Travel is a wonderful opportunity for students looking to expand their horizons and skillsets. Traveling for educational and business related pursuits helps future young professionals network and gain a better understanding of their potential career path. Study abroad falls within this category of educational travel too. It can be great for students wanting to experience a new culture or learn about their major from another perspective. Yet, travel for these educational opportunities isn’t often cheap. Especially when you must pay for program or conference fees on top of regular travel expenses. That’s where travel grants and scholarships come in to help.

About travel grants and scholarships

Grad cap with "scholarship" written across it sitting atop $100 bills.

Travel grants and scholarships play a vital role in facilitating educational experiences for students around the world. These financial aids are specifically designed to alleviate the burden of travel expenses associated with academic pursuits such as attending conferences, conducting research, or participating in study abroad programs. By providing funding for travel-related costs, these grants and scholarships enable students to broaden their horizons, gain valuable skills and knowledge, and connect with peers and professionals in their fields of interest. Whether offered by educational institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or private companies, travel grants and scholarships open doors to transformative learning opportunities that might otherwise be financially out of reach for many students.

Why do companies give out travel scholarships?

Companies offer travel scholarships for various strategic reasons that align with their overarching goals and values. Some see scholarships as an investment in talent, aiming to support promising students who demonstrate potential in specific fields of interest. By providing financial assistance for educational travel, companies contribute to the development of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Travel scholarships serve as a means to promote education and training. They encourage students to pursue valuable learning experiences such as conferences, workshops, and study abroad programs.

Other companies recognize the opportunity to enhance their brand visibility and reputation through scholarship programs. Offering these resources helps with positioning themselves as socially responsible organizations committed to youth development and education. By supporting students’ travel experiences, companies foster innovation and collaboration within their industries, potentially leading to new partnerships and market insights.

Scholarships can also be used as a recruitment tool. They allow companies to engage with students early in their academic journeys and identify potential future employees who align with their values. Incorporating corporate social responsibility initiatives, some companies prioritize diversity and inclusion by offering scholarships to underrepresented groups or students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This helps to address barriers to access and fosters a more diverse talent pool. In essence, travel scholarships represent a multifaceted approach for companies to invest in education, talent development, brand building, and social responsibility. Combined, these ultimately contribute to the long-term success of industries and communities.

Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) building in Mumbai, India

Where can I get a travel grant or scholarship?

There are plenty of places you can find grant opportunities. These include:

College/university’s financial aid office

Start by contacting your college or university’s financial aid office. They often have information about institutional scholarships, grants, and other funding opportunities available to students, including those for travel purposes. Whether your your university has any in-house scholarships to give out will depend on your school. Some do and some do not. However, it’s likely that they will at least be able to guide you towards other resources, including websites, local organizations, or companies.

Scholarship websites

There are many online platforms and databases that compile information about scholarships, including those for student travel. Sites like, Fastweb, or the College Board’s scholarship search are excellent tools to finding tons of scholarship opportunities. These websites allow you to search for scholarships based on various criteria. Search criteria can include your field of study, academic achievements, and travel plans. This means you can find scholarships to help with your usual tuition and also scholarships to help fund that study abroad trip or other educational endeavor.

Professional associations or organizations

Many professional associations and organizations offer travel grants and scholarships to students pursuing studies or research in specific fields. Explore the websites of relevant associations or inquire with professors in your department to learn about such opportunities. For example, the American Psychological Association (APA) offers travel grants and scholarships for psychology students to attend conferences, present research, or participate in other educational activities related to the field of psychology.

Government agencies or Nonprofit organizations

Government agencies, both at the federal and state levels, as well as nonprofit organizations, sometimes offer travel grants and scholarships to support educational initiatives. You should check with organizations related to your field of study or interests for potential funding opportunities. An example of an agency would be the Fulbright Program which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. They offer various scholarships and grants for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international educational and cultural exchange programs, including opportunities for travel and research abroad.

Study abroad offices

If you’re interested in studying abroad, your college or university’s study abroad office may offer information about scholarships and grants specifically for international travel and study programs. Outside your educational institution, you could also look into various study abroad-focused organizations. An example would be the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program which is funded by the U.S. Department of State. They provide scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or internships abroad. The scholarship aims to support diverse students in their study abroad experiences.

Research funding opportunities

If you’re involved in research projects, consider looking for funding opportunities from research grants or foundations that support student research and travel. The National Science Foundation (NSF) offers grants and fellowships to support research and education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This includes funding for travel-related expenses associated with research projects, conferences, workshops, and other collaborative activities.

Social media and your own network

Joining online communities and forums related to your field of study or interests can sometimes lead to discovering lesser-known travel grant opportunities shared by fellow students or professionals. Be sure to reach out to people you know too. You never know who may have insights into a random opportunity that you might not have otherwise heard of. Your networking abilities can be hugely important to landing internships, jobs, grants, etc.

Local community organizations and businesses

Some local community organizations, businesses, or philanthropic foundations may offer scholarships or grants to support students from the area in pursuing educational travel experiences. This, of course, depends on where you live and what your local community is like. So you may have to do some digging. Try searching by your town, county, state, and region. Then search for the closest city and the closest major city area to help expand your chances of finding opportunities.

University student excitedly reading her acceptance letter after having applied for travel scholarships and grants.

Tips for travel grant and scholarship applications

If you want to earn yourself a grant or a scholarship you need to have a strong application. Your application must stand out amongst all the others that are submitted. It should demonstrate why you should receive the finances versus anyone else. But you also won’t want to portray yourself as whiney, negative, or lacking professionalism. Use these quick dos and don’ts to guide your application process.


  • Research extensively: Look around for all the scholarship and grant opportunities you can find. The more you apply for, the better your odds. Also be sure to thoroughly research the organization your applying to. This level of research will help you tailor your application to match what values they believe in.
  • Start early: This will help you manage your time so you aren’t submitting rushed work right before the deadline. Or worse, missing the deadline altogether.
  • Read instructions carefully: Nothing will hurt your chances more of winning the financial aid than submitting an application that didn’t follow the instructions they laid out. Following instructions shows that you are detail-oriented, a good reader, and a good listener. Not following instructions showcases you as being careless or not thinking.
  • Customize and highlight: While oftentimes the barebones basics of applications can be applied to multiple application processes, you don’t want your entire application to be so generic that it could be used for any organization. You’ll stand out as a much better candidate if you tailor each application to highlight your unique qualities that align to that specific application’s prompts or that organization generally.
  • Proofread: Be thorough and take the time to review all your materials before submitting. Maybe even enlist the eyes of a friend or family member to read things over and make sure it looks good. Ensure that all your materials are clear, concise, coherent, and accurate. Check for spelling and grammar errors, too.


  • Miss the deadline: This is at the top of the don’ts list because it is quite literally the one thing you really cannot do. If you miss the deadline, it’s too late and you’ve missed your chance to apply.
  • Exaggerate, lie, or be too negative: Besides being unethical, you shouldn’t lie in your application because you don’t know what amount of fact checking they will do. You might think it will make you stand out and look better to say you once won a prestigious award. But when they request proof, you’ll be out of the running when they find out you lied. Honesty and integrity are paramount in scholarship applications.
  • Submit bad writing: Not everyone is great at writing and that’s totally okay. Your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect! However, it’s important that you show professionalism by submitting writing that is free of grammar or punctuation errors, does not use slang, and actually makes sense. Do not submit work that was written by AI. It might seem like a quick cheat to get the work done fast, but it’s not hard to tell the difference between the average person’s word choice and the words those sites tend to choose.
  • Use a negative tone: Avoid conveying a negative attitude or tone in your application materials. Instead, focus on highlighting your strengths, achievements, and aspirations in a positive and optimistic manner.
  • Disregard criteria: Every application process has its own set of requirements so it’s important you include everything they ask for. Some things you might expect to see asked for include letters of recommendation, a transcript, portfolio, essay, or various answers to writing prompts. Forgetting to include something asked for is a quick way to remove yourself from consideration for the financial aid.