellence Scholarships (Switzerland)

This scholarship is open to Master’s students who want to study at ETH Zurich. It covers the tuition fee and also gives students a monthly stipend to cover their expenses. 

4. Rhodes Scholarships (UK)

The Rhodes Scholarship is probably one of the oldest scholarship opportunities open to international students. It is a post-graduate scholarship that covers the cost of education for international students at the University of Oxford. 

5. University of Maastricht Scholarships (Netherlands)

The scholarship is open to outstanding students from countries outside the EU/EEA. It is a fully funded scholarship for students who want to pursue their master’s program at the Maastricht University in the Netherlands. 

What do merit-based scholarships cover?

The benefits of merit-based scholarships often differ. However, scholarships typically cover some or all of the following areas:

  • Tuition
  • Book costs
  • Flight fare
  • Accommodation
  • Monthly stipend/living expenses. 

Read also: How To Get A Canadian Visa Without Travel Agents?

Important tips needed to apply for STEM Scholarships

Additionally, when it comes to scholarships, whether for international students in STEM or otherwise, there are always specific requirements the sponsor expects. This differs according to the type of scholarship you are applying for. However, some important tips to take note of when applying for a scholarship in the STEM field include:

  1. Identify the specific discipline you want to major in before going ahead to apply for the scholarship. This is important because there are some scholarships open to some specific disciplines. You will look unserious applying for a scholarship you do not wish to major in. 
  2. You can look out for scholarships that are open to your particular discipline. 
  3. Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements. Additionally, ensure that you provide all the information that is requested.
  4. Moreover, do not forget the deadline. Make sure you submit your application before the deadline.
  5. Get someone to help proofread your application. Do not forget to double-check it to ensure all the answers are accurate.
  6. Reach out to other people who have applied before to get important tips that can aid your application process.

Start With Us

Do you desire to start a career in STEM? The first thing is to pursue a degree in STEM. Wondering how to go about pursuing a postgraduate degree in STEM courses abroad? We can guide you through your journey and make your dreams come true. Reach out to us at EdXtra to access opportunities that will help you on your journey

Enrolling in the top universities in the world can increase your chances with employers. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive to study abroad due to the current economic crisis. But this shouldn’t limit you as there are other options you can explore to enhance your career. 

MPower Finance and Prodigy Finance are some of the best student loan providers for international students. They also do not require any cosigner or collateral before application. At EdXtra Associates, we can help you with your loan application process. We also provide educational consultancy services for international students to help make your journey easier and faster. You can reach out to us, as we’d love to guide you through this journey.