Scholarships for International Students to Study in the US: Financial Aid for Foreign Students in USA

Financing a US college degree is a significant hurdle, even for most Americans. However, as a foreign student / international student, you must prove in advance that you can pay for your college studies before you can obtain a student visa to study in the United States. More than likely, you will need to pursue some form of financial aid, including scholarships.

The cost of tuition varies dramatically at US colleges and universities from as little as $7000 a year at some schools to $40,000 a year and beyond at others. You may notice that State supported colleges and universities (separate from private colleges and universities) typically offer lower tuition fees to residents of their own State. For example, at the University of Virginia, the college tuition cost in 2010-2011 for a student (full-time undergraduate) who qualified as a resident of Virginia was $10,836 a year (in-state tuition), while the college tuition cost for a non-resident of the State (even for a US citizen) was $33,782 a year. Being a resident (in-state), obviously, can make college costs much less expensive, but as a foreign student / international student, you cannot initially take advantage of these lower college tuition fees. In addition to college tuition, you will also have costs for room, board (meals), and books.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Help from Colleges and Universities

You certainly should make inquiries about financial aid and scholarships for international students / foreign students with the US colleges and universities to which you are applying. While many US colleges offer little aid to foreign undergraduate students (unless you happen to be an extraordinary athlete), some schools do offer scholarships for international students, or have special programs to help foreign students / international students find financial aid and scholarships. For example, Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, says it seeks a student population which is culturally, economically, socially and geographically diverse, and the institution works to support students who would not otherwise have the resources to enroll. During the 2008-2009 academic year, Lewis & Clark awarded over a million dollars in college financial aid to international students, 60 percent of whom received financial aid. Approximately 45 financial aid awards are made to new international students in the college each fall. The average financial aid award at the college in the 2009-2010 academic year was approximately $20,000.

A list of direct links to financial aid offices for various US colleges and universities is listed here at Yahoo. Individual schools are more likely to offer grants and scholarships for international students / foreign students who prove themselves superior in their fields of study.

Graduate students should have more luck finding financial aid, as graduate and teaching assistantships and fellowships are offered to students with proven academic records, regardless of whether they are foreign students / international students or US citizens. Even if you are applying for graduate studies, however, some schools will not consider you for a fellowship or assistantship until your second year of study.

Finding Scholarships for International Students / Foreign Students in the US

While there are many scholarships for study in the USA, they often require US citizenship or at least US residency. If you find a college scholarship that interests you, the first thing you should do is to look at the scholarship requirements and determine if you must be a US citizen. There is financial aid available for international students / foreign students to study in the US, but it takes initiative and determination to find. Some places that have specific information on scholarships for international students / foreign students studying in the US include:

  • Scholarship Experts has a special database of scholarships for international students. This is a service of financial aid professionals, who find the most appropriate scholarships for your situation. The company prides itself on saving you time by having the most up to date listing of awards, which are reviewed annually.
  • Financial Aid for Undergraduate International Students (NAFSA) provides tips and lists sources of additional information
  • International Education Financial Aid Website allows international students to search for scholarships based on field of study
  • Rotary International Scholarships

Government Financial Aid: Grants & Loans

You may see, and schools may send you, information about state and federal (national) government financial aid. Before you take the time to apply, be sure to determine whether the government financial aid is available to international students / foreign students. Unfortunately, federal and state government grants and loans generally do not apply to foreign students / international students studying in the United States. For more information about federal financial aid, see US Federal Government Financial Aid for Foreign Students. For more information about state financial aid, contact the appropriate state (click here for a list of state education agencies).

Other Sources of Financial Aid and Scholarships for International Students

It does not hurt to be creative in your search for financial aid or scholarships to study in the USA. You may have luck researching grants or loans in your own country for study abroad. Also, some international agencies such as the United Nations and the World Council of Churches offer financial aid for international students who wish to study in the United States, but competition is tough for student financial aid from large agencies such as these.

What interests you? What clubs, churches, or civic groups are you a member of? It is certainly worth your time to research groups in your own country that may offer college scholarships to individuals with your interests, your ideals, or your ethnic background. You may be surprised what you find, and you will certainly increase your chances of getting a scholarship since you will be applying for scholarships for which you are uniquely qualified.

Be sure to see US Educational Advising Centers in Your Country: Study in USA for resources and organizations in your own country that can provide guidance with financial aid and scholarships.

More Websites to Help Find Scholarships for International Students to Study in the US

Here are more places on the web that can help you search for financial aid and scholarships for international students to study in US:

  • FastWEB Use FastWeb's free scholarship search to find information on more than 600,000 scholarships. Asks you questions to determine your background, including hobbies and interests, and then searches for appropriate financial aid for you. It will even email you information about financial aid that may suit your needs, as it becomes available.
  • eduPASS is a site providing comprehensive information to foreign students / international students wishing to study in the United States.
  • Mach 25 allows you to search for scholarships based upon your age, nationality, interest and club memberships, as well as other characteristics.

International Student Loans: Funding your Education in USA!

Loan for international student in usa

Over 600,000 international students studied in colleges and universities all around the United State in the academic year of 2007/2008. As the number of international students interested in studying in the United State increases, and due to the recent rapid changes in the economy and currency exchange change rates more students are looking into alternative solutions to fund their education.

International students who are interested in a program of study in the United States, whether it is an ESL, English as a Second Language program, bachelor’s, master’s, or a doctorate program, MUST demonstrate that they have sufficient funds made available to them! Schools will ask you to provide affidavit of financial support forms, scholarship letters, and international student loan approval letter, education loan letters, supporting bank documents etc. before they can issue your immigration documents such as a form I-20 or form DS-2019.

U.S. embassy or consulate visa officer will need to see and believe that you and/or your financial sponsor in fact have the ample funds to cover your educational (tuition and fees), living (room and board) , and other miscellaneous expenses that are estimated by your school. For example, If you are admitted to four-years bachelor’s degree program in a U.S. public university you will be asked to show that you and/or your financial sponsor have finances to support your study and living costs as well as other possible miscellaneous expenses for at least one academic year (9 months, usually).

According to the Open Doors report (2008 release) published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, nearly 63 percent of international students enrolled in U.S. colleges or universities during the academic year of 2007-2008 have primarily funded their education through personal and family funds.

U.S. colleges or universities provided primary funding for nearly 26 percent of the international students during the same academic year. In other words: Scholarships, grants, tuition-waivers and other financial assistantship opportunities provided schools are available for those who qualify!

International Student Loans may be the only option for many students who wish to study in the United States. As the global economy weakening, it causes the international student loan approval rates to go down, while processing times, and interest rates go up! Experts recommend that you should only consider borrowing as little money as possible from international student loan lenders. Always remember to knock on the door! Check with your school to see if they have any scholarship or other type of financial aid/assistantship opportunities that you may be qualified for! Check with your family and friends to see if they can help pay for your education in USA. Make also sure to check with your local and/or governmental organizations to see if any financial support can be available to support your cost of study and living etc. Refer to the international student loans as the last option.

International Student Loans | When To Apply For An International Student Loan

Studying in the USA requires money, this is just same as studying in every other country. Most times students run out of fund and there become in real need of money to source their education. One should always be careful when checking out how much money you will require to study in the US. After you must have exhausted the money you realized from your school, family funds, etc, most international students run out of cash to fund their education, then international student loan steps in as a saviour to help you fill up your funding gap.

What You Should Know About International Student Loan

One thing that is popular with US students schooling in US is Federal student Loans, but it is not open to student from other countries studying in the USA. This is the reason for international students loans which is available to international students, and also specialized private education loans open to foreign students in the USA.

Furthermore, the international loan scheme for students have turned into a realistic way to finance your academic pursuit in the United States of America. They offer a high amount of loan that you can use to take care of your entire education there. This may be to the fact that the loans are flexible. You also get enough time to repay, and the interest attached is minimal, to enable you complete repayment after you must have graduated from school.

Related Information About The Loans | International student loan Requirements And Topics

About Loan Interest : Talking about interest, it is the amount of money added by the lender on the original amount of money borrowed so as to make profit from the individual who borrowed. In relation to the interest of the loan, it is calculated based on an index plus a margin that will add an additional percentage interest rate depending on your co-signer’s creditworthiness. The indexes used for estimation for the international student are: LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) and Prime Interest rate.

Meanwhile, it is the duty of the lender to clarify which index a particular plan uses. Also, judging from their creditworthiness an additional interest will be added to the index. From this now you can see the sum interest you owe. Once your application is certified, your specific margin will be made known to you, there and then you can choose to accept or reject.

About Co-Signers : In order for an international student to apply for international student loan, the person must have US co-signer. The need for a co-signer is prompted in a situation where the borrower fails to repay. This is one of the reasons why co-signers are required to be permanent US resident, proven credit worthiness, and have lived in the USA for the past two (2) years. Most times your co-signers are better when they are friends or relatives, because you may need them to help you in raising credit, due to the fact that most international student cannot receive credit on their own.

About Repayment : Every loan option has its own repayment process. That is to say that there is no specific repayment method as it differs from plan to plan. You will have to consider how much the monthly payments will be, when payments will begin, and how long you will be able to defer paying back the loan. The repayment period generally ranges from 10-25 years, but the larger the loan, the longer the repayment period.

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