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How are many Nigerian students able to afford to go to the USA for graduate studies, and how do they pay for it? Are they all naturally rich or do they take out loans? Are the loans from Nigeria or the US and how long do they take to repay?

You can apply for different forms of financial assistance, while scholarships are the most popular and well-known. Let’s look at what they are and how you might use them to your advantage.

  1. Awards based on merit (fellowships)
    The merit-based scholarships are given out based on a variety of factors, including academic performance, accomplishments, interests and abilities, membership in extracurricular organizations, and professional goals. The federal and state governments, major enterprises, small businesses, professional associations, or colleges may all provide these scholarships.

Each scholarship has specific requirements that must be satisfied in order to be eligible.

University-sponsored bursaries

Universities typically base their scholarship decisions on two factors: academic quality and age restrictions (for example under 35 years of age). You’ll learn that there are unique scholarship options available for each level of study as well.

For instance, in Switzerland, there can be more scholarships available for PhDs than for Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees.

Housing expenses and health insurance may be paid by the scholarship at some overseas universities.

Scholarships in Sweden may be used to pay for tuition, living expenses, some travel grants, and insurance, depending on the organization providing them and their type.

Some scholarship recipients in France are given a monthly stipend, and the scholarship also covers other costs like a return flight, health insurance, and cultural activities. However, because tuition fees are already so low, it does not cover those costs.

Here are some instances of European colleges that offer the most scholarships:

UK’s University of Oxford
UK’s University of Bristol
University of Utrecht in the Netherlands
Italian University of Bologna
Sweden’s Uppsala University

Some scholarship recipients in France receive a monthly stipend, and the award also covers other expenditures like return flights.

Grants provided by the government
Scholarship recipients typically do not pay tuition. These scholarships often have durations of three, six, or nine months.

These are some of the prerequisites for applying for this kind of scholarship:

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Education required by the chosen university proficiency in a particular language (the language of instruction used in the programme that you applied for)
Students frequently need to be under a particular age restriction.

Some government scholarships in the UK provide funding for the following:

Monthly living allowance for tuition
Return economy class travel to and from the UK, as well as any additional grants and Allowances needed to pay necessary costs

Scholarships for athletes
You may be eligible for a scholarship, which is frequently provided by your institution or university, if all you want to do is play sports and be a part of the team. The good news is that you don’t have to be especially skilled at the sport you play.

These sports scholarships are occasionally offered by neighborhood associations or other organizations, and they typically have requirements like community service.

Check out these American colleges and universities, which provide various scholarships to students from abroad:

Stanford College
Columbia College
Harvard College
University of Duke
University of Yale

2. Specific scholarships

The majority of targeted scholarships are awarded to students who belong to a certain racial or familial group. These grants are intended to aid racial or ethnic minorities. As a result, there are several scholarships available that are expressly geared toward African Americans, Asian Americans, or Hispanics.

In various nations (such as Belgium, France, the United States, etc.), the local government offers scholarships to students who are citizens of particular nations. For instance, Belgium provides specific scholarships to applicants from South America, Asia, and Africa.

Additionally, these programs are designed to assist minority students in pursuing a degree in a subject where they have historically been underrepresented.

Students with physical disabilities, learning problems, and incapacitating medical illnesses may be eligible for scholarships from certain organizations.

3. Need-based scholarships (grants)

Because grants are free financial aid that doesn’t need repayment, they are frequently referred to as “gift aid.” Grants (also known as bursaries in some countries) are frequently need-based in contrast to scholarships, which are typically merit-based. Grants and bursaries are typically awarded based on financial need, although they may also take other considerations into account (e.g. physical or mental disabilities).


This type of financial assistance is gratuitous and often ranges in value from $500 to $2,500 USD.

The US Department of Education provides several federal subsidies to students enrolled in four-year institutions, community colleges, and career training programs.

Different kinds of merit-based incentives are given out in Germany. The amount and duration are determined by each institution giving out the merit scholarship. For instance, the University of Hamburg provides merit grants of between 720 and 1,000 euros per month for two semesters (12 months). To be eligible for this grant, you must be ineligible for the federal student loan program.

4. Student loans

You must repay any student loans you take out to pay for your international studies. With a few exceptions, they operate much like any other loan would. In the nation where you want to further your education, you can obtain a student loan from the government or a private bank; it can be a bank from your home country or a foreign bank.

Since most teenagers lack the credit history necessary to qualify for a loan of this amount, co-signing (together with parents or a legal tutor) is fairly typical for private student loans.

However, because the interest rates are typically lower, student loans that you can obtain from the government tend to be more advantageous.

While some loans are determined by your ability to pay them back, others are determined by your credit score, exactly like any other loan.

Types of student loans

Although it would be impossible to discuss or list all of the student loans that are available, you can use the ones listed below as examples to get an understanding of what is available.

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You may discover the Erasmus+ Masters Loans Scheme in Europe, which offers EU funding for bank loans up to 18,000 EUR for a two-year program or 12,000 EUR for a one-year Master’s degree.

You can apply for federal loans in the US that include flexible repayment terms, benefits, options, and low interest rates. These loans are funded by the federal government.

Repayment of the student loan

Following the grace period of six months following degree completion, repayment often begins. It is expected that you repay the loan within 5 to 10 years, depending on its size; but, in several European nations, you have the option of repaying it in 15 years.

When you finish your studies and reach the “repayment threshold,” which is a predetermined level of income, you only have to start paying back student loans that were taken out to pay for tuition. For instance, in the UK, you are permitted to borrow 8,200 GBP, but you must pay it back once you graduate and begin earning more than 21,000 GBP annually.

5. Student prizes

Student awards are exactly what they sound like: a sum of money that, while not technically helping you pay for your education, can be viewed as financial assistance. Student awards are one-time honors that can cost anything between a few hundred and several thousand euros.

Following are some examples of student awards:

Rewards outstanding work submitted for a dissertation, examination, or thesis, as well as for overall performance, for academic achievements to reward performance in undergraduate examinations awarded based on the outcomes of coursework and public examinations for the best paper in a variety of subject areas.
If you are about to graduate, you can also win a prize and obtain a scholarship for the next year or the title of scholar.

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