Spain welcomes approximately 34,000 American students each year, many of whom quickly find themselves consumed in the southern European country’s sundry geography, inimitable cultures, invigorating gastronomic experiences, and enriching language learning opportunities. It’s the third most popular destination for American students to study abroad.
But because neither studying abroad programs nor the cost of living in Europe are exactly cheap, there are scholarships to fund your study abroad experience in Spain. The United States and Spanish governments, and some universities and third-party providers, grant scholarships specifically for studying in Spain. And because the internet can be an overwhelming, gaping abyss of information, we’ve done the research for you.
Scholarships for Studying Abroad in Spain
Before we dive in, here are a few other resources here on Go Overseas, about the finances of studying abroad in Spain:
Okay, let's get to the scholarships!
Spanish Studies Abroad Financial Aid
Spanish Studies Abroad has awarded over $230,000 in scholarships since 2001 via its two scholarships, the Merit-Based Scholarship and the Diversity Scholarship, for academic programs in Spain, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Argentina. The Merit-Based Scholarship to Spain is awarded to one student who shares “a personal life story that demonstrates [their] dedication to learning Spanish and how [they] have gone above and beyond in [their] acquisition of the language,” in a 400-to-500-word essay.
- Preference is given to those who can verify a commitment to their Spanish studies both inside and outside the classroom.
In-person programs are cancelled through May 2021, and summer programs will only be available in Alicante, Spain. Fall 2021 programs are currently scheduled to be in-person.
ISA Diversity Scholarship for American Students
ISA offers the ISA Diversity Scholarship with the goal of bringing the benefits of a global education to historically underserved student populations. This includes, but is not limited to, students identifying as underrepresented races, ethnic origins, sexual orientations, gender identities, as well as first generation college students and those with accessibility needs.
While competitive, this prestigious option is for recent college graduates, master- and doctoral-degree candidates, and young professionals with less than five years of work experience. Arts, humanities, and social sciences students may enroll in a graduate degree program (master’s or doctoral), or attend courses without seeking a degree. Additional options include conducting research and attending courses, or just conducting research alone.
- Applicants must be citizens or nationals of the United States of America at the time of application.
- Applicants must meet the language requirements of the award to which they are applying and demonstrate sufficient competency to complete their project and adjust to life in the host country.
- Strong preference for those who have not previously held a Fulbright grant.
- Preference will be given to applicants whose higher education was undertaken primarily at educational institutions in the United States.
- Candidates who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States will be given preference, provided their qualifications are approximately equivalent to those of other candidates.
- For most programs, applicants who have had extensive, recent previous foreign experience in the host country are at a competitive disadvantage but are still eligible to apply.
The Fulbright Program offers grants to qualified U.S. students and young professionals to pursue independent research in Spain.
CIEE Scholarships and Grants
CIEE’s need-based grants offer support to students who face financial barriers to studying abroad. CIEE awards need-based grants based on students’ EFCs and program selection. The Gilman Go Global Grant offers students $750-$2,000 toward airfare, plus $2,500 toward semester program costs, or $1,000 toward summer program costs.
- The application processes for these grants all require proof of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Estimated Family Contribution, as displayed on the applicant’s FAFSA Student Aid Report
Global Experiences Generation Study Abroad Scholarship
Global Experiences offers scholarships for both summer and semester terms in any of the organization’s 11 global cities. They are currently accepting applications for summer and fall 2021 and 2022. Full scholarships are available for semester-long programs, with special consideration given to those who are underrepresented in study abroad programs. Global Experiences also contributes to those who receive a Pell Grant or Benjamin A. Gillman scholarship, for both in person and virtual programs.
American Institute for Foreign Study Scholarships
These are awarded to American students who show high academic achievement. Over $800,000 in scholarships, grants, and financial support are awarded to deserving students & institutions each year. Be aware that scholarships listed are not available to students on AIFS customized faculty-led programs.
- To apply, you'll need to write a 1,000-word essay on how studying abroad fits into your academic and career goals, and what you will do to promote study abroad on your campus when you return.
These grants from the United States and Spanish governments, and some universities and third-party providers, aren't open to just anyone, however. Students should strive to prove that they're both disciplined and genuinely interested in learning the Spanish language or delving into Spanish culture to be considered. If you think you have what it takes, applying certainly can't hurt.
This article was originally published in June 2018, and it was updated in February 2021.