2016 InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest Winners Announced
November 21st, 2016 by Jennifer Frankel

mariana-osorioWe are proud to announce this year’s InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest Winners for 2016. With 159 entries, it was a difficult decision for the judges. The caliber of the videos this year were exceptional, and reflected the talent and creativity from students around the world. After much deliberation, we are excited to announce:

$4,000 Grand Prize Winner: Mariana Osorio with “This Magic World”

Second Place Winner: Siti Fatimah with “Dream, Believe, and Make it Happen”

Third Place Winner: Michael de Beer with “The Urban Archi”

Congratulate our new winners as they take home their prizes and be sure to also check out the Viewer’s Choice Award winner, Marifer & Carlos, on their video, “A Couple of MBA’s.”

Follow this year’s winner, Mariana, as she writes about her experience as an international student in New York. She will be blogging this year on her very own Study in the USA blog, so be sure to take a look and connect with her.

 


2016 Travel Video Contest: Finalist and Viewers’ Choice Winner Announced
November 15th, 2016 by Jennifer Frankel

tvcInternationalStudent.com just announced both the finalist and Viewers’ Choice Award winner for the 2016 Travel Video Contest. With 159 entries from students all around the world, it was no easy decision to narrow it down to just 14 finalists.

The Viewer’s Choice Award winner is Carlos Roberto Gonzalez Meyer’s A Couple of MBA’s who tells the story about him and his girlfriend’s dream to study in Canada. Cute, funny, and inspiring, you won’t want to miss this couple’s upcoming adventure. Watch their video if you haven’t already, and congratulate them on winning $1,000 to help make their dreams come true!

Not only will they get passed to the finalist round, but they’ll join 13 other finalist for their chance to win the grand prize of $4,000. Stay tuned for International Education Week where on November 18th, InternationalStudent.com will announce the judges’ winner – and if you haven’t already, watch the finalist videos and let us know which one you like best.


The ABC’s of Applying for a Student Loan
September 5th, 2016 by Lette Berhe

Wooden alphabet blocks isolated on white background

Now that you have chosen what university will be your home for the next 4 years, you can start the student loan application process. It may seem intimidating, but here’s a guide to help you get an idea of what you have to do and how to do it.

  1. Financial Aid & Cost of Attendance
    This is the first step once you have decided what university you will be attending. If you have received any scholarships or financial aid, make sure to get in contact with the financial aid office to get an updated version of your personal cost of attendance. When applying for a student loan, the maximum amount you are eligible for is equal to your cost of attendance. This will help you calculate the amount you are going to be asking for in loans. In addition, make sure that if you are going to need a co-signer you have that person informed about when you will be submitting the application, being that they will be filling out the application form as well.
  2. Choosing a Loan
    Finding a loan can seem like the hardest part, but that’s where we come in. With our International Student Loan Comparison Tool, you can save time trying to find the right loan. There are some important factors to consider when choosing a loan such as the repayment period or interest rate. It may sound complicated, but we have some tips to help you navigate this process.
  3. Filling out the Application
    Nowadays, loan applications can be submitted via the internet making the process a lot easier. You will need to complete the online application with your co-signer or they may be required to submit a separate online application. If this is the case, be sure to provide them with a correct reference number or application number to avoid any mistakes with the paperwork. In order to make the application process as easy as possible, collect all the following documents and information beforehand:

    • School information, including school name, major, grade, and school term for which you need the loan
    • Social Security number (as an international student, this may not be applicable)
    • Telephone numbers
    • Current addresses (home and school)
    • Personal reference information and phone number
    • Gross income information
    • Residence information, including whether you own or rent, and the monthly housing payment
    • Requested loan amount
  4. Contact from Lender
    During the application process, you will receive paperwork that may be completely foreign to you. The most important piece of paper is the Promissory Note, which is just a special name for the contract. The Promissory Note is the contract you sign stating to the lender that you will pay back the loan in full and under what specific conditions, in other words the fine print. Want to be up to speed on loan jargon? Check out this great video explaining the loan terms you’ll be coming across!
  5. Disbursement
    After all the research, paperwork, and possible headaches this is the moment you have been waiting for. Disbursement is what lenders call the process of giving you the loan money. Student loans are typically sent directly to your school which then uses the money to pay for what is charged to your student account for that semester. Although the process should be automatic, you should keep on top of the dates because your school will have a final payment date and if your loan is not received by that date, it could cause you problems.

Just like with the college application process, dates are important! Check out our financial aid timeline for some helpful tips.


Low Oil Prices Reach Saudi Students
May 5th, 2016 by Lette Berhe

saudi arabia flagA few months ago, we published a blog discussing how Nigerian international students were being affected by low oil prices. The drop in world prices has caused the Nigerian government to cut back on international education sponsorships. Unfortunately, it seems that the Saudi Arabian government is going down the same path and being forced to cut spending for international education. Read the rest of this entry »


The Price of Oil on Nigerian Students
March 23rd, 2016 by Lette Berhe

nigeriaRecently, many people around the world have been celebrating and appreciating the drop in oil prices. For many, their day-to-day consists of filling a car full of gasoline, which until recently was proving to be quite expensive. Although lower gas prices benefit the general public, it is having some very negative consequences on the Nigerian state and its international students around the world.

Like many countries, Nigeria’s government and private industry have made it one of their priorities to foster their citizens’ access to international education. About 40% of Nigerian students who are abroad receive some type of funding from a public or private entity in their home country. How is this related to Nigeria, you ask?

Nigeria is one of the world’s oil-rich countries, with about 70 to 80% of its wealth coming from the oil and gas industry. So falling prices is taking a big hit on the economic stability of the country. Nigerian students who are abroad are also feeling the repercussions. Most students who receive either public or private funding are promised a living stipend which can include money to cover the cost of housing, food, transportation, etc. However, since the latter part of 2015 there have been accounts of Nigerian students currently studying abroad who have not received any of the promised aid for tuition and living expenses. In Canada, a report came out stating that about 240 Nigerian students in 14 different universities had been left without aid from the RSSDA Scholarship Program for more than 11 months and were accumulating debt. The RSSDA is a an organization run and owned by the Rivers State in Nigeria, who later admitted to owing Canadian universities a total of about $2.5 million.

With this debt growing by the minute, Nigerian students who have found themselves in a very difficult situation. Many of them were promised aid and their families can not support the cost of their education abroad. Due to this, many students are being asked by the Nigerian industries to return to complete their education in Nigerian universities.


International Students Must File Taxes – Due April 18th!
March 11th, 2016 by Lette Berhe

taxTax season has already begun and many international students are not aware that they must file a US tax return as well – even if they’ve never earned any money in the US.  All students must file their US taxes on or before April 18, 2016. For most international students, this process will be easy and straightforward. Read on to see what you need to submit, as well as helpful resources in case you need assistance

Does Everyone Need to File?
As part of your visa requirements all international students are required to file taxes. The forms you will need to submit are dependent on whether you have made any income or not.

Regardless of whether you’ve earned income or not, all international students and their dependents must file Form 8843. If you are in the US with dependents, this form must be filed by your dependents independently (which includes a separate envelope!).

What is Eligible for Taxation?
If, as an international student, you have been receiving an income in the US, then you will need to pay taxes on it. Below are 3 common sources of income for international students:

  1. Wages from a job in the United States (on-campus, off-campus, OPT job)
  2. A scholarship from an American organization
  3. Interest made from an American bank account

For a complete list of what could be considered a potential income source be sure to check the IRS website. If you have received income in the last calendar year, you will also need to file Form 1040NR-EZ.

For more in-depth information regarding how to file your taxes and what forms you’ll need to submit, be sure to read the Student Tax Return page from InternationalStudent.com.


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!


Generation Study Abroad: What it Means for You
October 15th, 2015 by Lette Berhe

travelingOn October 1st, the Institute of International Education (IIE) announced that more than 600 partners have committed to the Generation Study Abroad Initiative and have pledged a total of $185 million.

Established by the Institute of International Education in 2014, Generation Study Abroad is a five-year initiative whose goal is to double the number of U.S. students who study abroad by the end of the decade. This initiative has brought together partners from K-12 organizations, U.S. universities and colleges, social networks, and international universities and organizations to address the biggest obstacles students face when deciding to study abroad: cost, curriculum, and culture.

In just one year, these partners have begun to make practical changes to address these issues by focusing on: Read the rest of this entry »


InternationalStudent.com’s 10th Annual Travel Video Contest – Your Chance to Win $4,000
September 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Frankel

posterWe are excited to announce this year’s 10th Annual Travel Video Contest hosted by InternationalStudent.com. This is your chance to win $4,000 to help you study abroad!

To win, create a video that moves your peers, woos the judges, and tells your story about why you want to study abroad. You won’t want to miss the 10th anniversary, which is expected to be even bigger than ever.

With a large and diverse group of international educators and travelers as the 2015 judge panel, they will be on the lookout for a video that will blow the crowd out of the water. Funny, clever, creative, innovative, sad, heartwarming, or – could your video be something else that makes it stand out among the rest?

Want to win $4,000? Here’s how to enter:

  • Who: Eligibility is open to anyone who creates a video about a proposed study abroad. If you are currently studying abroad, then talk about a trip you want to take and why.
  • What: To enter, create a video no longer than 5 minutes in length and make sure to send it to InternationalStudent.com by October 22nd. Check out the previous winners to see what it takes.
  • Where: InternationalStudent.com – learn more about the contest details on their website.
  • When: Contest officially starts today, and entries will be accepted until October 22nd, so get recording today!
  • Why: Because who wouldn’t want $4,000 to study abroad?

Best of luck to everyone, and for tips and tricks on what it takes to win, be sure to review InternationalStudent.com’s Travel Video Contest for a complete list of rules, regulations, tips and the submission form.


Why Study Abroad Can Now Be On Your Bucket List
May 1st, 2015 by Lette Berhe

world travel bookThis past February, Education in Ireland joined IIE´s Generation Study Abroad Initiative and committed to providing $100,000 for the project. Ireland’s Minister of Education and Skills, Jan O´Sullivan, T.D, stated that over the past ten years Ireland has been able to welcome over 60, 000 US students; as a result, according to IIE´s Open Doors Report on International and Educational Education, it has become the 9th most popular study abroad destination for American students. Now, as a lead signature partner of Generation Study Abroad, Ireland´s higher education system has found itself in a unique position that will allow it to showcase its universities and programs to a broader range of students.

Now you may be thinking, what if I don´t want to study in Ireland? Well not to worry! Education in Ireland is only 1 of the 67 international organizations who are currently committed partners of the Generation Study Abroad Initiative, in addition to 298 US universities. Read the rest of this entry »