Opportunity Funding (Opportunity Funds program)

Opportunity Funds program provided by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, supports international students with the application process to U.S. higher education institutions. Opportunity Funds program provides funds to talented international students who are highly competitive for full financial aid but who do not have the financial means to apply to universities in the United States. Opportunity Funds program only covers the costs associated with the application process to degree programs at accredited colleges and universities in the United States and offers no guarantee of acceptance or financial aid awards at U.S. institutions.

To be eligible for Opportunity funding in Russia, a student must:

  • Be a citizen of, or officially recognized refugee in the Russian Federation;
  • Demonstrate that a candidate and his/her family are not able to pay for the application process;
  • Apply to Bachelor’s/Master’s/PhD programs at accredited higher education institutions in the United States in the fall of 2024;
  • Apply for full financial aid at accredited US colleges and universities.

The following categories are not eligible:

  • Alumni of the Fulbright and Muskie programs and students currently studying at or who have graduated from a U.S. higher education institution are not eligible for Opportunity funding.
  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents, employees and immediate family of employees of EducationUSA Advising Centers or a U.S. Embassy/Consulate are not eligible for Opportunity funding.

Note: FLEX, YEAR and Global UGRAD alumni are eligible.

For those planning to apply to undergraduate programs:

  • To qualify for Opportunity Funds program you must already be a member of the Competitive College Club (CCC). Recruitment in the CCC occurs once a year, so please plan accordingly
  • Fill out an electronic “Opportunity Funds” questionnaire, which will become available at the time of enrollment in the program;
  • Be ready to take the TOEFL by September 30, 2024

For those planning to apply to graduate programs:

  • To qualify for Opportunity Funds program you must be a member or a finalist of a cohort program Graduate Students Advising program (GSAp). Recruitment in the GSAp occurs twice a year, so please plan accordingly
  • Fill out an electronic “Opportunity Funds” questionnaire, which will become available at the time of enrollment in the program;
  • Be ready to take the TOEFL by September 30, 2024 and GRE or GMAT by October 15, 2024.


Opportunity funding is approved in two phases: (1) assistance for the application process (testing, application fees, etc.), and (2) assistance to begin studies (SEVIS/visa fees, travel to U.S., settling in, etc.)

All information is confidential and is reviewed only to determine the applicant’s financial need and eligibility.

Completed applications are sent for evaluation to an Expert Selection Committee in the U.S. Embassy. The experts are selected according to their expertise in the U.S. education system and experience teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students. The Selection Committee evaluates each nomination individually based on demonstrated financial need, prior academic achievements, potential for admission with financial aid to a U.S. higher education institution, and leadership. The Selection Committee supports equal opportunity for all without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, geographical region, or academic discipline.

The Selection Committee invites nominees, who otherwise would not be able to pay for their application process and who show strong test scores and positive recommendations on their evaluations, to apply for Opportunity funding. Finalists are required to submit the results of their application process (positive or negative responses from all universities to applications for admission and financial aid) to opportunityfunds@educationusarussia.org. Nominees who are not selected for funding will receive letters notifying them of their status.

Opportunity funding may cover up-front expenses including, but not limited to:

  • Testing fees and transportation to testing sites located far from the student’s home;
  • Application fees for U.S. institutions;
  • Mailing application documents to U.S. universities;
  • U.S. visa fees, including transportation for visa interview if the U.S. Consulate is located far from student’s home;
  • SEVIS fee;
  • Transportation to the U.S. institution where the student will study;
  • One-time settling-in allowance to help cover the initial costs of living in the U.S.

All decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Funding for selected grantees is at the discretion of the U.S. Embassy and may be discontinued at any time if the student does not meet his/her responsibilities (e.g. meeting test and application deadlines).

EducationUSA Advising Centers promote U.S. higher education around the world by offering accurate, comprehensive and current information about educational opportunities in the United States and guidance to qualified individuals on how best to access those opportunities.

For inquiries regarding the Opportunity Funds program and the submission of program applications, contact: opportunityfunds@educationusarussia.org

Indicate in the subject of your message: “Opportunity Funds 2024-2025”.