Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finding Funding for Your International Education

By Sangeetha Shanmugham
World Education Services

A quality education comes at a price. Though the majority of international students pay tuition with their own money, some students find that they still need help covering the total cost of attendance and personal expenses. In those cases, students look to other sources of funding such as grants, financial aid, and scholarships to help pay for their education. Although federal funding from the U.S. government is limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, international students may find that they can procure funding from other sources if they do their homework well in advance. Here are a few alternate funding sources to consider.

 Institutional Aid: Some public and private universities in the U.S. offer financial incentives for students to attend their institution. Most of the institutional aid available to international students is reserved for graduate study in the form of assistantships and fellowships. Since it isn’t common for U.S. institutions to offer financial aid to undergraduate international students, such scholarships are often quite competitive. Remember that both private and public institutions may waive application fees in some situations; be sure to consult with your university in advance to take advantage of any waivers they may offer.
Merit-based scholarships are granted on the basis of special skills, talents, or abilities. Your university may have scholarships based on TOEFL/GRE/GMAT scores, academic records, artistic ability, musical ability, or athletic ability. Merit-based scholarships are typically very competitive. To be considered, you will need to demonstrate exceptional skills in a given area.

Need-based scholarships are awarded based on financial need. Those students who can establish need at a certain level are eligible for this type of aid.

Certain academic departments within the university may allocate funds to assist international students with exceptional need and/or talent. Check with your university and/or your department to take advantage of any special funding opportunities they may offer.

Scholarships and Grants: Many scholarships for graduate and undergraduate study are available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However, there are free scholarship databases as well as private, corporate, nonprofit, and government scholarship funds that cater to international students.

There are certain websites that are dedicated to helping international students secure funding for their studies in America. We listed a few to get you started:

Foundation Grants to Individuals Online


NAFSA – Financial Aid Info

International Scholarships

While getting funding and scholarships as an international student can be difficult, it is not impossible. There are plenty of resources available if you look long and hard. You can also check with an academic department to search for on-campus jobs that can act as additional sources of funding. Just do your research beforehand. And good luck.

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