Although financial aid has become a way of life for college students the world over, the fact that many of of the most famous sources of funding in the US are off-limits to international students may come as an unwelcome surprise to many would-be international students and scholars. All is not lost, however!

While few international students are able to take advantage of loans provided by the US Federal Government, international students are eligible for private (third-party) student loans as well as a variety of school-sponsored scholarships and aid programs. Indeed, as a recent report from U.S. News & World Report indicates, some colleges and universities have gone above and beyond in providing financial aid for international students.

In fact, according to their research, such funding is becoming increasingly common at campuses large and small across the country. Of the more than 1,600 colleges and universities surveyed, for example, nearly a quarter (350) offered financial aid packages to 50 or more international students. Not that this trend’s breadth should undermine its impact: contributions from these 350 schools were considerable and in some cases exceptional. On average, these schools provided $17,289 in financial aid for international students per student in the 2011-2012 academic year and, doubtless reduced the otherwise steep price of a college education for many international students.

As generous as that average is, though, some schools – with some surprisingly strong pedigrees – provided significantly more financial aid for international students. Consider, by way of example, Yale University, which topped the list. Not only did the New Haven, Connecticut-based school offer an average $53,255 to its international students in the 2011-2012 school year but it also bested Harvard, its Ivy League rival, by more than a thousand dollars (3rd, $51,865) . Though the remainder of the schools in the top five (Skidmore College [2nd; $52,976], Amherst College [4th; $50,990], and Trinity College [5th, $50,854]) may lack the name recognition of these two heavyweights, they, too, have demonstrated their commitment to international students – and such a commitment may well be what makes them so exceptional after all.

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