16 Chinese Language Scholarships: the Ultimate List

Learning Chinese is tough, but as you get into a groove and studying becomes easier funding your learning can become the hard part of learning Mandarin. From opportunities for high school student to working professionals there are tons of Chinese language scholarships out there – you just need to know where to look. Unfortunately, many scholarship lists are convoluted with funding that lets you study in China, but does not cover Chinese language study specifically. The following 16 scholarships can be used as Chinese language scholarships. For more details on each check out the detailed descriptions below. Enjoy!

Chart and summary of the 16 Chinese language scholarships

ScholarshipAge eligibilityStudents onlyFundingProgram location
National Security Language Initiative (NSLI)15 – 18yesfullmainland China or Taiwan
Boren Scholarship18+yesfullmainland China or Taiwan
Huayu Enrichment Scholarship18+nofullTaiwan
Critical Language Scholarship18+yesfullmainland China or Taiwan
Confucius Institute Scholarships18+nofullmainland China
Davis Fellows for Peace18+nofullUnited States
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program18+yesfullmainland China or Taiwan
Taiwan Scholarship18+nofullTaiwan
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship Program18+yesfullmainland China or Taiwan
Youth for Understanding Company Scholarships15 – 18yesfullmainland China
Holcomb and Farnell Foreign Study Fund15 – 18yespartialmainland China
Mandarin Language Enrichment Program (LEP)18+nofullTaiwan
AASCU-Chinese Government Scholarship18+yesfullmainland China
Americans Promoting Study Abroad (ASPA) Scholarships15 – 17yespartialmainland China
Chinese Government Scholarships18+nofullmainland China
Blakemore Freeman Language Grants18+nofullmainland China or Taiwan

Detailed descriptions for each of the scholarships

Description: The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, provides merit-based scholarships for eligible high school students and recent high school graduates to learn less commonly taught languages in summer and academic-year overseas immersion programs.

Time commitment: The Chinese program is six to eight weeks in duration in the summer and typically starts in mid-June to early July and ends in early to mid-August. The Academic Year Program runs from late August to June.

The scholarship covers: round-trip travel expenses, room and board, visas for either China or Taiwan, program tuition and related academic expenses, in-country support, secondary medical benefits, educational and cultural programming, and pre-departure orientation training fees.

Age eligibility: Must be a US high school students between the ages of 15 – 18 at the start of the program. See the NSLI eligibility page for the full set of eligibility requirements.

Description: Boren Scholarships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.

Time commitment: 8-week summer scholarships are available, but Boren strongly encourages long term immersion (2+ semesters).

The scholarship covers: $8,000 for summer, $10,000 for one semester, $20,000 for full year

Age eligibility: 18+ college students. See the Boren eligibility page for the full set of eligibility requirements.

Description: To encourage international students and individuals to undertake Mandarin Chinese language study in Taiwan, the Ministry of Education (MOE) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) established the MINISTRY OF EDUCATION HUAYU ENRICHMENT SCHOLARSHIP (HES) Program in 2005. While providing language study opportunities for Mandarin Chinese and to learn about Taiwan’s culture at certified university or college-affiliated Mandarin training centers. For this Chinese language scholarship you must apply through your local TECO office (major city offices represent entire regions). Here are the website links for TECO New YorkTECO AustraliaTECO Los AngelesTECO San FranciscoTECO ChicagoTECO U.K.TECO Sweden.

Time commitment: 2, 3, 6, 9, or 12 months

The scholarship covers: roundtrip tickets to Taiwan, NTD25,000 each month, and any program fees

Age eligibility: 18+ (you do NOT need to be a current student). For the full set of eligibility requirements see your local TECO office website.

Description: The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a summer study abroad opportunity for American college and university students to learn languages essential to America’s engagement with the world. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers. For Chinese language scholarships applicants are expected to have already complete 2 years of study prior to their summer CLS program.

Time commitment: 8-10 weeks

The scholarship covers: round trip flights, visa application fees, language instruction, room & board, program-sponsored travel within the host country, all entrance fees for program activities, and Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) language assessments

Age eligibility: 18+ (college students)

Description: Confucius Institute (CI) is a public educational organization under the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, whose stated aim is to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges. They have TONS of Chinese language scholarship opportunities, but finding information in English about the opportunities can be confusing. You will need to apply through the official website, but for information I would check out the College of William & Mary’s page on the scholarship. They did a great job distilling all the information that’s floating around the information about the CI scholarships.

Time commitment: 4-weeks (winter or summer), 8-weeks (summer), 1 semester, or 1-3 years

The scholarship covers: varies by which scholarship you apply for, but in general they cover your program costs and provide a monthly stipend of around RMB3,000

Age eligibility: 18+ see individual scholarship applications for more eligibility requirement information

Description: The Davis Fellows for Peace awards aim to fulfill the intention of the late philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis. 100 annual fellowships are awarded to students attending Middlebury Summer Language programs. Here is the link to the Chinese summer program – about 15 students receive these Chinese language scholarships each year!

Time commitment: 8-11 weeks (summer)

The scholarship covers: tuition, room, and board for one summer in any of the 11 Language Schools at any level of study; however, the award does not cover travel, books, or incidentals.

Age eligibility: 18+ (you do NOT need to be a current student)

Description: The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness.

Time commitment: 2-weeks to 1 year

The scholarship covers: Over 2,700 scholarships of up to $5,000 are awarded each academic year for U.S. citizen undergraduates to study or intern abroad. Award amounts vary depending on the length of study and student need. The average award is approximately $4,000 for fall and spring programs, and $3,000 for summer programs.

Age eligibility: 18+ (American undergrads receiving Pell grants) for full eligibility requirements see the scholarship eligibility page

Description: To encourage international students and individuals to undertake Mandarin Chinese language study in Taiwan, the Ministry of Education (MOE) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) established the Taiwan Scholarship. This is a fellowship to earn a degree in Taiwan (BA, MA, or PhD), including a degrees in Chinese language studies. You must apply for this scholarship through your local TECO office (major city offices represent entire regions). Here are the website links for TECO New YorkTECO AustraliaTECO Los AngelesTECO San FranciscoTECO ChicagoTECO U.K.TECO Sweden.

Time commitment: 2 or 4 years

The scholarship covers: round trip tickets to Taiwan, tuition and miscellaneous fees up to NTD40,000 per semester as well as a monthly stipend of NTD15,000 (undergrad students) or NTD20,000 (graduate students)

Age eligibility: 18+ (HS or BA degree required for the respective undergrad and grad programs)

Description: The US Department of Education distributes Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships to colleges and universities throughout the United States to assist undergraduate and graduate students undergo training in modern foreign languages and related area or international studies. Students apply directly to their universities for funding. Even if you have not heard about this on campus check online and email the appropriate advisors on campus – FLAS scholarships are often under advertised despite being a great resource.

Time commitment: 8-weeks, 1 semester, 1 year

The scholarship covers: The estimated institutional payment for an academic year fellowship is $18,000 for a graduate student and $10,000 for an undergraduate student. The estimated institutional payment for a summer fellowship is $5,000 for graduate and undergraduate students.

Age eligibility: 18+

Description: Youth for Understanding (YFU) is a high school international exchange program. It advances intercultural understanding, life-long learning, global competencies, mutual respect, and social responsibility through transformational educational exchanges for generations of youth, families, and communities, supported by dedicated volunteers and professional staff. The company scholarships provide are available to students who parents or family members work at one of the following companies: Chevron, Epson America, Mazda, Mitsubishi, or Sony.

Time commitment: summer, trimester, semester, or full year

The scholarship covers: all costs associated with the program, including roundtrip tickets and room & board

Age eligibility: 15 – 18 years old

Description: This is a scholarship to fund Youth for Understanding (YFU) programs. YFU is a high school international exchange program. It advances intercultural understanding, life-long learning, global competencies, mutual respect, and social responsibility through transformational educational exchanges for generations of youth, families, and communities, supported by dedicated volunteers and professional staff. The Holcomb and Farnell Foreign Study Fund is a needs-based, partial scholarship applicable to the Fall Semester and Fall Year program of any YFU country. This scholarship is funded by Sharon Holcomb and Fred Farnell, who wish to provide young Americans with a life-changing study abroad experience.

Time commitment: 1 semester (fall)

The scholarship covers: partial funding for fall semester of YFU program. See website for more details.

Age eligibility: 15 – 18 years old

Description: This is the Taiwan Scholarship’s (#8) little sibling. Where the Taiwan scholarship is intended to fund multi-year degrees (including Chinese language degrees) this is a non-degree granting program intended to fund shorter language study programs on the island of Taiwan. Similar to the other Taiwanese government Chinese language scholarships you must apply through your local TECO office (major city offices represent entire regions). Here are the website links for TECO New YorkTECO AustraliaTECO Los AngelesTECO San FranciscoTECO ChicagoTECO U.K.TECO Sweden.

Time commitment: 8-weeks to 1 year

The scholarship covers: round trip tickets to Taiwan, tuition and miscellaneous fees up to NTD40,000 per semester as well as a monthly stipend of NTD15,000 (undergrad students) or NTD20,000 (graduate students)

Eligibility: 18+ (you do NOT need to be a student)

Description: The AASCU designated scholarship from the Chinese Embassy is available to undergraduate and graduate students from AASCU member institutions. There are hundreds of AASCU schools, so if you are an undergrad you should check if your school is on the list! This Chinese language scholarship allows students to study Mandarin and/or other available academic subjects at approved Chinese Universities.

Time commitment: 1 semester or 1 year

The scholarship covers: tuition, room & board, health insurance, and a stipend. Note: International round-trip airfare and the China Visa Application fees are the responsibility of the student.

Age eligibility: 18+ (undergrad or graduate students) for full eligibility requirements visit the scholarship’s webpage.

Description: ASPA provides American high school students partial (Global Youth Scholarship) and full (ASPA scholarship) scholarships for their summer China Scholars Program. Scholarship recipients travel to China for this four-week intensive. During those weeks, scholars immerse themselves in Chinese language and culture through daily language instruction, excursions around the city, and various service-learning projects. Throughout this month-long experience scholars also attend workshops, talks and panel discussions with up-and-coming as well as seasoned career leaders from a variety of fields, including technology, diplomacy, education, business, and the arts. The scholars use this unparalleled access as an opportunity to ask thought-provoking question as well as build a professional network in their field of interest.

Time commitment: 4-weeks

The scholarship covers: partial or full funding for the summer program – for more details contact ASPA at [email protected]

Age eligibility: 15 – 17 (high school students)

Description: Opportunities coming from local councils to national agencies, the Chinese government offers tons of scholarship opportunities. The Chinese Scholarship council has streamlined the process by listing all of the opportunities on their website. These scholarships support everything from semester or summer long language study to PhDs. Here is the list of all of the Chinese language study scholarships.

Time commitment: 8-weeks to 5 years

The scholarship covers: program costs and plane tickets – stipend varies by scholarship

Age eligibility: 18+ (BA degree holder)

Description: Since 1990, the Blakemore Foundation, with the support of The Freeman Foundation, has awarded over $18 million in grants to graduating seniors, college graduates, graduate students and working professionals for an academic year abroad in full-time intensive Asian language study. The fellowships cover tuition and a stipend for related educational expenses, basic living costs and transportation. Superior candidates pursuing careers in fields such as academia, international business, accounting, law, medicine, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), journalism, architecture, teaching, social or NGO work, and government service are encouraged to apply.

Time commitment: 1 year

The scholarship covers: tuition and a stipend for related educational expenses, basic living costs and transportation

Age eligibility: 18+ (BA holders)

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