External Scholarship Opportunities

With advance planning you may be able to obtain scholarship and loan money for your BillionRoots program.  Below are several scholarships that we have found to be helpful for BillionRoots students.

Test Drive Your Future: Gap Year scholarships for students 18 – 25 who wish to use their gap year experience as an “Extreme Test Drive”, to figure out what they really want to do with their college and career path.

LIVFund: LIVFund was established in 2011 in order to recognize and proudly support study, internship and volunteer opportunities in Latin America. LIVFund has been designed for anyone who wants to learn, intern or volunteer [LIV] in Latin America and is seeking financial assistance in order to offset program or living abroad expenses. Their goal is to help others get the most out of their experience abroad.

Fund for Education Abroad: The newly established Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) was created in order to open doors for deserving education abroad students. Starting with the 2011-2012 academic year, FEA will award funds for students planning to study abroad on any academically rigorous programs.

The Foundation for Global Scholars: A non-profit organization located in Denver, Colorado whose mission is to create global citizens and leaders by assisting students in achieving their personal and professional goals of obtaining cultural and academic experiences abroad. The Foundation will support this mission by awarding scholarships to help enable students to obtain an international experience. Students who are from underrepresented populations in international education are a priority.

Schepp Foundation: Requires university credit and good GPA.

Marion Wright Edelman Scholarship: Requires university credit (for students of minority background)

America’s Unofficial Ambassadors: Scholarships ranging from $2,000 – $5,000 to support Americans volunteering in Muslim-majority countries.

Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA): They offer awards of up to $7,000 to U.S. undergraduate students needing financial support to study abroad in East/Southeast Asia. The primary goal of this scholarship is to increase the number of American undergraduates who study in East and Southeast Asia by providing them with the information and financial assistance they will need. Visit their website for more information.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Gilman Scholarships provide up to $5,000 for American students to pursue overseas study for college credit. Students studying critical need languages are eligible for up to $3,000 in additional funding as part of the new Critical Need Language Supplement program. Critical Need Languages include Arabic, Chinese. Korean, Russian, Turkic (Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkish, Turkmen, Uzbek), Persian (Farsi, Dari, Kurdish, Pashto, Tajiki), Indic (Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, Sinhala, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Sindhi). They have approx. 2 applicants for each award.

The Critical Language Scholarship: The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students.

Bridging Scholarships: They offer $2,500 scholarships to students participating in study programs in Japan.

Institute of International Education: Provides scholarships for study outside of W. Europe, Australia, New Zealand & Canada.

Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships: For undergraduate, graduate & vocational study, the scholarship is set up to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas.

Scholarships for Multicultural Students: Hosted by Michigan State University, this page lists several scholarships for various minority groups.

UK 9/11 Scholarship Fund: For those who lost a parent or guardian in the 9/11 attacks.

The Earth Island Institute Brower Youth Award: An organization that recognizes young people for their outstanding activism and achievements in the fields of environmental and social justice advocacy. Maximum Award: $3,000. Eligibility: youth ages of 13-22. Deadline: May 15.

The Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships: The Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Thomas Scholarships offer financial assistance to two graduating seniors with documented learning disabilities (LD) who are pursuing post-secondary education.

Varsity Tutors College Scholarships: Monthly $1000, based on an essay.

University Tutor Scholarships: Monthly $1000, based on a short essay. Eligibility: Ages 16 and up.

Scholarships for California Residents

  • ww.scholarshare.com – California Governor’s Scholarship Program
  • www.csac.ca.gov – California Student Aid Commission

$6,000 Gap Year Scholarship for Humbolt County Residents

The Humboldt Back-A-Gapper Scholarship is endowed by the generosity of Richard Stepp, a Humboldt State University Professor and philanthropist. Students must (A) be a resident of Humboldt County, California, and (B) be applying to participate on an AGA-Accredited program. The application is not needs-dependent as we all know how squeezed the middle class are too in this era. The deadline for application is July 1st with awards being decided by July 15th. For more information, contact: ethan@americangap.org. For a list of AGA-Accredited programs: www.americangap.org/gap-year-programs.php. To apply for this scholarship, visit: http://americangap.org/humboldtscholarship.php

Most states have scholarships for their residents – search for scholarships in your specific state through the Internet.  Also, a number of Universities offer Entrance Scholarships to students that have participated in an alternative education or gap year program.  When you’re looking at schools, remember to ask about Gap Year Scholarships.

Scholarships for people with disabilities, including learning disabilities

BestColleges.com: Financial Aid Opportunities for Disabled Students.

Free scholarship services and scholarship information

These services offer more information on how to find and apply to scholarships you are eligible for:

  • IIE Passport: Study Abroad Funding – Search for funding by country or subject
  • www.fund-raising.com
  • www.charityguide.org/volunteer/fifteen/community-service-scholarships.htm
  • www.scholarships4school.com
  • www.collegeboard.com – College Board Online
  • www.collegenet.com
  • www.college-scholarships.com
  • StudyAbroad.Com – Financial Aid Info
  • GoAbroad.Com Scholarship Database
  • www.wiredscholar.com – The Wired Scholar
  • www.studentaid.ed.gov – Department of Education
  • Nelnet – Nelnet
  • Scholarships.com


Loans for study abroad

GreenNote: an organization that helps students connect with their social network—friends, family, friends of family, community leaders and others—to ask for small student loans. GreenNote helps formalize everything into legally binding loans and handles all the details.



Be creative! Try to connect with your local community, religious and academic organizations. Your local Rotary Club is a great place to start. This organization may set aside funding or take special collections for students. They might also choose to sponsor a student, because these groups often see students volunteering abroad as representatives or role models and may even ask you to speak at their meetings when you return home.

Past students have written to friends and family and gotten them to give a donation toward their BillionRoots Fellowship in lieu of birthday or Christmas presents.

Get donations from businesses and friends for auction items, and hold an auction to help you pay for your year.

Many restaurant chains offers deals where you invite a bunch of people to come and eat, and they give 10% of the final amount paid back to you as a fundraising support. Get donations from businesses and friends for auction items, and hold an auction to help you pay for your year.

Fellows may substantially reduced the cost of their program by gathering frequent flyer miles for their international and domestic airfares (potential savings of up to $3,000).


Need more ideas? Check out this excellent guide to fundraising for travel written by Blake Boles of Unschool Adventures.