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 2021;
  • Apply for full financial aid.

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 EducationUSA Russia Competitive College Club (CCC). Recruitment in the CCC occurs once a year in October, so please plan accordingly.
  • Fill out an electronic version of the “Opportunity Funds” questionnaire, which you receive from your assigned EducationUSA Russia adviser.
  • You must be ready to take the TOEFL by July 31, 2021 and all other exams (SAT, ACT, etc.) by October 10, 2021.

For those planning to apply to graduate programs:

  • To qualify for Opportunity Funds program you must already be a member of GSA program– Graduate Students Advising program. Applications to join GSAP were accepted until October 09, 2020, next round will be announced in the spring or summer of 2021). Students are expected to be active in the GSA cohort to qualify for the Opportunity Funds.
  • Fill out an electronic version of the “Opportunity Funds” questionnaire, which you receive from your assigned EducationUSA Russia adviser.
  • Be ready to take the TOEFL by July 31, 2021 and GRE or GMAT by October 10, 2021.

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.

The EducationUSA Adviser reviews each Opportunity application to verify that it is complete and accurate, and that the student meets all eligibility requirements. You will be asked to submit any missing information or to verify inaccurate or incomplete information. Advisers themselves do NOT participate in the selection process.

EducationUSA advisers send complete applications for evaluation to an Expert Selection Committee at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. 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 notify their EducationUSA adviser of any and all offers (or rejections) of admission and financial aid from U.S. universities. 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.

Should you have any questions about the Opportunity Funds program please direct them to: adviser@educationusarussia.org. Indicate in the subject of your message: “Opportunity 2021”.