Recently, 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.
Tax 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:
- Wages from a job in the United States (on-campus, off-campus, OPT job)
- A scholarship from an American organization
- 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.
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
As globalization continues, so does the opportunities for international and cultural exchange. In the past month of October, The Institute of International Education participated in a historical event which allowed representatives from 12 U.S. universities to travel to Cuba to learn more about its higher education system and to explore what opportunities may exist for future partnerships. The delegation, comprised of about 30 university representatives, was led by IIE´s President and CEO, Allan E. Goodman. Participating universities included Associated Colleges of the Midwest; Central Washington University; Indiana University; Lehman College, CUNY; Oberlin College; Rutgers University; SUNY New Paltz; University of Arizona; Montclair State University; University of Tampa; Virginia Commonwealth University; and West Texas A&M.
Although there have always been travel restrictions between the U.S. and Cuba, there have been opportunities for American students to participate in Cuban study abroad programs. According to the IIE´s Passport directory there are currently 25 Cuba programs available for students. IIE´s Open Doors Report demonstrated that during the 2014/2015 academic year about 1,845 students participated in for-credit study abroad programs in Cuba. Unfortunately, Cuban university students have not had the same opportunities. With political relations opening between the two countries, IIE now has a new initiative to foster partnerships between the U.S. higher education system and that of Cuba. This delegation´s trip is only one of many stepping stones that are being taken on behalf of IIE´s Cuba Higer Education Initiative .
The birth of this initiative comes after Secretary of State John Kerry attended the official reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana in August. During this visit Cuba´s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodrigues Parrilla addressed the mutual interest of both countries to open ¨new areas of dialogue¨ and Secretary Kerry stated that it was of great importance that as neighboring countries, the citizens of each have the opportunity to meet each other and learn more about each other
IIE´s Cuba Higher Education Initiative includes a six-month program with Cuba called the International Academic Partnership Program (IAPP). This program focuses on assisting participating universities in the development and planning process of creating relationship and partnerships with universities in Cuba. To facilitate the process the initiative has an advisory board comprised of members from all different backgrounds. This advisory board and its members are work with these universities throughout the six-months.
Be sure to stay tuned, because with the growth of initiatives, comes the creation of scholarship programs!
Already decided where you want to go? For ideas on how to pay for your study abroad program, check out our section on Funding Your Education Overseas!
InternationalStudent.com just announced the winner of their 10th annual Travel Video Contest! Amar Chaniago created the video “My Second Chance at Life,” which captivated audiences around the world, not to mention stole the hearts of the judges. His journey began where he overcame a car crash which left him hospitalized, and became the source of his reflection where he reevaluated his life and the things that were important to him. Amar will walk away with the $4,000 grand prize to help him study psychology in Australia. You can also follow his journey while he prepares to study in Australia by following his new Study Abroad Blog.
It was no easy decision in this year’s contest, where InternationalStudent.com received over 80 videos from students around the world. The second place winner, Michelle Leclerq, also wowed the judges with her video entitled, “Place Yourself Where You Want to Be.” Michelle is an aspiring musician with both vocal and musical talents, and she is looking to pursue her passion by attending a music school in California. Her video takes us with her into her past where she completed a Work and Travel program, that gave her enough money to travel around the US and explore her musical passion (and from her video, you’ll see her amazing talents!). Michelle will receive $500 to help her pursue her dream!
The third place recipient of $250 goes to Léa Kriger-Bécourt, for her video entitled “The Missing Piece.” Her video is both fun and innovative, as she puts the pieces of her life together before us, showing us her past and revealing her desire to go to Mexico to work on a community farm program called WWOOF.
Finally, our Viewer’s Choice Award went to Murtaza Ibrahimi for his video “The Flowers of Success”. Not only will he walk away with $1,000, but he has touched us all with his story about studying in the US to help build the future of Afghanistan.
If you are interested in watching the winner’s videos, along with the finalist, check out InternationalStudent.com’s Contest page for more.
On 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 »
We 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.
In addition to planning and creating a study abroad budget, there are a few ways that international students can cut down on their educational costs – pre-departure.
If you want to study in the US, any penny pinching done before going abroad is extremely helpful. However, having a college fund isn’t the only way to save money. What many international students are not aware of is that the process of applying to US universities costs money too. What am I talking about?
Most universities charge a fee to submit an application. It is also quite common for public universities to charge a slightly higher application fee for international applicants, whereas many private universities usually offer a standard fee for all incoming applications. In the table below you can see 6 examples of application costs and the difference in fees dependent on your residency status. Read the rest of this entry »
This 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 »
This week we´re spotlighting Kuwait and how its government scholarships are funding Kuwaiti students´ higher education abroad. According to the 2014 Open Doors Report, there were 7,288 students from Kuwait studying in the United States during the 2013/14 academic year. This number puts Kuwait in the 21st spot of the top 25 countries of origin sending international students to study in US universities. The Open Doors Report also shows that this number was about a 340 % increase from the 2006/7 academic year when the number of students arriving from Kuwait was at a low of a little more than 1,600 students. What allowed for such a drastic increase? Students can thank Kuwait’s Ministry of Higher Education. Read the rest of this entry »