Find out what types of scholarships are available for UAE school students and what are the eligibility requirements
17 July 2023| Last updated on 24 July 2023
A guide to school scholarships in the UAE.
In the UAE, scholarships are awarded to school and university students in recognition of their excellence in studies, athletics, and good character.
Whether you're a student, parent, or guardian, our guide to UAE scholarships is here to help you understand what scholarships are available, who is eligible, and how to apply for them.
Why should a student try to aim for a UAE school scholarship?
School scholarships in the UAE help students to attend school at minimised or zero cost to their parents or guardians. It also helps families save more for their child's future college funds, while a university scholarship helps students to pursue their career goals while reducing the costs of it.
Earning a school scholarship can also look good on college applications and job resumes.
As scholarships lighten or remove the burden of school fees for families without requiring to be paid back, getting a scholarship in the UAE can be competitive as it sought-after by skilled and talented students from both within the UAE and from other countries.
What are the different types of awards?
There are generally three types of financial aids for students in the UAE:
- Scholarships: This financial aid is usually awarded to students who achieve tremendous performance in their academics, sports, music activities, or other extra curriculars.
- Grants: A grant is given by a school or college for a student's personal circumstances, achievements, or for their financial needs (subject to eligibility requirements).
- Bursaries: Bursaries are typically given for a student's financial need, subject to key criterias.
Are there conditions to a scholarship?
To keep their scholarship benefits and remain on the programme, students are required to maintain an exemplary academic and/or disciplinary record. If the student is unable to do so, the scholarship award may be revoked (it's not at all mandatory for the student to repay the scholarship).
The same also applies to students who earned a musical or athletics scholarship. They will be required to continue their activities in music and sports, while representing the school.
There may also be other conditions that the student will need to meet or consider, such as combined household income, the last date for scholarship applications, etc. This varies depending on the school and type of financial aid.
What types of scholarships are available for students in the UAE?
In the UAE, there are school and college scholarships that may provide partial or complete coverage of a student's school tuition fees.
Scholarships are typically granted to students who excel in academics or a certain subject area such as science or arts, and display sound character, motivation, and ambition to go above and beyond.
Students who showcase outstanding prowess in athletics may also be considered for a scholarship based on their sporting achievements, regardless of how their grades might look. Students under this scholarship are usually picked to represent the school or college in competitions, games, and tournaments.
3. Charity and/or personal circumstances
There are also scholarships that are granted in consideration of a student's financial circumstances or family and economic background and may not otherwise have the funds to attend school or university because of it.
Some schools may have an agreement or partnership with a foreign government to grant merit or needs-based scholarships to international students as well.
4. Industry scholarships
These are awarded by companies and professional organisations who wish to attract talented students into their industry or business. Under this scholarship, students are often offered internships or full-time employment before or after they graduate.
5. Musical skills
Students who display excellent musical talent, skills, and have experience with music competitions and shows may apply for a musical scholarship. Just like a sporting scholarship, some musical scholarships will not consider the student's grades and instead focus on their musical capabilities.
6. Art scholarship
A financial aid awarded to students who possess great skills in art and may range in a variety of fields such as painting, sculpting, etc.
7. Marketing scholarships
Marketing scholarships are designed by schools and universities when they have student admissions goals they want to meet. For example, a school may grant a fixed financial aid award to students who enroll in their institution before a fixed date, such as a 20% discount or AED 5,000 deducted from the total tuition fees.
These are open to all types of students, as long as they enroll early or pay their tuition fee deposit early.
Can foreign students earn a scholarship in the UAE?
Yes, colleges and select private schools in the UAE offer the opportunity for foreign students or children from expat families to get financial aid for their studies.
To earn this award in the UAE, a student must showcase an outstanding record in his or her studies, sports, arts, or other subject areas under the scope of the scholarship.
You can also find out if your school grants need-based scholarships for students from minority backgrounds or for students who are unable to attend school due to insufficient funds or other circumstances.
Top tips when applying for a UAE scholarship
If you have found some schools and scholarships you are interested in going for, here are some top tips to consider before you submit your application.
1. Always check the scholarship's eligibility criteria:
The key requirements to apply for a scholarship or bursary will often differ. No matter how impressive your application may be, you will not be considered if you do not meet the main eligibility criteria.
2. Customise your application for each scholarship:
If you are applying for more than one scholarship / at least two or more schools, it's important to tailor your application based on the scholarship's requirements and questions. Try to avoid copying and pasting the same scholarship application answers and make an effort to understand what they are looking for.
3. Don't be shy to ask for help or feedback:
Before you submit your application, try to seek out some advice or a review from a teacher, school advisor, mentor, or a trusted friend who has already been through the scholarship application process.
It'll be a good idea to ask for feedback so you can apply some changes that can help boost your chances.
4. Just go for it:
Some students may hesitate to apply for a school scholarship in the UAE as they think they do not have the grades, skills, or talents to achieve one, or may be battling with feelings of imposter syndrome.
It's important to just take the leap as you'll never know unless you try.