All international students find out during their course of study that money matters. Having enough money to pay for all the necessary expenses is an important facet of international student life. Students must budget and keep an eye on their finances to ensure that they do not spend too much, but also that they make the most of their time abroad. So where do most international students spend their money, and how can they appropriately budget?
Living expenses: International students find that the bulk of their costs are spent on their living expenses. This includes rent, water, electricity, internet, cable, and other housing expenses that can add up quickly. Be sure to think about these monthly costs and make your decisions wisely as these are typically services you contract for a designated period of time.
Food: International students have to eat too! Buying groceries each week can be expensive, so plan ahead and try to use up everything you purchase. While eating at a restaurant can be fun, it is often more expensive (not to mention, not very healthy!) so be sure to consider how frequently and which restaurant you want to indulge in. To save money, meal plans or a strict budget can do the trick!
Entertainment: The opportunity to get out and have some fun with your friends is paramount to an international student’s social life. But these costs can also add up. Trips, movies, sports games, bars and shopping can get expensive if you’re not careful. International students should budget out monthly “fun money” to enjoy themselves and relax outside of class – just watch out and make sure to account for it.
Other bills: While this category is very broad, there are a number of other items that you’ll need to consider depending on your personal needs. You will likely need a cell phone which come with monthly fees and can costs hundred of dollars depending on the cell phone plan. You may also find that you need a car to get around, which can add on gas charges, car insurance or even monthly finance payments. Credit card bills and gym memberships will go right on top of those costs as well so be careful about what contracts you sign and make sure that you can keep up financially!
Course materials and supplies: Next to tuition and room/board, course materials and supplies are one of the most expensive fees in an international student’s life. Students must pay for their books, software, lab fees, and perhaps even athletic fees. Some classes may even require that you have special materials beyond the normal pen and paper such as a specialized laptop computer or calculator. Oh, and don’t forget about parking permits!
With a well thought out budget and some planning and caution international students can avoid spending too much money and running up there bills. While students may have a few things to spend money, sacrifice and financial responsibility will always pay off!
Need more help budgeting for school? Check out our resource on How To Budget where you will find more great tips along with a spreadsheet to start budgeting for the next school year!
The decision to study overseas is a great one. It will expand your horizons and open up potential career opportunities. It’s also going to be a lot of fun, but you already know all this, right?
What you may not know is how exactly to get the funding you need to study in another country. It’s a tricky situation, as it’s not always possible to get a loan in the U.S. for a university outside the country. There are, however, a few options to look into that can help make studying overseas possible. Some are easier than others, but all of them might be useful as you plan your studies.
Work Through Your University
The first thing to do is to decide what your plan is for studying overseas. If you’re looking for a shorter time abroad — typically a year or less — check with your university to see what study abroad programs are available. This way you can continue using whatever funding you have available, such as loans or scholarships.
Study abroad programs are typically geared for short stays in the country while providing lots of support to students. However, it might be not as immersive as you’d like. If you’re thinking of studying for a longer time, you’ll probably have to apply to a university outside of your current school.
Before doing that, though, it’s still worth checking in with your current school’s finance department. They might not be able to help, but they could know of some ways to obtain the funding you need. Read the rest of this entry »
Student loans are an integral part of college, especially in a country like the U.S. where tuition rates are sky high. However, international students are at a disadvantage when it comes to obtaining loans to help pay tuition. Federal loans are off the table and can only be acquired by citizens. However, more and more private loans are becoming available to international students. This is great news, as are some important benefits from obtaining student loans. Here are the benefits of student loans when you’re an international student:
They Fill the Gap That Scholarships Cannot
If you’re studying internationally, hopefully you’ve scoured all available options for scholarships. Many universities will have opportunities for you, while some are known for being extremely generous to their international students. Getting your education fully funded is still unlikely unless you’re one of the absolute top students in your class.
Student loans aren’t merit based, so anyone attending an eligible school can potentially receive what they need to pay for school regardless of their grades. However, if you’re looking to go to school in the U.S., you’ll need a co-signer who’s either a permanent resident or a citizen. Your home country might also have some financial aid for international students; do a search for those.
Regardless, having to pay back loans is a lot less fun than receiving the money outright in a scholarship. Don’t fret – this brings us to the next benefit of student loans. Read the rest of this entry »
If you are a US student planning to directly enroll in a foreign university, one of the most important things to stay on top of are the deadlines. Having a solid timeline outlined for applications (university, financial aid, loans) will help ensure that you take advantage of all financial assistance at your disposal. If you have made the decision to take out a private student loan, make sure that you have exhausted all your other options: scholarships and savings (and FAFSA if you are a US student). The college application process can be overwhelming, but here are some key loan tips to help ease the stress.
1. Ask and You Shall Receive Knowledge is power; the more informed you are the easier your decisions will be. Foreign universities may have a different system than what you are familiar with, so it is a good idea to get in contact with the financial aid department. Opening a line of communication with the school´s financial aid advisors can help you create a solid financial plan. You can normally find the financial advisors’ contact information published on the school website. Here are some ideas of what may be worth asking: Read the rest of this entry »
Here are our top 3 tips for understanding the student loan process.
1. Don’t Borrow More Money Than You Have To
If you can work during the school year, work. If you can stay at home and commute, stay at home and commute. Consider all your options, because you can always take smaller loans if you’re willing to make some compromises. Try and think of it as helping out your future self. (We promise you’ll end up thanking your past self!) Read the rest of this entry »
Just because you have a small budget doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some fun! As a college student, money is often tight and school work can keep you up all night – but not tonight. Since we know how hectic your life can be, we’ve created a fun list of ideas for a night out that won’t break the bank. Here are just a few ways to have a night on the town for less than $20:
Have a Laugh: Check out the local comedy club. Of course, you won’t be able to see Jeff Dunham, but comedy shows earlier in the week can be hilarious – and within the budget. Depending on the club, tickets average $10 for local comedians and who knows, you may see the next Tina Fey, before she makes it big.
Take a Swing: Miniature Golf, depending on the time of year, is a great outdoor activity. The courses are all unique and creative, from themes to nearly impossible shots. On average, 18 holes will only cost $5 and after all, when’s the last time you played putt putt? Read the rest of this entry »