Financial Aid for International Students

When you decide to pursue a degree in the US, there are a number of factors you need to consider including the reputation of the school, the value of the degree and your career. Another equally important factor is educational expenses.
HomeUS Visa & ImmigrationFinancial Aid for International Students

University education in the US is extremely expensive. You might end up spending anywhere between $7000-$40,000 per year for tuition. A guaranteed admission does not always necessarily mean that you will be able to attend school. In other words, you will not be allowed to attend school in the US, if you cannot afford it. So, make sure you have you are well equipped with a foolproof financing plan to pursue your US degree.

Your tuition costs tend to vary depending on your school. Most private schools like Princeton, Harvard or Northwestern tend to be more expensive than state funded schools like University of Michigan, University of Illinois and State University of New York. If you opt to attend state funded universities, you may be eligible for a special discount in your second year of school, since by then you would qualify as an in-state student. In-state students are those who have resided in a particular state for more than year and are eligible for a special discounted tuition rate.

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Graduates students enrolled into an MS/PhD program are generally funded by the university, since they contribute effectively to research in a particular field. Students pursuing their master’s in professional fields like business administration or journalism may receive some financial support from universities, but may also have to arrange for some additional funding either in the form of loans or grants. Undergraduate students may need to look for work on-campus, like in the library or gym to sustain their daily expenses.

Here are some financing options you might want to look into:

  • Most reputed schools in the US have financing options available for international students. Be sure to inquire about financial aid while applying to the universities in the US. Foreign undergraduate students are offered little financial aid, unless they prove to be of exceptional merit.
  • Some schools that encourage cultural diversity on-campus may offer scholarships to students belonging to different nationalities, who would not be able to support themselves. Make sure you check with your university for such scholarships.
  • Connect with your universities financial aid office to learn more about your financing options, like federal grants and scholarships given to exceptional foreign students. Also, complete the International Student Financial Aid Application when you send out your application materials to the university.
  • If you are applying for graduate studies, make sure you complete your paperwork and follow-up on teaching and research assistantships. Most meritorious graduate students are awarded fellowships irrespective of their citizenship. But, be sure to check with your school to see if you are eligible for such aid right from your first year of study.
  • Look for scholarships outside the ones offered by your school as well. International Education Financial Aid (IEFA), Financial Aid for Foreign Student in the US (NAFSA), Rotary International Scholarships and Scholarship Experts are some resources your might want to look into while researching your scholarship options.
  • Since, foreign students are not eligible for subsidized federal and state loans; it is all the more important to check out your options for private funding either from banks or other financial institutions and trusts that provide educational funding. Research your options in your home country first and then in the US, since it is easier to get a loan from your home country as a citizen than as a foreigner in the US.
  • Don’t forget to check out international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Council of Churches. They often provide financial aid to students, who wish to study in the United States. Though these scholarships are extremely competitive, they are certainly worth a shot. You never know what you can get based on your interests, ideals or your ethnic background.

More Resources

These Web sites may additionally assist your search for financial support:

  • Fast WEB- A free scholarship search service that determined your eligibility for financial aid based on a set of questions on your background, hobbies and interests.
  • Mach 25- It allows you to look for scholarships based on your age, nationality, club memberships and other related factors.
  • EduPass- A comprehensive Web guide for scholarships for foreign nationals.


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