Tuesday, September 22, 2015

4 Steps to Applying for Financial Aid in the U.S.

By Brittney Bodden
World Education Services

Congratulations! You’ve chosen to further your education in the U.S. 
Now you may be wondering: How will you fund your education? While international students aren’t eligible for federal student aid, all possibilities are not lost. There are plenty of alternatives to help you fund your education.

Here are general tips to guide you along the way: 

Start Early 
Many international students are seeking financial assistance for their education in the U.S., and competition is high. While there are plenty of resources that offer scholarships, funding is limited. So, it’s important to apply for scholarships as early as possible.

Check the website of the school you plan to attend about the different funding options available to international students. The admissions office or international student services office are good resources for researching online. Different schools have different procedures for the financial aid application process, so pay careful attention to details such as deadlines and the paperwork you need to complete.

Create a budget 
According to International Student, it’s required that international students show verification of funds to cover educational expenses. At this stage in the process, knowing how much is needed to attend college in the U.S. is fundamental. 

Here is a list of possible expenses:

  • Tuition 
  • Housing 
  • School books 
  • Meals 
  • Transportation 
  • Travel 
  • Personal items 
Every circumstance is different, but having a clear understanding of what’s required to fund your education helps you prepare. Between scholarships, loans, other sources of funding, and saving money, you can find ways to cover the majority of the expenses on your list.

Keep in mind that this is a long process and your budget may change depending on the institution of your choosing.

Reduce personal costs 

While budgeting, students may begin to ponder how they can afford to study in the U.S. with such high costs, but there are ways of reducing the cost immensely. U.S. News & World Report lists three major ways to reduce your budget cost, including living off campus, researching meal plan options, and asking about guaranteed employment. With the rising costs of tuition, it’s worth exploring these options to minimize your expenses. 

If you’re an international student interested in studying in the U.S. or if you’re already in the U.S., know that there are plenty of opportunities for financial aid. Although it’s not easy, don’t be discouraged. With hard work and preparation, you can fulfill your dream.

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