Sponsored International Students

What is a sponsored student?

Michigan State University defines a sponsored student as a student who receives a scholarship from a foundation, government, or corporation. MSU is currently home to approximately 700 sponsored students. Sponsored students further enrich and diversify Michigan State’s student community. As students, they make substantive contributions to the intellectual life of the campus. After graduation, they join a global Spartan alumni community numbering over half a million people.

Eligibility criteria, sponsorship obligations

Sponsor eligibility criteria differs markedly from program to program. Eligibility requirements may include -- but are not limited to -- nationality, age, employment status, and prior earned postsecondary credentials. Sponsor organizations may designate an approved list of postsecondary institutions and/or academic programs, from which a sponsored student must select a university and course of study. Some sponsor programs require a prospective student to apply first for sponsorship, and then to an approved university for admission. Others require a prospective student to receive an offer of admission and then apply to the sponsor for support.

Sponsors may require sponsored students to sign a release allowing the sponsor to monitor their academic performance. After graduation, sponsored students may be required to return to their home country for a specified period of time.

Financial support

The terms of sponsorship also differ with regard to the kind of financial support provided. Most sponsored programs also provide funding for living expenses in addition to tuition and fees. Some provide additional funding to support spouses and children. Once a student has secured sponsorship, the sponsor will provide them with a financial guarantee letter that specifically indicates what costs (e.g., tuition, fees, transportation, accommodations, health insurance, living expenses) the sponsor has agreed to cover, and the duration of the sponsorship agreement.

Prospective sponsored students should carefully review the terms of a sponsor program and contact a representative if they have questions.

Support for sponsored students

A dedicated staff member in MSU’s Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) serves as a liaison between sponsored students, their sponsor, and the University.

Why sponsored students choose MSU

  • A top ranked global research university

Michigan State is recognized internationally as a top-ranked research university and a leader in global engagement. MSU is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, a group of only 62 universities widely regarded as among the top research-intensive institutions in North America. The 60 AAU universities in the United States award nearly one-half of all U.S. doctoral degrees and 55 percent of those in the sciences and engineering.

Times Higher Education and US News & World Report both rank Michigan State as one of the Top 100 universities in the world. US News & World Report also ranked MSU’s graduate programs in criminal justice; educational policy; higher education administration; nuclear physics; and supply chain management. Those not appearing in the most recent USNWR rankings but maintaining their top-ten positions from prior rankings include African history; industrial/organizational psychology; rehabilitation counseling; and production/operations. These rankings provide evidence of excellence across MSU’s fourteen degree-granting schools and colleges.

Click here for a complete list of MSU’s current rankings and recognition.

  • A global campus in the heartland of America

MSU has long been a top destination for international students studying in the United States. Approximately 7,000 international students and scholars from over 130 countries study and research at MSU. International Studies and Program (ISP) is a hub for international research, teaching, and outreach. ISP supports international activities across the university; leverages MSU's international research activities; enhances study abroad programming; supports international partnerships; and welcomes international visitors, scholars, and students. Within ISP are seven global thematic and area studies centers, programs for students and scholars, and resources for international travel and safety, international research collaboration, and faculty and student support. MSU’s Office for International Students and Scholars offers a holistic and comprehensive suite of support services for international students, including visa/immigration support, orientation services, and cultural programming.

  • Livability and affordability

MSU is located in Michigan’s Capital Region, recently named by Livability.com as the most affordable in the United States. The cost of living here is well below the national average in the US. Metropolitan Lansing offers museums and galleries; agri-tourism; over a dozen wineries, breweries, and distilleries; professional sports and live theater; swimming and boating; and parks, trails, and gardens.