No matter where one is in the world, the cost of achieving a college or graduate degree is not cheap. And for African students dreaming of coming to the United States for an American education, the costs are daunting. Luckily, however, there are scholarship programs for Africans to study at American institutions. These opportunities can help selected recipients leave their country on the African continent for the American education they have dreamed of.

Africa Scholars Program

Located in Boston, MA, the Berklee College of Music seeks to help low-income African musicians study at the school. Several recipients will have part of their tuition paid for, but a small number of candidates will be selected to receive full-tuition scholarships. Only seven students will receive these full-tuition scholarships, known as the Presidential Scholarships, which also include housing costs. To be considered, African musicians must participate in one of several auditions that are held each year. The finalists from the auditions will then be invited to apply for a scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate academic and musical excellence, as well as financial need.

Fulbright Program

African students can apply for the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Established in 1946 and named for an esteemed late Senator, the program awards grants that help foreign students pay for an American education. These students are called Fulbright Fellows. African students must contact their local U.S. embassy or Fulbright Commission to obtain an application. The Fulbright program also offers the International Fulbright Science & Technology Award for Outstanding Foreign Students. This award is only open to students from 35 African countries, who must compete with other individuals from across the world for consideration. The application form is available online.

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Beinecke African Scholarships

African students can take advantage of the Beinecke African Scholarships program, which was established in honor of three Beinecke brothers: Edwin, Fredrick and Walter. Created in 1996, the scholarship gives Africans money to study conservation or wildlife ecology at a graduate school in the United States. Two students are selected each year with funding coming from the Sperry Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society. There is no application process and recipients are selected from a list of nominees provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society. To qualify, students must contact the Wildlife Conservation Society’s program director in one’s country of residence or citizenship and request to be nominated. Those selected will receive full tuition.

Massachusetts Scholarship for African Students in America

The Massachusetts Scholarship for African Students in America gives money to African students studying theology. Offered via a collaboration between the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and the Episcopal Divinity School, the award is given to two graduate students each year. Recipients will be able to attend Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA, for free.

About the Author

Sydelle John is a lawyer who started writing professionally in 2007. She has written for the Guardian's Comment is Free and Pambazuka News, which focuses on pan-African issues. John has a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Vassar College.