Financial Aid & Scholarships
The Turkish government, in accordance with its current foreign policy, actively seeks to promote and increase the number of foreign students studying at Turkish higher education institutes, targeting nationals from countries in Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe in particular. This is, in part, a consequence of the government’s intent and efforts at sustaining Turkey’s leading regional and global position. Thus, the government appreciates the important role that education and exchange plays in supporting its regional foreign policy objectives. The Turkish government is therefore committed to providing more scholarships and assist in finding other funding opportunities to increase the number of international students in the country. Furthermore, as the number of state and foundation universities increases, the number of international students increases accordingly. Since 1992, the number of international students who have received some sort of financial aid has risen to 15,000. In the 2011-2012 academic year alone, a new target of 3,600 scholarships for international students has been set.
Scholarships are awarded to successful applicants based on their highest scores achieved in international or national examinations and their high school or undergraduate grades. Full or partial scholarships are applied towards tuition fees for education. Therefore, students themselves are mainly responsible for providing for their accommodation, living and travel expenses.
There are a number of scholarships available in Turkey. The first two, the Ministry of Education’s State Scholarship and Government Scholarship, are only open to Turkish nationals or students from Turkic countries.
The Islamic Development Bank (IBD) is also a major source of scholarships. These are however currently open only to students from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Maldives, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.
It is rather difficult for students from other countries to obtain a scholarship at a Turkish university unless they find one being offered by an individual institution and meet that institution’s criteria.
Country specific scholarship notifications are announced through diplomatic channels. Candidates should consult and apply to the authorized bodies of their own countries or the Turkish embassy or consulates in their respective home countries. Here you will find the contact details of Turkish embassies and consulates abroad, sorted by countries: www.mfa.gov.tr/turkish-representations.en.mfa
Turkish universities have increasingly been receiving financial support from large corporations, allowing them to award more scholarships according to students’ needs and merit. The amount and application procedures for these scholarships vary considerably.
Many foundation and some state universities offer merit scholarships to those who have outstanding academic backgrounds. Scholarships are granted for the program the student is enrolled in and are continued throughout the regular duration of the student’s education (extensions are prohibited). The normal duration of the scholarship is five years for those who must join an English language preparatory program and four years for those who start directly as a freshman. At foundation universities, students are not at risk of losing their scholarships despite academic difficulties as long as they adhere to mandatory class attendance rates.
Students are placed in a merit scholarship program according to their grades, scores and ranking. Merit scholarships usually cover (a) tuition fees; (b) living costs through a ten-month stipend; and (c) dormitory accommodation fees.
Independent of the merit-based scholarship quota, universities provide additional sources of funding. For example, partial scholarships, such as the Academic Success Scholarship, go towards paying for a certain percentage of the total tuition (anywhere between 30% to 50% in the case of the Academic Success Scholarship). Almost all foundation universities offer partial scholarships, which depend on the academic merits of the applicant and cover between 20% and 70% of the total tuition fees.
Country specific scholarships are announced through diplomatic channels. Candidates should contact and apply to the authorized bodies of their own countries or to the Turkish embassy or consulates in their respective countries.
Applications for scholarships granted by foundation universities will also be considered according to the approved international student quotas in place. Decisions are made by the relevant Faculty Executive Board. If necessary, candidates may be interviewed via phone or e-mail.
Successful candidates will be sent an acceptance letter by the university. However, they will need to produce any documents submitted as part of their application in original when physically enrolling at the university.
International students are required to obtain a student visa before entering Turkey. You will not qualify for a student residence permit if you enter the country without a student visa. Please direct all of your inquiries to your university’s International Affairs Office.
Useful Links for Financial Aid and Scholarships