For a majority of individuals, American citizens or not, college is an expensive venture to finance. As an international student, you will be required to prove in advance that you are able to afford the cost of education in the United States. This must be proved in order to receive your visa to study in the United States. Most international students will be on the hunt for some forms of financial aid.

The cost of college can reach up to $40,000+ a year. Often times little financial aid is available for foreign students, perhaps with the exception of Canadian and Mexican students.  A majority of aid is awarded as grants, scholarships, and loans that come through public and private sources which restrict their awards to United States citizens. You may also notice that a majority of colleges and universities offer tuition at a less expensive rate for residents of that particular state.  However, this does not mean your goals of pursuing a United States education are over.

Here are a few tips help make the possibility of studying in the United States much more likely:

  1. Colleges and Universities offering International Student Aid. Inquire to the financial aid office of the schools you will be applying for. Most U.S. schools offer little aid to foreign students, but some do offer scholarships and other programs to help defray the costs of college for foreign students. Some schools offer grants, loans and jobs, and give anywhere from 15 to 150 awards to foreign students. For example, schools such as Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, University of Miami,  Ithaca College, Cornell University, John Hopkins, University of Chicago and University of Oregon all offer aid packages to foreign students. These schools are often seeking a population which is culturally, economically, socially and geographically diverse. Graduate students may have more luck with financial aid. This is because graduate and teaching assistantships are offered on the basis of academic achievement, regardless of citizenship.
  2. Scholarships. While a majority of scholarships offered in the United States require U.S. citizenship, not all do. If you find a scholarship that interests you, check out the eligibility requirements. Use the internet; there are websites available to help you find international scholarships (Be careful. Remember the general rule of thumb is if you have even the slightest reservation about a scholarship, walk away from it).

    International Education Financial Aid - This site allows students to search for international scholarships and grants. Not only is it designed to serve foreign students, but U.S. students who wish to study abroad may also benefit from this site. Opportunities are searched based on majors and fields of study.
  3. Assistance from your Country. You may be able to find assistance to help you study in the United States close to home. There are U.S. Educational Advising Centers across the globe that aid prospective students with the questions they have about studying in the United States. These centers promote U.S. higher education by offering students around the world unbiased and accurate information about U.S. educational institutions. They also offer guidance to qualified individuals on how to best utilize these opportunities. Additionally, you may consider contacting a Fulbright Commission or Foundation in your country. This organization offers an exchange program for graduate study, teaching and advanced research. They may also have additional resources to point you in the direction of more resources available in your country.
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