India ranks second in the world in terms of number of students on a study abroad program. Despite the pandemic, the number of students studying abroad has decreased only marginally. Global mobility trends indicate the top study abroad destinations for Indian students in 2020 were USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and Germany according to IIE (Institute of International Students). Here’s a snapshot as published by Wikipedia.


Rank Destination country Foreign students (2020) Foreign students (2019) % change Top sending countries    
1  USA 1,075,496 1,095,299 ?1.81% China India South Korea
2  UK 551,495 524,250 +5.20% China USA India
3  Canada 503,270 435,415 +15.58% India China France
4  China 492,185 NA South Korea Thailand Pakistan
5  Australia 463,643 420,501 +10.26% China India Nepal
6  France 358,000 343,400 +4.25% Morocco Algeria China
7  Russia 353,331 334,497 +5.63% Kazakhstan China Turkmenistan
8  Germany 302,157 282,002 +7.15% China India Syria
9  Japan 228,403 208,901 +9.34% China Vietnam Nepal
10  Spain 125,675 120,991 +3.87% Italy France USA

If you are wondering whether these students study abroad for free – well yes almost. How? They went abroad on a government scholarship.

What you need to know if you want to study abroad

The government of India offers a number of overseas scholarship programs through its registered institutions.


Organization Name Types of Aid Website
All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)
7th Floor, Chandralok Building, Janpath, New Delhi – 110 001
Vastuankala Parishad (COA)
India Habitat Centre, Core-6-A, 1st Floor, Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110 003
Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR)
35 – Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi – 110001
Fellowships and grants
Indian Council of Philosophical Research (ICPR)
36, Tughlakabad Institutional Area, Near Batra Hospital, Tughlakabad, New Delhi – 110062
Fellowships, Seminars, Workshops, Projects, Refresher Courses, Cultural Exchange programs
Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR)
Postal Box No.10528, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi – 110067
Fellowships, Training, Cultural Exchange, International Collaboration
University Grants Commission (UGC)
Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi – 110002
UGC publishes a list of Scholarship and Fellowship programs each year.

Other ways to study abroad

<p value=”<amp-fit-text layout=”fixed-height” min-font-size=”6″ max-font-size=”72″ height=”80″>Apart from these, here are some of the more popular Indian scholarships for study abroad programs. Scroll down or press CTRL+F and paste a few words in the find box to quickly read about a particular scholarship. Apart from these, here are some of the more popular Indian scholarships for study abroad programs. Scroll down or press CTRL+F and paste a few words in the find box to quickly read about a particular scholarship.

On a note of caution – the information provided here is true to the best of our knowledge but is subject to change.



The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees. 3

The Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships. 3

The Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship. 3

The Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships. 3

The Great Wall Program.. 4

The Inlaks Scholarship. 4

The National Overseas Scholarship Scheme by the Indian Government 4

The Orange Tulip Scholarship. 5

The GREAT Education Scholarships. 5

The Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships. 5

The Heinrich Böll Foundation scholarship. 5

The Narotam Sekhsaria Scholarship Program.. 5

The JN Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians. 6

The Scholarships by The Lady Meherbai D Tata Education Trust 6

The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme. 6

The Global Study Awards. 7

The Microsoft Scholarships (Undergraduate) HER E.. 7

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program.. 7

The GyanDhan Scholarship for Postgraduate Studies Abroad. 7

The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees

The program is open to students holding an undergraduate degree from a recognized institute from any country. The scholarship generally covers course fees, travel insurance and living expenses. However, the actual amount of scholarship depends upon the course, country, and the tuition fee.

EMJMD offers scholarship for master’s level programs across Europe – usually for a period of up to 2 years.

The Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships

This scholarship is offered for Masters in the USA for one or two years. In general, the scholarship covers the tuition fee and other related costs. You should have cleared your Bachelor’s with a minimum aggregate of 55%, have a minimum of 3 years’ work experience, and demonstrate leadership qualities. You are also required to commit to return to India and contribute to the community.

The Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship

The Fullbright Kalam Climate Fellowship program is offered to students who have registered for a Ph.D. with an Indian institute having a US affiliation. The aspirant is given a monthly stipend for the duration of scholarship along with a round-trip air fare for economy class. Allowances may also be given for accident and sickness. The scholarship has a pre-requisite that the date of completion of your Ph.D. should not be more than 3 months before the end of the scholarship. For instance, if your scholarship ends in June, your Ph.D. should end in April or later. You are required to upload a copy of a published or presented article or paper or an extract from your M.Phil. or Masters’ thesis. The grant is for a duration of 6-9 months.

The Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships

The terms under this Fellowship are similar to the Fullbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship. Offered to Indian Ph.D. students for pursuing their research and dissertations the scholarship offers J-1 Visa support and economy class round ticket as well as cover under an Accident and Sickness Program along with a modest allowance for migration.

The Great Wall Program

Among the best paying scholarships the Great Wall Program covers tuition fees, accommodation, medical insurance and also offers a stipend. The criteria for application are age less than 45 and the candidate should hold at least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent. The fully funded scholarship is offered by the government of China along with UNESCO for students of developing countries who wish to study in China.

The Inlaks Scholarship

The Inlaks Scholarship is available to Indian students below 30 years of age and holding first class degree from recognized Indian universities through a reputed institution. The maximum grant under this scholarship is USD 100,000. The scholarship is generally granted to students seeking admission to advanced courses in European and North American institutions. Most popular courses are Architecture, Business Administration, Applied Arts, Communications (Entertainment), Design, Theatre, Fine Arts, Music, Special Education, and Law.

The National Overseas Scholarship Scheme by the Indian Government

This scholarship sponsored by the Indian government offers tuition fees along with some contingency allowances such as travel and maintenance. The government has laid down specific criteria for awarding the scholarship –

The student should be from a reserved class such as Scheduled caste, nomadic tribes etc.

He should have scored a minimum of 55% in his graduation (for Masters) or PG (for Ph.D.)

He should be below 35 years of age.

He should belong to a family with a total annual income of less than INR 6,00,000

Not more than 2 children per family will be awarded a scholarship.

The scholarship is awarded in one of the following fields –

  • Agricultural Sciences and Medicine
  • Engineering and Management
  • Humanities and Social Science
  • International Commerce, Accounting and Finance
  • Pure Sciences and Applied Sciences 

The Orange Tulip Scholarship

The OTS scholarship is offered to students seeking admission to Dutch Universities in The Netherlands. The amount of grant differs from one Indian state to another and offers a reduction in course fees ranging from 25% to 100%. The scholarship is offered in coordination by certain educational institutions and multinationals for pursuing a Bachelors or Master’s program in Netherlands. The scholarship is available only for select Dutch Universities.

The GREAT Education Scholarships

Indian resident students selected for admission in the UK can avail of this full tuition paid scholarship. The student should have demonstrated leadership qualities and work potential. The scholarship is offered by the British Council for full time undergraduate and post graduate courses.

The Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships

The Scotland’s Saltire Scholarship is available to Indian resident students desirous of pursuing their Masters in creative industries, healthcare and medical sciences, renewable and clean energy, science, or technology. The Scottish Government offers a flat £8000 towards tuition fees in collaboration with Scottish universities.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation scholarship

Indian students with excellent academic performance and proficiency in German language can get €850 per month to cover various expenses. The Scholarship is awarded to qualifying graduate and doctorate students every year. There is a provision to extend the course by 1 semester.

The Narotam Sekhsaria Scholarship Program

The Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation a non-profit organization offers up to 20 lakh INR to aspiring Indian students who want to complete their post-graduation in Applied Sciences, Architecture and Management, Law, Pure Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, from prestigious Universities in USA. In general, the criteria for application are –

  • You should be an Indian resident below age 30
  • You should have graduated from a recognized Indian University.
  • You can apply during the final year of graduation.
  • You should have secured admission to a prestigious international university in a post graduate program.
  • Applications open in January since this pertains to the Fall intake of US universities.

The JN Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians

Among the most popular scholarship grants, students with an excellent academic and achievement record who are seeking or have secured admission to a prestigious university in another country for post-graduation or doctoral certificate can secure a loan between INR 100000 to 1000000. You should have completed your graduation from a recognized Indian university. There are certain criteria for granting the loan and not all aspirants may qualify. The maximum age is 45 years.

The Scholarships by The Lady Meherbai D Tata Education Trust

The Lady Meherbai D Tata Education Trust gifts an amount between INR 300000 to INR 600000 to Indian resident students having degrees from recognized universities and a consistently outstanding academic record for the past 2 years along with work experience in the selected field. The aspirant must show proof of capability to pay 50% of the funding.

The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program

The Aga Khan Foundation offers need based financial aid to students only for tuition fees and living expenses. The criteria for assistance include –

  • Age below 30 years
  • Should have a record of excellence in academics
  • Should have secured admission to a reputable international program or university

The financial aid is offered as part loan part grant in equal parts. This means that half of the total aid awarded would be a repayable loan.

The financial aid is offered on a competitive basis.

The Global Study Awards

Successful career minded IELTS students who display strong potential can participate in this competitive test for funding of up to GBP 10,000. The funding is available for undergraduate or post graduate courses in English speaking countries for students who wish to use their IELTS scores for application to foreign universities.

The Microsoft Scholarships (Undergraduate) HER E

Microsoft foundation offers partial tuition fee in the form of scholarship to students who have maintained a good CGPA (Cumulative Grade Points Average) demonstrating excellence in academics. They should also have clearly demonstrated a keen interest in technology and software.

The scholarship is available for a full time 4-year Bachelor’s course at a university in the USA. Students pursuing an undergraduate Computer science and STEM program may also apply.

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program 

This nearly fully-paid scholarship is available to students from developing countries that are a member of World Bank. The scholarship covers the course fees and basic medical insurance. It also offers a stipend for the student and covers certain other expenses.

The scholarship is available to students enrolled in a JJ/WBGSP preferred university under a Master’s program.

The GyanDhan Scholarship for Postgraduate Studies Abroad

The Gyandhan scholarship offers a fixed INR 100000 for meritorious students desirous of studying in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, and USA. If you desire to take a loan along with the scholarship it should be clubbed with a loan from one of the lending partners of Gyandhan. The criteria for selection include –

  • Past Academic Performance
  • GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, and other test scores
  • Letter of recommendation and statement of purpose
  • Strength of student profile.

There are a number of scholarships and grants available to Indian students who want to study abroad. New scholarships are announced and old ones may be discontinued. It is therefore important to stay up to speed on the latest information in this regard. It is also important to check with your college counsellor who can guide you about the scholarship best suited to you and how you can go about applying.

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