As an international student planning to study in the USA, there’s no doubt that you’ve already started to contemplate the financial implications of this decision, and you are probably wondering what your options are for financing the cost of studying outside your home country; and you’re quite right to do so – as you may already have realised, there is little information about sources of financial aid for international students who want to study in the US, and often the information that you can find is unclear or even misleading – especially when it comes to unscrupulous lenders (or even loan scams).
But don’t let this put you off your search. We have created this extremely useful post to give you as much information as we can to help you fulfill your dream of studying in the USA and finding the funding to enable you to do that.
Here at International Student Loan we recommend that you first talk to your college or university before pursuing any other alternative funding sources. They may be able to guide you to their own funding opportunities or specific contacts that they have established themselves that are able to assist non-US residents studying in the US.
There are 3 main offices you should contact at your university:
- The Financial Aid office
- The department or faculty office of your chosen program of study
- The Office for International Students (often called the Office of International Student Services)
Much support for international students in graduate programs in the US is provided by the universities and colleges themselves in the form of teaching assistantships and research assistantships. These are often based on academic merit and not on financial need. In most cases you would be required to pass the Test of Spoken English (TSE) in order to qualify for a teaching assistantship, but check with the school you’re interested in.
Some foreign schools have exchange programs with schools in the US. These exchange programs often include financial aid for the students. If you are already studying at a university in your home country and would like to find out about this type of exchange program the office for international student services at your home university would be the best place to contact.
Once you have established the financial aid that you can access through your chosen university or college, it is time to start looking further afield for other, alternative sources, too.
Such resources might include:
Yourself and Your Family
According to the Association of International Educators, more than two-thirds of international students in the US receive help from their families, in addition to their own resources, to fund their study in the US. Whatever outside help and financial aid you receive, you will also need to use your own funds and probably rely on support from family and friends to pursue your dream of an education in the USA.
Organizations in your home country
One of the best sources of financial aid for international students comes from organizations in their home country that want to invest in and develop the education of talented students, recognizing the benefits that an international education can provide.
Your own government may provide financial aid (often on the condition that the recipient of the aid returns to their home country on completion of their studies). We suggest you make contact with your country’s ministry of education and or ministry of culture.
Private organizations such as businesses, religious groups, and charitable foundations may also offer support in the form of financial aid for international students – often this is linked to the background of the student or the chosen field of study. We advise you to search online for these opportunities, and speak to local educational institutions who may be able to refer you to these programs.
You can use scholarship databases such as International Education Financial Aid and International Scholarships. These databases are free to use and contain information on the scholarships, grants, and awards that are available for international students.
Some of the organizations that offer funding for international students studying in the United States are:
- The United Nations
- the Organization of American States (OAS)
- The International Maritime Organization
- The International Telecommunications Union
- The League of Red Cross Societies
- The Soros Foundation
- The World Health Organization
- The World Council of Churches.
These awards are extremely competitive and are mostly for graduate students rather than undergraduates.
You usually have to apply for this type of funding from your home country, so if you have already embarked on your educational journey in the US you may not be eligible. It is therefore important for you to research these opportunities well before you travel.
The Fulbright Program works two ways: U.S. citizens may receive funding to go to a foreign country and non-U.S. citizens may come to the U.S. (Foreign Student Program, Visiting Scholar Program, Teacher Exchange Program, etc.).
In order to be considered for Fulbright programs, foreign candidates must demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, leadership potential, flexibility and the ability to interact successfully in the USA.
The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals, and artists from abroad to conduct research and study in the United States.
Fulbright grants are offered in many academic disciplines, but not in clinical medical research (research involving patient contact). Fields of study cover mathematics and sciences, the fine arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Applicants are required to take the TOEFL and GRE or GMAT exams. Professional education, such as medical schools, is not eligible. Fulbright students are required to be on J-1 visas for the entire duration of their sponsorship.
You should contact your nearest US embassy or consulate, the Fulbright Commission office, or educational advising center for information about applying to the Fulbright Program in your country.
Of course, we couldn’t write a post on our own site about international financial aid and not mention international student loans. International student loans are available to help students cover the cost of their education so they can attend the US college or university of their choice.
With international student loans, students can borrow up to the total cost of their education minus any financial aid received. Our loans work for all nationalities, and students can apply from anywhere in the world including from their host country.
You can check what is available to you by using our international student loan comparison tool.
Interested in finding out about some common myths regarding international student loans?
US institutions are attracting students from around the globe and applications from Europe are on the rise. The number of UK students looking to study a graduate program in the US continues to increase, and undergraduate programs are only just behind. This article will tell you all the basics about international student loans for students from the UK who hope to study in the US.
A Whole New World
While the UK has several world-renowned institutions, the scope of courses available to study in the US in unequaled. As such, the number of British students studying a program in the US has risen by around a third since 2010 and continues to rise (according to studies by the Institute of International Education). Read another post about International Education facts and Figures.
There are over 4000 US institutions, many of which offer programs in specialisms many of us have never heard of. This allows students to find the degree that’s right for them, adding something unique to their CV.
One of the main deterrents for studying in the US continues to be funding. While university fees are subsidized in the UK, tuition fees and living costs in the US are on the rise. Many students now seek a student loan to support their education expenses.
FindingInternational Student Loans for Students from the UK
The easiest way to be considered eligible for a US student loan is to find a co-signer who is also an American citizen. A citizen with a good credit rating is the perfect candidate to cosign your loan, making the application process much easier. Many lenders offer loans to students with co-signers who have proof of income, as they can act as a guarantor for the funds.
A cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident who has lived in the US for the past two years and has good credit.
Your cosigner should have a stable job with a steady income and an established credit history. Lenders may look at how long your cosigner has lived at their current address and how long they’ve been employed at their current job.
Your cosigner is taking on the obligation to pay back your loans in the event that you cannot, so it’s important that the cosigner can afford to cover these expenses. International student loans and study abroad loans lenders will take into account the total income of your cosigner and their total debts (mortgage, car payments, credit card debt, and any student loans they may have on their own) when reviewing a loan application.
In the United States, the cosigner’s credit history is evaluated by a credit score that is based on outstanding debts and their payment history. Lenders will evaluate your cosigner’s existing and past loans and whether they were paid on time.
Cosigner Not Required?
However, this is not an option for everyone. If you do not have a cosigner and you’re looking for international student loans for students from the UK there are specialist lenders who offer this service. Lenders such as MPower Financing understand how difficult it can be to secure funding. They support students in the visa and college application process as well as providing funding, to reduce the stress over expenses. There’s information about finding a loan without a cosigner here.
To compare the best student loans for British students looking to study in the US, then look no further than our comparison tool.
As greater numbers of students from around the world are traveling to study a degree in the US, and tuition fees are rising, international student loans are growing increasingly necessary. Indian students, alone, accounted for 17.9% of the total foreign students in the US in 2017-18, second only to Chinese students at 33%. This article discusses the best international student loans for Indian students who want to study at a US institution.
The Indian Loophole
To be considered eligible for an F-1 visa and to be accepted to a US academic institution all international students must show proof of funding. This basically means that you, as a student applicant, must show you can afford to attend the college or university of your choice. You may pay for your education through personal funds, an academic scholarship from the institution, or through a student loan.
The most difficult part of applying for a student loan as an Indian student is finding the necessary evidence to be considered eligible. Indian banks often require supporting documentation showing the student’s acceptance to a US institution before considering a loan. However, most US institutions require proof of funding before offering a formal acceptance.
The simplest option is to seek a loan through a US bank specializing in student loans or a specialist lender. US lenders understand the difficulty with needing to provide supporting documentation for the university application and offer advice and help during this process.
Loan Options for Indian Students
There are a number of lenders that specialize in study loans for Indian students studying in the US. You can compare your options using our loan comparison tool for Indian students.
MPower Financing is a dedicated lender of international student loans and one of the options available to Indian students. The company understands the difficulties many international students have with finding funding and a co-signer. MPower takes the hassle out of the process by keeping everything clear and supporting both the visa and university application process. MPower also can provide loans without a cosigner at select universities in the USA and Canada.
To find out more about applying for a student loan as an Indian student check out our India International Student Loans section.
It’s always interesting to look back at the previous year to get a feel for what’s going on in international education. Of course, we’re particularly interested in finding the perfect student loan for international students. So here are some key facts about international students in the US and US study abroad students.
Whether you’re a foreign student studying in the US, or a US citizen dreaming of studying abroad, we hope you enjoy learning a little more about the state of international education right now.
And when you’re ready you can learn about applying for your international student loan.
International students in the US
According to research carried out by The Institute of International Education (IIE), 271,738 international students enrolled at a US institution at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year. This is down almost 7% compared to the 2016-2017 figures (290,836 international students) and a further decline from the peak of 300,743 international students recorded in 2015-2016.
The total number of international students in the US was 1,094,792. This is up 1.5% on the previous year, but the rate of growth is at its lowest for over 10 years and a significant change from the 10% growth in total international student numbers in the US in the 2014-2015 academic year.
One encouraging trend is that international students represent a growing percentage of total student numbers. International students now represent more than 1 in every 20 students in the US (5.5% of all students). This has grown year on year.
In terms of the distribution of international students in the USA, we looked at the 10 most popular states.
The highest concentration of international students is in California. In 2016-2017 there were 156,879 international students in California. This rose 3.2% to 161,942 in 2017-2018.
The state with the biggest increase in international student numbers was Massachusetts. Massachusetts saw a staggering 8.4% increase in international student numbers to 68,192 compared to 62,926 in the previous academic year.
The following were notable in their decreases but remain amongst the top 10 most popular states for international students:
Ohio (down 2.8% to 37,583)
Indiana (down 2.0% to 29,994)
Texas (down 0.9% to 84,348)
Popular US schools for international students
The most popular schools, colleges, and universities for international students in the US may or may not surprise you. Amongst the top 5, we are proud to say that no-cosigner loans are available at all of them.
Coming out on top with a total of 17,552 international students was New York University, New York, NY. No-cosigner loans are available at New York University.
The rest of the top 5 are as follows:
#2 – University of Southern California – Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) – 16,075 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at University of Southern California – Los Angeles.
#3 – Northeastern University – Boston (Boston, MA) – 14,905 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Northeastern University – Boston.
#4 – Columbia University (New York, NY) – 14,615 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Columbia University.
#5 – Arizona State University – Tempe (Tempe, AZ) – 13,459 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Arizona State University – Tempe.
Courses for international students in the US
The largest number of international students in the US are on Undergraduate programs (442,748), with 308,953 Graduate students enrolled. There were 203,462 international students in the US on Optional Practical Training courses. There were also 65,631 international students on other, non-degree courses.
The three most popular fields of study for international students studying in the USA were Engineering (with 21.3% of all international students), Business and Management (17.9%) and Math and Computer Science (17.0%).
For more information about the options available to international students attending US schools visit our International Student pages.
US Study Abroad Students
If we turn our attention now to US students studying abroad, the latest statistics available are for the 2016-2017 academic year. This year saw the number of US students studying abroad rise a modest 2.3% over the previous year to a total of 332,727 students.
More than 25% of these students (85,786) enrolled in STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Business was the next most popular field of study, with Social Sciences coming in third.
The 292,467 US undergraduate students studying abroad in 2016-2017 represented 1.8% of the 16,298,944 total US undergraduate enrolment.
64.6% of US students studying abroad in 2016-2017 did so for a short period (e.g. a summer or a study period of 8 weeks or less). 33.1% spent a semester (or one or two quarters depending on the institution) abroad. Only 2.4% studied abroad for the long-term – an academic or calendar year (or more).
Where do US students abroad study?
Europe hosted the vast majority of US students studying abroad. Latin America & the Caribbean came in second and Asia took third place.
#1 – Europe, 181,145 total US students (54%)
#2 – Latin America & Caribbean, 51,513 US students (15.5%)
#3 – Asia, 38,621 US students (11.6%)
24,790 US students (7.5%) studied in more than one region in the 2016-2017 academic year.
On a country level, 39,851 US students were studying in the United Kingdom in 2016-2017. This represents 12% of the total number of US students studying abroad. The UK is the largest single concentration of US study abroad students.
Italy, Spain, France, and Germany represent the second to fifth places respectively.
China appears at sixth in the list, with 11,910 US students studying there (3.6% of the total).
There are some other surprise appearances in the list of the top 25 most popular destinations for US students studying abroad:
#9 – Costa Rica hosted over 8,000 US students
#11 – over 6,000 US students made South Africa their home for part of their studies
#13 – almost 5,000 students experienced student life in the Czech Republic
Besides the 332,727 students who enrolled in courses leading to academic credit, 36,975 US students attended over 400 other institutions and took part in non-credit work, research, volunteering, and internships abroad.
If you’re interested in finding out more about your options as a US student studying abroad please visit our Study Abroad pages.
Are you planning to study abroad? There are International Student Loans available for students in your position who need funding. This might be for a semester or a full degree program.
Here at International Student Loan, we’re here to help. Find the information you’ll need to make an informed choice and apply for funding.
What a student loan can cover:
Tuition fees, books, accommodation, transportation, health insurance, and anything else an international student might need.
We’ve prepared this post as a one-stop overview of the information you’ll need whether you’re a student, parent, student- or financial-aid-advisor!
We hope you’ll find the student loan that works for you!
Financial Aid for Non-US citizens studying in the US:
International Student Loan
There are International Student Loans available for non-US citizens studying at a college or university in the United States. It’s very common for foreign students to apply for loans to help pay for college.
Studying abroad can be very expensive once all the costs have been added up.
We have a student loan comparison tool will match you with eligible loan options which you can review and choose the loan that works best for your circumstances.
Most international students inside the US will need a cosigner when applying for a loan. They must be a US citizen or permanent resident who has lived in the US for the past 2 years and has good credit history.
Find out more here.
Financial Aid for Non-US citizens studying in the US at select schools (No Cosigner Loans):
No Cosigner Loan
As mentioned above, most international students inside the US will need a cosigner when applying for a loan. Although a cosigner is required in most cases, international students attending a small number of colleges and universities in the US are able to apply for a no cosigner loan. If you aren’t able to find a cosigner then a no cosigner loan could be a good option for you.
Most international students in the US do not have credit history. With no cosigner loans the loan approval is based on the cosigner’s credit history, along with your academic success and career path.
Find out more here.
Financial Aid for US citizens studying abroad through a US school:
Study Abroad Loan
If you are a US citizen or permanent resident you may be eligible for a study abroad loan if you are participating in a study abroad program at an approved school in the United States. You must receive credit at your home college or university. If you are not sure if your school is eligible, see our complete list of eligible schools.
Our loan comparison tool lets you compare loans and find the loan that’s most suitable to meet your needs – and you can apply right online.
Find out more here.
Financial Aid for US citizens enrolled directly at a foreign school:
Foreign Enrolled Loan
If you’re a US citizen or permanent resident planning to enrol directly with an approved foreign school to complete an entire degree program overseas, you may be eligible for a Foreign Enrolled Loan.
There are hundreds of medical, dental, law and business schools, colleges and universities around the world that are approved.
Find out more here.
US citizens applying for federal loans:
Federal Student Stafford Loan
US students that need a student loan should complete the FAFSA and apply for Stafford Loans as well as applying for a Study Abroad Loan or Foreign Enrolled Loan.
Stafford loans are fixed-rate loans for undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least half time. They are provided under a federal government program, so interest rates can be very competitive.
Find out more here.
More About Student Loans for Foreign Students:
International Student Loan provides student loan information so that you are better informed and equipped to make the right decision on funding your studies. Whether you are looking for international student loans, foreign enrolled loans, or study abroad loans, we aim to always provide you with the very best of foreign student loan opportunities.
Finding a student loan for your international education can be difficult – but it doesn’t have to be with the help of internationalstudentloan.com
Most students hear the myths about student loans before even attending college. Others simply don’t understand whether a student loan is right for them. This article will debunk some of the major myths surrounding student loans and help students choose the path that’s right for them.
If you don’t have the family finances, you can’t attend college.
Although universities in the US can be very expensive, they are not only for the rich. There are several scholarships you can apply for at every college and university. You can also apply for a student loan to support your study finances. The most important thing to focus on is grades and personal development. Think about getting excellent test scores and building your extra-curricular or voluntary experience to make your application stand out.
Student loans negatively affect your credit score.
Okay, if you don’t make your loan repayments then this is true. But managing a student loan well can be a great way to boost your credit score. By making regular repayments, you’re positively impacting your credit. This means it can make it easier to take out a credit card or another loan in the future.
You will forever be in debt.
You will be repaying a lot of money, probably over a long time. However, graduates are earning an average of $17,500 a year more than non-graduates, making the cost of college worth-while. No one wants to think about paying back a debt, but following this system could help you become more employable and increase your income in the long-run.
Interest on student loan repayment never changes.
Despite signing a contract when you took out a student loan, the amount of interest charged can still vary throughout the repayment. Be careful when applying for a loan that you understand all the small print. This includes how and when to repay the loan, as well as the interest due. The amount of interest owed can vary year to year, so check in the initial terms what you’re agreeing to. Make sure you have an idea of how much you’ll be repaying once you graduate to prepare for this.
Forget your loan until you graduate.
Your loan shouldn’t be the first thing you’re thinking about when you wake up. However, it’s important to acknowledge how you’re getting your money and use it wisely. Interest is mounting from the minute you take out your loan. So, unfortunately, you’re building up debt the whole time you’re studying. If you have the ability, you can start repaying your loan while still studying. If you don’t have enough to do this, consider starting a savings account to put aside whatever money you do have for when you gradate. This will help alleviate the pressure of repayment.
After receiving numerous video entries for the InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest, the 12 finalists, including the Viewers’ Choice Winner have been announced!
Like every year, students from around the world put all their effort, time, dedication and creativity into their video entry to express their desire to experience life outside their home country. Each entry was thoughtful and the InternationalStudent.com team had a difficult time narrowing the list of entries.
We invite you to meet the 12 finalists and hear their stories, as from that bunch three lucky winners will be chosen for the first, second and third place! As in past years, this year we have an incredible judging panel who will determine the three winners which will be announced on the last day of the International Education Week: November 16th.
Make sure you watch the Viewers’ Choice winning video: Leaving Routine Behind, where Kaleema Lowery shares with us how her life has become a routine that doesn’t bring her greater happiness. She wants to see the world, meet new people, learn new languages, make new memories and especially leave the routine behind! But she can’t do everything at once and for now, she chose South Korea where she’ll have the opportunity to live an experience different from what she has been living at home.
If you’re interested in entering this Travel Video Contest next year make sure you sign up to receive the latest alerts from InternationalStudent.com.
Save Money as an International Student
It’s never too early or too late to think ways to save money as an international student. Whether you’re just applying for colleges, in your second year or close to graduation, it’s always good to have a loan repayment plan. It’s something many of us take for granted, something you don’t have to think about until after university. However, planning ahead makes for better financials once you have to start paying back the debt.
Avoid Unnecessary Spending
Sure, it’s tempting to spend all the money as it comes in. I mean, that’s what it’s there for, right? But think ahead, that money can help you out in an emergency, or be saved for you to use once you graduate.
That’s not to say don’t spend your loan on college essentials like books and living costs. And make sure you enjoy your time in college; socialise, take part in extra-curricular activity. But try to avoid spending your loan frivolously where possible.
A couple of great ways to do this is to look for student discounts when shopping and eating out, and buy second hand – books, sports equipment, home decor etc. Why spend a fortune on new books when students from the previous year are earning some extra cash by selling their one-year-old copies?
Get a Savings Account
Different loans come with different conditions and some may require a certain type of bank account to pay into. However, where possible, look for the bank account with the best interest rates and with no withdrawal restrictions. If you’re think about saving some of your student loan each month, the interest you earn in a good savings account can balance out the interest you’ll eventually owe on your loan repayment. It’s a great way to earn extra money by really doing nothing. Check out some of the best options here.
As much as you may want to ignore your loan, keeping on top of it will prepare you for repayments once you finish university. Check out the National Student Loan Data System to see how much you owe and learn about repayment options early on.
Get a Part-time Job
Once you’ve got into the swing of college life, look at your schedule and see what free time you have to earn some extra cash. A part time job will help build your resume as well as giving you some extra money to save or spend on leisure activities while saving your loan.
With high university costs, it’s common for students to work while studying. Have a look at jobs available on campus and in the local area. Just make sure, if you’re an international student, that your visa conditions allow for part-time work. Alternatively, consider remote working opportunities from around the world through companies such as FlexJobs. Remote work gives you the opportunity to work from home and often helps you avoid issues with your visa status. Just remember to declare taxes on your earnings in your home country.
Your New Best Friend – Tax-deductibles
If you decide to work in the US once you graduate, it’s important to learn all about tax deductibles. This might sound dull but it can actually save you thousands of dollars! If you’re paying off a student loan, you might be eligible for an interest deduction on your federal taxes. This is based on the interest paid on your student loan.
If you plan ahead, start saving early and take time to learn about the student loan terms and repayment options, you’ll be financially prepared once you graduate. So, don’t let the debt hang over your head, there are many simple ways to save money as an international student. Prepare early to fully enjoy the college experience!
Yes, it’s that time of year! The InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest is back and you have another chance to win $4,000! From August 31st until October 9th, you can submit your video to participate in the contest and be one of the four winners:
1st Place Winner: $4,000
2nd Place Winner: $500
3rd Place Winner: $250
Viewers’ Choice Winner: $1,000
To be eligible you must be 18 or older and already enrolled or planning to enroll in college or university outside of your home country.
How to enter
Create an original 4 minute video specifically for the 2018 InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest and submit it before the deadline. If you are a current international student, your video must describe any trip you would like to take. If you are not currently studying outside of your home country, your entry must describe your proposed study abroad.
The deadline to submit your application for the 2018 Travel Video Contest is 11:59 PM, EST on Tuesday, 9 October 2018. Don’t forget to have a look at:
Get more information on InternationalStudent.com.
If you need financial support to study abroad it’s important to find the right scholarship for you. There are several different scholarships to which you can apply, but as you search through the various options you’ll realize each has different requirements. Below are just a few categories that scholarships often put requirements and limitations around.
Many institutions and organizations offer scholarships based on the course you’re studying. It is common for fields that require greater numbers of graduate workers to incentivize study in that subject area. For example, some states or institutions may be lacking in qualified specialist nurses or criminal justice and finance managers, therefore providing grant opportunities such as the Global Nursing Research Grant.
Scholarships in specialist fields encourage students to make their studies more tailored to their future career by alleviating financial pressure. Therefore, graduates studying more general subjects, such as literature or history, may have a better chance of finding a scholarship based on different criteria.
Institution Specific Scholarships
Each institution has its own scholarship(s). Many universities provide financial support to students based on family income or academic success and potential. The criteria for these types of scholarships is usually to show you are a candidate of distinction – to have great grades, experience in an internship or volunteering program, to have extra-curricular hobbies and to show the institution what you can bring to the department by studying there. As well as university-wide grants, some departments offer scholarships only available to students within that specific department, reducing the competition.
Check out the rankings to see which institutions offered the most financial aid to their students last year.
If you have a specific talent or extra-curricular interest you can apply for a talent-based scholarship. Many universities and companies offer grants to students with extraordinary skills in sports, the arts, and other areas outside of major work. You will be expected to prove your talent and be part of the sports team or music department, as well as maintaining excellent grades, to be eligible for this type of scholarship.
Companies, particularly big multinationals and law firms, often offer scholarships for students who intend to work in the company after they graduate, or as an intern. This is particularly common for MBA students (Master of Business Administration).
Consider internships with big companies near the institution you are going to attend to get your foot in the door. Also reach out and contact the department you are interested in for your future career to see if they have any grant opportunities. The worst they can do is say no, at best they may offer you a grant, internship or part-time job.
International Student Scholarships
Maybe surprisingly, some grants are provided for international students to gain valuable life experience by studying abroad. That’s right, you could be paid simply for attending an institution in the US as a foreign student. Employers recognize that traveling out of your comfort zone, learning to study in more than one language, and engaging both academically and culturally, are great qualities in employees.
Visit the Study Abroad Scholarship search engine for a comprehensive list of scholarship opportunities for international students.