8 Best Basketball Scholarships for International Students

Even though there are basketball scholarships for international students, we won’t deny the fact that there are already a huge number of talented basketball student-athletes in the United States, so you need to prove that you are a lot better than any potential U.S. player. Even though it’s hard, it doesn’t make it impossible.

Here’s what you should know, NCAA Division 1 & 2, NAIA Division 1 & 2, and NJCAA are the only divisions that award scholarships regardless of whether you’re an international or domestic student. If you successfully sign the contract to play in any of these divisions, you’ll automatically receive a scholarship, but the worth differs depending on the division.

NCAA D1 only awards full-ride scholarships, which is the dream of many student-athletes, but extremely competitive as well. Also, if you enrolled as a walk-on in NCAA Division you won’t receive any scholarship, but as a walk-on in other divisions, you’ll receive a scholarship because their scholarships are shared between the athletes but not equally. 

So, your focus should be to join one of the divisions that award scholarships, don’t forget you’re already at a disadvantage over student-athletes in the U.S., so you need to be more proactive. Also, don’t make the mistake of waiting for the coach to notice you and reach out to you, go the extra mile to reach out to the coach (email is preferable), most coaches do appreciate the additional effort.

And the good news is that there are thousands of international athletes competing in college sports in the U.S., and over 20,000 of them are currently enrolled in the NCAA. 

Moreover, even if you didn’t get a basketball scholarship or the amount is too little, it doesn’t mean you can’t apply for other scholarships like Navy League Foundation Scholarships, undergraduate scholarships, no-essay scholarships, or joining one of the programs that pay you to go to school.

basketball scholarships for international students

Basketball Scholarships for International Students

1. University of North Carolina

  • Division: NCAA D1

The University of North Carolina is one of the best colleges that offer basketball scholarships to foreign students. International students need to bring in their best performance because they only have NCAA D1, which means they’re eligible for the full-ride scholarship, which also means you’ll have top competitors ready to go to war against this scholarship at any cost.

Also, the school provides several other different athletic scholarships for foreign students.

2. Princeton University

  • Division: NCAA D1

Princeton University is among the colleges that provide women’s basketball scholarships for international students that have appeared in at least 25 NCAA tournaments. Also, not only does Princeton University provide full-ride scholarships to both domestic and international basketball student-athletes, but it’s also easier to be admitted to the school when compared to some other schools in the U.S.

Further, Princeton has one of the largest and most successful athletic programs in the NCAA Division I and the Ivy League

3. Bentley University

  • Division: NCAA D2

Since Bentley University is a D2 team, it also means you’ll have less competition the same applies to the funds, there will be a lesser scholarship amount. If you sign the letter of intent as a basketball player at Bentley University your scholarship plus other international scholarships are guaranteed.

Also, some key players graduated from this school, such as Brian Hammel, who was their former Bentley basketball player and coach, he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the third round of the 1975 NBA draft. Plus other alumni.

4. California State Polytechnic University – Pomona

  • Division: NCAA D2

Cal Poly Pomona is another D2 school that provides basketball scholarships for international students, and one of the best parts is that they are also prolific in winning championships. They have won 14 national championships in NCAA Division 2: five of these championships were in women’s basketball, whereas one was in men’s basketball.

Also, the school was recently ranked 3rd in the nation in NCAA Division II Next College Student Athlete (NCSA).

So if you are looking for a scholarship that is less competitive in a college that still dominates in athletics, then Cal Poly Pomona should be one of your top lists.

5. College of Idaho

  • Division: NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)

Going down from the NCAA D2 to NAIA makes the competition even lesser, but still reduces the scholarship you’ll receive. The school primarily competes in the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) for most of its sports.

Speaking of competition championships, the school’s men’s basketball team, in 2023, won its second NAIA national championship.

6. Oklahoma Wesleyan

  • Division: NAIA

Oklahoma Wesleyan has a very good team known as the Eagles that you can join as an international student to earn scholarships. Also, with their 54% acceptance rate, it makes it easy for you to be admitted to the school.

7. University of California – Berkeley

  • Division: NCAA D1

So we’re back to NCAA D1 schools, and the University of California – Berkeley provides some of the best full-ride basketball scholarships for international students. Not only that, but the school is also outstanding in their competitions, so far, they have won 16 national titles, and 113 team titles.

However, even though the NCAA requires a minimum GPA of 2.3, Cal Institute insists that students will have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be admitted.

8. Georgia Tech

  • Division: NCAA D1

Due to several donations, Georgia Tech raises an average of $53 million to sponsor their domestic and international student-athletes’ sports and academic expenses. In fact, in 2020 they raised more than ×3 of it, that is, over $175 million.


Pay attention to what I’m about to say, we might have listed only 8 colleges that provide basketball scholarships to foreign students, but there are still a lot more. What you have to understand is that most colleges that provide basketball scholarships in the United States offer scholarships to both domestic and international students.

What you have to do is know your competitive advantage, then know which division you’re likely to be eligible for, make a list of schools in that division, then start contacting their coaches. Remember, email is preferable.

Also, remember that NCAA offers the best scholarships but the most competitive, and United Student-athletes are considered first, so you have to be very very good at your offers.

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