How US Citizens Can Pay For A Degree Abroad
December 16th, 2014 by Lette Berhe
Are you interested in becoming a foreign enrolled student? Perhaps you’ve never heard the term; but, if you have dabbled with the idea of completing a full degree program outside the United States, then we’re talking to you. Those of you who have thought about applying to a foreign university, for a bachelor’s or master’s degree, may have been put off by the thought of how much it´s going to cost. What you may not be aware of, however, is that there are funding sources available to you. Here are some key resources to keep in mind when making plans to pay for a degree abroad.
You can get US funding
Many people think that if you choose to complete a degree program outside the US there are no resources available — this is not true. It may be true that the financial aid available is limited, but you could still be eligible to receive federal student loans to fund your international education. The fact is that many foreign universities have an established relationship with the US Department of Education and its Direct Loan Programs, making them certified to accept federally disbursed loans. In other words, you are able to apply using the FAFSA to see if you are eligible to receive federal funding.
The loans available for foreign enrolled students are the following:
- Stafford Loan – Subsidized
- Stafford Loan – Unsubsidized
- Parent PLUS Loan
- Graduate PLUS Loan
Being eligible to receive federal student loans allows for a huge burden to be lifted because federal loans tend to have lower or fixed interest rates, deferment periods, and for those with more financial need, the opportunity to receive a subsidized loan.
So basically, the process to receive financial assistance, through federal loans, will be the same whether you decide to attend a US university or one abroad. Take advantage and submit your FAFSA! Submitting your FAFSA application in a timely fashion assists in helping you organize how you will be paying for your international degree program early on. If you need some extra help regarding the FAFSA process you can read more here.
*It is important to mention that not all foreign universities work with the US´s Direct Loan Program; check our list of eligible schools.
Disbursement of Federal Loans
If you receive a federal student loan, the amount will be disbursed directly to your chosen university. What does this mean exactly? It means that the disbursement date is the day that the university will receive the loan funds, not you. The loan check will get sent directly to the university, so your school will receive the money first; the university will then subtract whatever amount you owe from the total. If there is money left over, you will be able to receive a check to your name for the amount remaining. Loans tend to be disbursed 7-10 days before the start of the semester; however, each university deals with loan disbursement a little differently, so be sure to do your research.
Due to the fact that you will most likely not receive the money before the start of the semester, it is best to make financial arrangements for other costs, such as airfare and pocket money, that do not depend on the loan amount.
International Student Loans
Although federal student loans are the best way to go, often times they may not provide enough for all your educational expenses. If this is the case, international student loans are available and are a great way to cover these other costs. Similar to the Direct Loan Program, the loans available through International Student Loan are only available to students attending eligible schools, but we work with a multitude of foreign universities around the world. Here you can take a look at a list of the eligible schools that we work with and also use the Student Loan Comparison Tool to see what lenders work with your university.
Want more information on the loan process? Check out our International Student Loan Advice for lots of helpful tips.