Scholarships for Students from Low-Income Backgrounds: Breaking Barriers to Education

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Students from low-income backgrounds are not only the ones finding it difficult to sponsor their education. According to the Education Data Initiative, the student debt rate accumulation is gradually getting higher. Additionally, the average public university student borrows approximately $32,637 to attain a bachelor’s degree in the US. Unfortunately, students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds may not even have access to student loans, especially the ones that need a cosigner or collateral. This is the reason why there should be scholarship opportunities for student allows students to allow them to access quality education as every child and student deserves it. 

Before we consider the scholarship opportunities open for students from low-income backgrounds, take a few minutes to subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when a new post drops. 

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Why is Education Necessary

There’s a popular quote that says “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The importance of education cannot be overemphasized. There are many benefits students stand to enjoy when they decide to get an education. Some of them include.

Related: Scholarships For Arts And Humanities: Nurturing Creativity

1. Preparation for a new career path

Pursuing higher education puts a student’s future career into a better perspective. Students become certain about what they would like to become in the future. They are exposed to knowledge that will influence their decisions concerning careers and in turn the quality of the lives they would lead. 

2. Better quality of Life

Education sure does give students access to a better quality of life. Students who graduate from a university are treated with a different type of respect, especially when they can excellently put what they have learned into practice. They will be provided the opportunity to get better jobs, better salaries, and overall, also improve the quality of their lives. 

3. Education facilitates Personal growth

Additionally, another benefit of education is that it facilitates the personal growth and overall development of the students. Education improves the mental, physical, intellectual, social, and economic aspects of a man’s life. This is because the knowledge gained as a result of exposure to education improves every single aspect and builds a man to fit perfectly in and thrive in society. 

4. Networking

Finally, another benefit of education is that it allows students to network and make friends with people from diverse cultures in various income brackets. It is like a unifying factor that brings everyone together. Students will get to make friends and get exposure to the mindsets and other cultures of people to fill them with the bankruptcy of knowledge that they have about certain cultures or countries.  

Types of Scholarships

Generally, different types of scholarships exist there are different types of scholarships available for international students. These various types of scholarships are explained below:

1. Merit-based Scholarships: Merit-based scholarships are the ones based on merits. They are given to students strictly based on academic excellence. Types include: 

  • Academic scholarships: often given to students with high arcade, ic poerformance
  • Sports scholarships: this type of scholarship is open to students who want to improve upon a                                    competitive and is best for athletic students who want to study in the United States. 
  • Average academic performance scholarships: Other aspects apart from academics like extracurriculars, community service, joining a group, and other things are considered before the scholarship is awarded.  

2.  Need-Based Scholarships: To get this type of scholarship, the applicant/student must be able to demonstrate his/her financial need. They are often for people who aren’t financially able to sponsor their education.

3. Government-Funded Scholarships: Government-funded scholarships are often sponsored by the government. Although many of the scholarships are awarded to citizens, there are also some awarded to international students. 

4. Country-based Scholarships: These types of scholarships are often awarded to students from selected countries. Some of these countries might include the ones affected by insurgency or natural disasters. 

5. Privately sponsored scholarships: As the name implies, these types of scholarships are often awarded by private individuals or organizations. However, some of them have stringent requirements that might bother gender, certain minority groups or developing countries, and a specific area/field of study.

Scholarships available for students from low-income backgrounds

To enable students from low-income backgrounds to have access to quality education, there are scholarship opportunities available that they can harness to encourage them to pursue their dreams. Some of the scholarships available include: 

1. DAAD scholarships 

The DAAD scholarship is open to international students who want to pursue their postgraduate degrees in Germany. The scholarship aims to promote networking and increase the knowledge and efficiency of the recipients. Some of the benefits of the scholarships include:

  • A monthly stipend of 934 euros
  • Travel allowance
  • Tuition fees
  • Accommodation fees among other benefits

To learn more about the eligibility requirements and the application criteria, click here

2. Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship Programme 

The Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship is a program for students from developing countries to pursue their full-time postgraduate programs at any higher institution of their choice. It was founded by His Highness the Aga Khan. Additionally, students will need to have excellent academic records and must demonstrate financial need among other criteria. The 2023/2024 cycle is now closed and the 2024/2024 cycle will open in January 2024. It is a partly-funded scholarship that covers part-payment of the applicant’s tuition fee. To learn more about the eligibility requirements and the application criteria, click here.

3. Eiffel Scholarships 

The Eiffel Scholarship was established and sponsored by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. It is targeted at attracting foreign students who want to pursue their master’s and postgraduate programs in France. The application opens on the 18th of September, 2023, and closes on the 10th of January, 2024. However, it is important to note that your institution must be among the qualified ones. To learn more about the Eiffel Scholarships program, click here

4. INSEAD Business School International Scholarships 

Furthermore, the INSEAD Business School International scholarship is open to students from low-income backgrounds. It is targeted at students with proven academic excellence who want to pursue a top-ranked MBA program. They have a campus both in France and Singapore. The monetary value of the scholarship starts from $10,000. There are also different ranges of scholarships available to international students and some of them include: 

  • INSEAD Aleph Scholarship
  • INSEAD Alex and Nicolette Manson Endowed Diversity Scholarship
  • INSEAD Alexis & Anne-Marie Habib Endowed Scholarship
  • INSEAD Alumni Association (IAA) Endowed Scholarship Fund
  • INSEAD Alumni Fund (IAF) Diversity Scholarship(s)

To learn more about the Eiffel Scholarships program, click here

5. Emory University Scholarship

The Emory University Scholarships is open to talented international students who want to study at Emory University in the United States. It is also important to note that students who will be eligible to apply are those who apply for support during the admission process. Students from countries where the primary language is not English will need to take the English proficiency test. Additionally, first-year students who receive financial aid in their first year are entitled to financial assistance in subsequent years. To learn more about the eligibility and the application process, click here.

Read also: Scholarships For Students With Disabilities: Empowering Education

6. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program 

The Mastercard Foundation Scholar’s program is open to students from Africa who want to further their studies at universities in the United States and Africa. The scholarship opportunity is targeted at young individuals who want to attain inclusive and relevant education to live a transformative life. To learn more about the eligibility and the application process, click here

7. Australia Awards Scholarships 

The Australia Awards Scholarship is a long-term scholarship that is sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is open for international students who want to pursue their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at participatory universities in Australia. Some of the benefits of the scholarship include:

  • Payment of full tuition fees
  • Airflight ticket
  • Monthly stipend among other benefits. 

To learn more about the eligibility and the application process, click here.

8. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford in the United Kingdom is offering scholarships to undergraduate international students who want to bag a degree at the university. However, it is important to note that eligible students must first apply to the University of Oxford before they can be considered for the scholarship. The scholarship for the next session opens in January 2024. Additionally, the scholarship can last for 3 to 4 years depending on the duration of the course. Some of the benefits include
Tuition fees

  • Living stipend
  • Airfare return ticket
  • Living cost

To learn more about the eligibility and the application process, click here.

9. The World Bank

The World Bank Offers scholarship opportunities to students from low-income backgrounds as part of its contribution to improving capacity development and knowledge sharing in the developing world. So far, the scholarship program has sponsored about 6,000 professionals and scholars. They offer different types of scholarship programs and some of them include:

To learn more about the eligibility and the application process, click here

10. MIT – Zaragoza Scholarship Program

The MIT Zaragoza scholarship is open to international students who want to study in the United States. However, the scholarship opportunity is open for students who want to pursue a full-time master’s in Engineering, logistics, and supply chain management. To learn more about the eligibility and the application process, click here

Read also: Scholarships For Women In Male-Dominated Fields

How to find the right scholarship opportunity for you

If you’re looking forward to studying abroad you’re on the lookout for how to find scholarship opportunities for international students, especially for students from low-income backgrounds, below are some times that can aid your search:

  1. Ensure you search the internet and browse for relevant opportunities that you can apply for. Subscribe to our newsletter for scholarship updates that are relevant to you. 
  2. Also, check the website of scholarship providers regularly to stay up to date with deadlines and more related opportunities. 
  3. Follow social media platforms that post updates on scholarships. You can follow our social media platforms for more updates. 
  4. Additionally, you can also browse government funding websites. Governments often invest in education. They offer fully funded scholarship opportunities to both indigenous students and international students depending on the country you want to study at. 

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. 


  • Mercy Awofiranye is a creative writer with over five years of experience. Currently, she specializes in creating helpful content for students in the education space. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and learning new things.