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Funding, Scholarship : Are they different ? I20 samples for Scholarship, GA : FAQs

One of our readers recently asked a question about Funding. The questions are as below:

  1. What is the exact difference between Funding and Scholarship?
  2. The tuition fee waiver that is given along with the I-20, is it considered as scholarship or funding?? and is it given directly by the university or should we put a special application to avail this fee waiver?
  3. If there is a fee waiver given along with I-20, and we also get an assistantship, then is the funding we get through assistantship an extra fee waiver to that one already given with the I-20??

Funding, Scholarship: are they different?

It can be confusing. The simple way to think about it in general is, “Scholarship is a type of funding”, Money you get in Scholarship, Fundingusage is a bit different, but meaning does not change. Funding is often used to indicate any sort of financial assistance that you get from the School, Government, or any research grants, etc.  Typically, It can be Teaching Assistantship (TA) , Research Assistantship(RA) , Graduate Assistantship(GA) and project specific research funding. Read this article to know about: What are TA, RA and GA? .  Scholarships are a way of financial assistance, but they are usually not referred to as funding, instead they are called as Scholarship because it is coming from Scholarship fund or endowment created. You can also get Research fellowships which are just called fellowships or other type of funding.

Tuition waiver along with I20 :

The tuition waiver that comes along with I20  is how much tuition you will be waived from paying and I-20 will specifically say in remarks the type of funding you got. As said above, it is just a way to finance your education and in generic terms, you can say funding or scholarship. You can see the screenshots below the article. In the screenshots, one says, Full tuition waiver of GA and give how much money you are getting form school. Other one says, Scholarship and it says how much money you are getting from school. But, the scholarship one also says, you get in-state tuition fee. That’s in fact a type of funding you get from state based on rules.

Scholarship and Assistantships (TA, GA, RA) :

Scholarships are given for your merit or any kind of specific requirements as specified by that particular scholarship committee. If you get a scholarship or fellowship, you do not need to do any work. It is just like prize money for your achievement ( there are some exceptions to scholarships for US citizens where they have to work for volunteering, but for internationals very few of those). But, funding like TA, RA, GA you will have to work for 20 hrs a week for the project, teaching, or research.  The deadlines for scholarships are different from the admission deadlines and they are usually before the admission deadlines. Read this article: F1 Application – Scholarship deadlines Vs Admission Deadlines? How to Plan your Application

Can I get TA, RA and GA if I have scholarship?

If you get scholarship, you can still apply for TA, RA and GA and get extra funding. It will be just like job. But, if your scholarship is giving you enough money and gives you tuition waiver, then you should not take the GA, RA or TA because you are taking away the tuition waiver of other student. It is just ethical to hold one either the scholarship or one of TA,GA, RA. Because either of these options give tuition waiver to some extent or full waiver. In some states, TA, RA and GA will only give you in-state only. Read article : In-state vs Out-of-state tuition for  more info  on the types of tuition.  Also, in some states scholarship will only give in-state tuition as in below screenshot of I20. In these cases, you cannot mix scholarship and TA, GA or RA and get full waiver. It is not allowed.  This is kind of situation as asked above in number 3.

Coming back to question 2 ,  “is fee waiver given directly by the university or should we put a special application to avail this fee waiver

For Scholarship, you will have to apply separately. Typically, for most of the funding you will have to apply separately. It varies by University and you will have to work with the Department for this. For Scholarships, you will have to work with Financial Aid office. It does not happen often, occasionally, you may get funding GA or RA if the professor thinks you have enough research background or credentials, but does not happen often. Ideally, you will have to work with the professors and Departments for TA, GA or RA or any sort of funding.

Sample I20 with Scholarship and Funding: GA

Scholarship in I20 and In-state

I20 Sample RA with full waiver

Image Credits : http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgw/3435269871/


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  1. Sir I am looking for scholarship as I am going to apply for fall 2015. My gre and toefl are in next month. What can I do to get sure scholarship?

  2. Hello, I have completed my BTech from State University with an aggregate of 85%. I wish to apply for MS in US in Computer Science.
    What is the procedure to get scholarship? And what is the maximum limit upto which we can get scholarship?

  3. Hi..
    In my I-20, there is a amount mentioned in Funds from this School
    but it is mentioned in Specify Type as Scholarship and in state tuition.
    Funds from this School: $ ****
    Specify Type : Scholarship and in state tuit.

    What does it mean.? Do I have a scholarship.? or Is it, that the scholarship is only for in-state students.?

  4. Hi,

    I applied for 3 universities for ms in us. I’m waiting for my admissions. My doubt is do we need to apply separately for getting tuition fee waiver or the application made for getting admission is enough ?

  5. hi Kumar, i’m from bangladesh. i’ve completed my MSS in public administration 3 years ago. Have any chance for me to go to US for further education? Mentionable that at present i’m involbed in business.

    • Rashed, Yes you can. Think about what you want to do and why want to study here…Then you need to take the Standardized tests like GRE and TOEFL and get your application going…decision is why you want to do it and what you want to ?

    • Fetene, There is nothing specific. When you apply to a school, you have to look for scholarships they offer and apply to then on time. Having good score and credentials are very important for scholarship decisions.

  6. hii… lik if v try to impress the financial aid officer… while applyin 4 scholarship r fee waiver before admission to a particular college… how will he provide fee waiver without testing our skills personally…my acads r good n ma gre n toefl score r very good..plz help me out
    tanx in advance…

  7. I WOULD LIKE NOW SCHOLRSHIP BY DEPRTMNET LAW IF YOU SO HELP ME BA law it wsa i have law of diploma for that can you have scholrship ? now i ma kuwait
    eyasu legesse


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