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Studying in the United Kingdom for Free: A Comprehensive Guide for International Students

In the broadest sense, there’s no tuition-free school in the UK. However, there’s nothing scholarships the merit can’t do.

So, in this article, I’ll be providing you tips on ongoing scholarships in the UK for international students and the requirements to enroll.

Keep in mind that before migrating to the UK for Academic purposes, you need to apply for the Student Visa, not to worry, this guide covers that too. Tuck in and let’s dove deep.

Fully-funded scholarships to study in the UK for free

Studying in the UK can be an enriching and transformative experience, but the costs associated with it can be a barrier for many students.

However, there are fully-funded scholarships available that cover not only tuition fees but also living expenses, travel costs, and more

Let’s explore some of the top fully-funded scholarships in the UK that provide opportunities for international students to pursue their studies without financial burden

Great Scholarships

The Great Scholarships program aims to offer financial assistance to international students aspiring to study in the UK.

It is a collaborative effort between the British Council and various UK universities, including the University of Bristol, the University of Reading, and the University of Warwick.

This scholarship covers full tuition fees and provides a living allowance of up to £12,000 for postgraduate students and up to £10,000 for undergraduate students.

To be eligible for the Great Scholarships, you must be a citizen of one of the eligible countries, such as China, India, Indonesia, and others.

Additionally, you should have an offer to study at one of the participating UK universities.

UCL Global Undergraduate Scholarships

The UCL Global Undergraduate Scholarships aim to support outstanding international students who wish to study at University College London (UCL).

This scholarship covers full tuition fees and offers a living allowance of £10,000 per year for up to four years.

The UCL Global Scholarships are open to undergraduate applicants who are citizens of countries outside the European Union (EU) and have an offer to study in a full-time undergraduate program at UCL.

To be considered for this scholarship, you must demonstrate academic excellence and financial need.

The Chevening Scholarship

The Chevening Scholarship is a fully funded master’s scholarship program for international students. It is offered by the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organizations.

Here are the eligibility criteria and requirements for the Chevening Scholarship:

● Level of Study: The scholarship is available for master’s degree programs only.

● Institutions: The scholarship covers study at any UK university that offers full-time taught master’s degree programs.

● Study in: The scholarship is for studying in the UK.

● Courses Offered: The scholarship is open to all subjects and disciplines. You can pursue a full-time taught master’s degree program in any field.

● Program Period: The duration of the scholarship depends on the selected program but does not exceed one year for postgraduate courses.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Chevening Scholarship, you must meet the following criteria:

● Language Requirement: You must have a strong proficiency in English. English language skills are crucial as the scholarship program is conducted in English.

● Nationality: The scholarships are targeted to citizens of Chevening-eligible countries.

● Return to Home Country: After completing your studies in the UK, you must return to your country of citizenship and reside there for a minimum of two years.

● Academic Qualifications: You must have completed all components of an undergraduate degree that will enable you to gain entry into a postgraduate program at a UK university by the time you submit your application. Typically, this is equivalent to an upper second-class 2:1 honors degree in the UK, but requirements may vary depending on your course and university choice.

● Work Experience: You must have at least two years (equivalent to 2,800 hours) of work experience.

● Course Offers: You should get an unconditional offer from 3 eligible UK Universities of your choice by July 13, 2023.

Gates Cambridge Scholarship

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is a prestigious and fully funded scholarship program for international students, offered by the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

It was established in 2000 with a donation of US$210 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, making it the largest single donation ever made to a UK university.

Eligibility Criteria

● Nationality: The scholarship is open to students from all countries outside the United Kingdom.

● Academic Excellence: Candidates must have outstanding academic records and demonstrate intellectual ability and leadership potential.

● Admission to Cambridge: Applicants must apply and gain admission to a full-time postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge. They should also secure a College place at Cambridge.

● Commitment to Improving Lives: Candidates should have a clear commitment to using their knowledge and skills to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

● Capacity for Leadership: Applicants should demonstrate leadership qualities and the potential to contribute to the advancement of society.

Requirements and Application Process

● Language Requirement: Proficiency in the English language is essential, and applicants must meet the University’s English language requirements.

● Application Procedure: Candidates must first apply for admission to their desired course and a College place at the University of Cambridge. They should also indicate their interest in being considered for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

● Account Creation: Candidates need to create an account on the official Gates Cambridge Scholarship website.

● Personal Information: Fill in personal information in the application, including contact details and academic history.

Documents Submission

● Gates Cambridge Statement: Applicants must provide a statement (500 words) explaining why they are applying for the scholarship and how they meet the four main criteria.

● CV/Resume: A detailed curriculum vitae or resume is required.

● Research Proposal: Only Ph.D. applicants need to submit a research proposal.

● Gates Reference: In addition to the two academic references required for admission, applicants must submit a reference specifically addressing their fit with the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

● Application Questions: Respond to the application questions provided.

● Submit the Application: After completing all the necessary steps, apply before the deadline.

Scholarship Coverage

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship provides the following benefits to its recipients:

● University Composition Fee: The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees at the University of Cambridge.

● Maintenance Allowance: A stipend of £18,744 per year is provided for living expenses, pro rata for courses shorter than 12 months. For Ph.D. scholars, the stipend is awarded for up to four years.

● Airfare: One economy single airfare is provided at the beginning and end of the course.

● Visa and Health Surcharge: The scholarship covers the cost of inbound visa applications and the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Academic Development Funding

Funding ranging from £500 to £2,000 is available to attend conferences, courses, and other academic development activities.

● Family Allowance: Recipients with children may receive a family allowance of up to £10,944 for one child and up to £15,612 for two or more children.

● Fieldwork and Maternity/Paternity Funding: Ph.D. scholars may apply to receive their maintenance allowance while conducting fieldwork or during maternity/paternity leave.

● Hardship Funding: Scholars facing unforeseen difficulties may apply for hardship funding.

The Simmons University Kotzen Scholarship

The Simmons University Kotzen Scholarship is a fully funded scholarship for international students who wish to pursue their undergraduate studies at Simmons University in the USA.

The scholarship includes full tuition, fees, room and board, along with $3,000 for study abroad and summer internships, and research support.

The award lasts for 4 years of full-time undergraduate study and supersedes any prior merit scholarships

Eligibility Criteria for Simmons University Kotzen Scholarships

● Students must apply as freshmen for the fall semester.

● Applicants must have a standardized test score of 28 or higher (ACT), 1300 or higher (new SAT), or 1250 or higher (old SAT – CR+M). A minimum of 600 in each SAT section is strongly recommended.

● Students must have a GPA of 3.3 or higher (unweighted).

● Applicants should have a record of taking honors, advanced placement (AP), and international baccalaureate (IB) courses, as available in their high school systems.

● Students must have a college preparatory curriculum, including an advanced-level math course during or before their senior year of high school.

Application Process for Simmons University Kotzen Scholarships

To apply for the Simmons University Kotzen Scholarship, follow these steps:

● Complete and submit both the scholarship application and the admission application to the college by December 1.

● The application consists of two parts: a short answer and a formal essay. Students should submit their essays via the online form or email them to [email protected] with the subject line “Kotzen Application.” Include your full name and date of birth on each page.

● Short Answer (250 words max): show you’ll spend the $3,000.

● Formal Essay (500 words max): Explain the most effective way for a woman to lead change in today’s world.

If you qualify as a finalist, you’ll be invited to complete an on-campus interview in February.

International applicants unable to visit the campus may have a Skype interview instead.

For more information and to apply for the Simmons University Kotzen Scholarship, please visit the official website.

The Imperial College London PhD

The Imperial College London Ph.D. Scholarship 2023-2024 is a fully funded scholarship for international students who wish to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London.

Here are the eligibility criteria and requirements for this scholarship:

Eligibility Criteria

● You must have obtained (or be heading for) a First Class Honors degree at the Master’s level (or equivalent) in chemical engineering, another branch of engineering, or a related science

● You need to fulfill the minimum score requirement for English Language Proficiency set by the institution.

● Applicants from all countries are eligible to apply.

Scholarship Coverage

● The scholarship provides full funding for the standard period of the Ph.D. program, which is 42 months.

● It covers both tuition fees and an annual tax-free contribution to maintenance costs.

● The annual contribution to maintenance costs ranges from approximately £18,062 to £22,200.

Requirements for Application

To apply for the Imperial College London Ph.D. Scholarship, you need to follow these instructions:

Prepare the following documents:

● A personal statement outlining your research interests and experience.

● Full transcripts of your university studies completed to date.

● A copy of your English Language certificate.

● Contact details of two referees, at least one of whom must be an academic referee (e.g., project supervisor or personal tutor).

● Do not upload reference letters as references must come directly from the referees.

● Apply for admission through the online admissions system of Imperial College London. You can find the application link on the official website.

You should visit the official website of Imperial College London for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding deadlines and application procedures.

A Comprehensive Guide for International Students

If you’re an international student planning to study in the UK, there are several important things you need to know to make your transition smoother.

● Plan Your Funding and Research Scholarships: Ensure you have sufficient funds for your degree and explore scholarships available for international students.

● Organize Your Student Visa: Familiarize yourself with the visa requirements and application process to study in the UK.

● Prepare for British Life: Embrace the diverse culture and weather in the UK. Connect with international student communities and pack suitable clothing for different seasons.

● Sort Your Student Accommodation: Secure your accommodation in advance. Check with your university for options or explore reputable letting agents for private housing.

● Make Sure You Have Health Insurance: Obtain appropriate health insurance coverage, such as the UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC) or the required health surcharge.

● Set Up a Student Bank Account: Open a UK bank account to facilitate managing your finances and avoid unnecessary fees.

● Find Affordable Communication Options: Explore low-cost international call providers or free communication apps to stay connected with friends and family.

● Navigate Public Transport: Familiarize yourself with local bus services and consider student bus passes. Research train and coach options for national travel.

● Understand Work Restrictions: Know the regulations regarding part-time work hours allowed on your student visa.

FAQs

Are there tuition-free schools in the UK for international students?

No, there are no tuition-free schools in the UK for international students. However, there are scholarships available that can cover tuition fees and other expenses.

What should international students do before studying in the UK?

International students planning to study in the UK should plan their funding and research scholarships, organize their student visa, prepare for British life and culture, secure student accommodation, obtain appropriate health insurance, open a student bank account, find affordable communication options, navigate public transport, and understand the work restrictions on their student visa.

Conclusion

I maintain that you can only school in the UK for free when you’re on a fully funded scholarship. Added to that, you should make sure you have sufficient money in your account to make up for your staying and be sturdy. Some scholarships can be so generous to cover your tuition fees, but you’re responsible for your survival and bills.