Scholarships in Malaysia

Cosmopolitan and Old World, Open and Inviting

Malaysia is split into two pieces;  the South China Sea separates peninsular Malaysia (south of Thailand) from East Malaysia on Borneo. For American students, Malaysia presents an exotic environment for studies with its amalgam of cultures where high-tech industry blends seamlessly with old-world institutions and values.

Government Scholarships

The National Security Education Program funds the David L. Boren Scholarships, ultra-competitive and hotly contested among undergraduate and graduate students. The scholarships provide generous awards to students eager to study in and about areas of the world critical to U.S. national security, such as Malaysia. Eligible applicants must possess top academic scores and be participating in a program that allows them full immersion in the common culture and Malay language. Students considering a career in national security are preferred and recipients are required to work for a term for the federal government. Up to $20,000 is given for a one-year immersion.

malaysia scholarships

Graduates students are eligible for David L. Boren Fellowships, awards for up to $30,000 over two years. Recipients are required to for the federal government for at least one year.

Disadvantaged students who want to study in Malaysia may qualify for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships, another program designed by the federal government. This congressionally funded scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to study abroad. The goal is to diversify the next generation of educated global leaders by offering underrepresented populations a unique opportunity to expand their experiences with the global economy and cultural exchange. Some 2,300 scholarships of up to $5,000 are awarded each academic year; award amounts vary depending on the length of study and student need.

Private Funding

Thanks to charitable and forward-thinking organizations like the Freeman Foundation, thousands of undergraduate and graduate students pursue studies in Malaysia every year, many supported by the generous Freeman Awards for Studies in Asia. Freeman-ASIA accepts applications from U.S. citizens or permanent residents studying at the undergraduate level at a two-year or four-year college or university who demonstrate financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. Eligible applicants must have a GPA of 2.8 and have had little or no experience in Malaysia. Awards also consider financial need and academic standing. Candidates may apply for summer, semester or year-long programs, and will receive up to $7,000. (This is funded through 2013; check to ensure the Freeman-ASIA’s status.)

The Blakemore Foundation sponsors the Blakemore Freeman Fellowships that award graduate students to participate in advanced language study. Preference is given to those who demonstrate a professional need for the language they want to study. Only applicants pursuing a full year of intensive study are considered.

Rotary International’s Ambassadorial Scholarships, fostering international understanding since 1947, are coming to an end in 2013. They are being replaced by “District Grants” which can be used for a number of projects and purposes, including scholarships. These scholarships will have no restrictions on the recipient’s level (secondary, university, or graduate), length, location (local or international), or area of study, and there will be no restrictions on the dollar amount for the scholarships.

The Henry Luce Foundation funds a number of philanthropic programs that bolster projects throughout Asia through the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE).  LIASE is encouraging innovative approaches to Asian studies teaching and research at the undergraduate level, with a focus on the environment and sustainable development.  While Asian studies have traditionally been based in the humanities, this initiative is seeking students in other fields, including the physical and biological sciences, mathematics, and economics, to create innovative projects surrounding Asia’s environmental challenges, the development of green technologies and other issues. Malaysia is a targeted region in this program, which can award an institution up to $50,000 to implement its project. The competition is open through invited liberal arts colleges and some related associations in the United States. This is not designed for students in intensive Asian Studies or language programs.

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs is monitoring the possibility of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens in parts of Southeast Asia. Before planning to study abroad, consult the State Department’s Travel Warnings and Alerts.


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