How to Figure Out the Financial Aid Process at U.S. Schools
December 22nd, 2015 by Anum Yoon

navigatingIt’s no secret U.S. colleges and universities are expensive. Whether you’re from inside or outside the country, the cost of higher education here can break any student’s bank. That’s why you need scholarships and the like, especially if you’re an international student. Read on to learn how to navigate the financial aid process at US schools.

The good news is you have plenty of options. They’re so plentiful, in fact, your head will spin by just going through them. Every school has its own criteria for awarding financial aid, so it makes shopping for scholarships confusing.

Still, you can make your search a little bit easier. For example, you can read the guide below, follow the tips mentioned and cut down on time spent worrying about finances. If you’re ready to hear — or rather, read — more, here we go.

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Are you eyeing a particular school? If yes, check their official website. Look for their “Scholarship/Financial Assistance” section, and see whether they have anything for students from outside the U.S.

For example, Harvard University has several scholarships for international students. Some of them are awarded based on what country the students are from. Others are based on the program they’re enrolled in. A few depend on both.

But even if your school doesn’t offer these types of financial aid, don’t worry. You can still choose between merit-based scholarships, athletic scholarships and scholarships for those who show promise in dance, music, etc. Don’t be afraid to consider these and see whether they’re a fit for you. Read the rest of this entry »


Top 5 Ways International Students Fund Their US Education
December 3rd, 2015 by Lette Berhe

On November 16th, the Institute of International Education published its 2015 Open Doors Report. The Open Doors Report is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and provides an in-depth look into the changing trends of international students who study in the U.S. and of American students who study abroad. This year’s report showed that in the 2014/2015 academic year, the number of international students attending U.S. universities reached a record high of 974,926- nearly 1 million students. This is a 10% increase, which is the highest growth rate in 35 years. The top 3 countries of origin, in order, were China, India, and South Korea. Students from these three countries made up more than 50% of all international students in the U.S. In addition to the above mentioned, there was significant growth in the number of international students coming from Brazil, Kuwait, and Nigeria. With all these growing numbers the real question is, how exactly do they fund their U.S. programs? Below are the top 5 ways internationals students funded their international education in the U.S.

  1. Personal and Family
    The Open Doors Report shows that in the 2014/2015 academic year personal and family finances were the primary source of funding for about 65% of international students. What does this mean exactly? This includes any personal savings you or your parents may have that are then used towards your higher education. Personal loans could also fall under this category, being that once you have received the loan it is part of your personal finances. It is always best to plan ahead and save as much money as you can, so that if you need to take out a loan it is the lowest amount possible. For more information on how to go about budgeting and saving click here!
  2. U.S. College and University
    The second most utilized source of funding came from U.S. colleges and universities. This year’s report shows that the following eight institutions were hosts to more than 10,000 international students: New York University, University of Southern California, Columbia University, Arizona State University, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, Northeastern University, Purdue University – West Lafayette, and University of California – Los Angeles. With such high numbers of incoming students, it is not a coincidence. There are many universities that promote the influx of international students and offer financial aid through scholarships or grants. Once you decide to study abroad it is important to do your research about what the different universities can offer you.
  3. Foreign Government and University
    It is no coincidence that countries such as Kuwait and Brazil have had an incredible increase in the number of students in the U.S. The government of these two countries have been working hard to provide opportunities for their citizens to have access to an international education. In Kuwait the Ministry of Higher Education sponsors undergraduate and graduate students who wish to pursue programs abroad and in Brazil the government offers the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program for students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. With each new year more and more government programs are being created to promote international education.
  4. Current Employment
    Although it is possible to find and receive financial aid, sometimes it is not enough and a part-time job can help with any unexpected costs that may arise during your time abroad. Many international students are under the impression that they will not be able to work during their time in the U.S., but this is false. It is true, that your employment options may be limited, but it is possible. Take a look at our section on working in the U.S. for more information.
  5. Foreign Private Sponsor
    Before more and more government agencies were placing international education at the forefront, there were private businesses or organizations offering a bit of help to those interested in going abroad. Although a smaller percentage of students, one percent, made use of such sponsorships it is always good to be aware of your options to not miss out on any good opportunities.

Think you might need an international student loan? Check out our loan information page to see what we can offer you!