FINANCIAL AID In USA

It is important to understand that most universities offer financial assistance to international students based primarily on merit and rarely on need. The amount, and type of assistance offered varies, based on the university, department and level of study. Assistance of funds is more likely in Graduate studies and less in Undergraduate courses. Also funds are more likely to be available in fields like Engineering, Physical Sciences and Biological sciences, rather than in courses like Humanities, Social Sciences and Management.

In contrast to undergraduate education, where admission and financial awards are controlled at the institutional level, US graduate education is quite tightly controlled at the departmental level. Funding for certain fields tends to be more heavily subsidised than for others. For example, a student of physics, chemistry, or biology may find institutional funding more readily available than a student of humanities, the social sciences, or education.


Scholarships and Awards

There are also independent foundations and scholarship organisations that provide funding for British students studying in the US. Many of these awards will also pay for living and travel expenses. For example, The US-UK Fulbright Commission grants between six and ten graduate awards in any discipline at the US institution of the UK student's choice. The award covers tuition fees, health insurance, and living expenses for the first year of study only.
Funding directories, such as Peterson's Grants for Graduate and Postdoctoral Study (1998) and the annually published The Grants Register (Palgrave Macmillan), show that there are hundreds of independent awards available, so doing as much research as possible is a key factor in getting funding.

Personal Loans

Many personal loan schemes are also available from both US and UK sources such as banks and loan services. Loan amounts and repayment options vary depending on the field, level, and length of study. Several banks in Britain offer loans for study to existing customers, though most banks do not have a special student loan scheme for those wishing to study in the US. A second option for any student with residence in the EU is a Career Development Loan. These loans are for students who are following a professional course, and intend on working in the EU upon completion.
The availability of US-based loans for non-US citizens is limited. In almost all cases, US-based loan programs require non-US citizens to have a creditworthy US citizen or permanent resident to act as a co-borrower. However, a few universities have arrangements with lenders that do not require a co-signer so students should investigate.

Paid Employment

Additionally, international students may work for up to 20 hours per week on campus when classes are in session, and full-time during university holidays. International students are also eligible for up to one calendar year of Optional Practical Training (OPT), provided that the position is directly related to the students' field of study and commensurate with their educational level. OPT may be applied for after nine months of full-time study and it allows a student the opportunity to gain professional experience with an American firm while earning. At the same time, it puts an attractive capstone to the graduate experience.

FINANCIAL AID In USA

It is important to understand that most universities offer financial assistance to international students based primarily on merit and rarely on need. The amount, and type of assistance offered varies, based on the university, department and level of study. Assistance of funds is more likely in Graduate studies and less in Undergraduate courses. Also funds are more likely to be available in fields like Engineering, Physical Sciences and Biological sciences, rather than in courses like Humanities, Social Sciences and Management.

Undergraduate Aid

You must submit a financial aid application if you intend to seek financial assistance for your studies abroad.The policies regarding financial aid vary considerably. The profile of a college usually indicates the type of financial aid it offers. For aid, Undergraduate students have to submit the institution’s own financial aid forms, as well as the Foreign Student’s Financial Aid Form, which is provided by the college and administered by the College Scholarship Service of the College Board. A bank statement will also often be required. Some details, usually asked in these forms are :

  • Your total personal annual income
  • Total annual income of your Parents
  • Your average annual living expenses
  • Some details of your and your parents' assets
  • Sources of funding for your education other than from the University
Note : Even if no assistantship is available at the time of admission, most students manage to get some kind of financial aid from the university after one or two semesters. So it makes sense to go to the US for education if you can manage one year’s expenses on your own.

Postgraduate Aid

Postgraduate students have to indicate their requirement for financial aid at the time of filling in the application form.The different types of financial help available:
Types of Assistance
Merit based assistance is awarded in many forms, from tuition waivers, various types of assistantships, to fellowships. The most common are listed here :

  1. Tuition Waiver : This means that the student does not have to pay the tuition fees at the university. However, general fees (for the use of university facilities like the library, computers, and sports and health services) usually have to be borne by the student. A tuition waiver is frequently awarded in conjunction with a scholarship or teaching/research assistantship.
  2. Scholarship / Fellowship : This is usually an outright grant based on the student’s academic ability and performance. Hence, Only a truly outstanding student may be considered for this type of award, before enrolling at the university. A full scholarship would pay for a student’s entire living expenses at that university, whereas a partial scholarship would require additional funds from the student.
  3. Assistantship: Most college students who receive help usually do so as an assistantship, wehere a cash stipend sufficient for his or her living expenses, and/or college tuition waiver. To understand this, they have to work for no more than 20 hours each week. This work normally includes teaching and research activities. These are often for graduate programs. Teaching assistantships may be in colleges, which have big undergraduate classes while research assistantships tend to be common in individuals fields and universities by which considerable research is within progress. Information brochures on most universities give these details. Often, teaching and research abilities should be proved before assistantship is actually granted. Hence, many universities give this only following the first semester. You may even be required to consider TSE (Check of Spoken British) to be eligible for a a teaching assistantship.
  4. .
Who Should Apply? Students have a greater chance of getting financial aid if they :
  1. show evidence of a high level of academic achievement
  2. achieve high Standardized Examination scores (GRE, GMAT, TOEFL etc.)
  3. demonstrate financial need but have private funding to cover some of the cost. Financial need is not crucial for some awards.
  4. enroll in a field or have teaching experience in a subject offered at the undergraduate level (to increase opportunities for a teaching assistantship)
  5. specialize in a field or have a research interest which parallels that of the department and faculty or private funding source (which increases opportunities for research assistantships and grants)
  6. have outstanding letter(s) of recommendation and an impressive statement of purpose.
  7. send a sample of professional writing, published or otherwise.
Note : Even if no assistantship is available at the time of admission, Most Indian students manage to get some kind of financial aid from the university after one or two semesters. So it makes sense to go to the US for education if you can manage to cover one year’s expenses on your own.

Loans from U.S. Banks

These are the best alternative for students applying to the MBA program. One thing to keep in mind when applying for loans is that, in most cases, you need to have a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer is responsible for paying back the loan if you should default on it. There are some banks that waive the co-signer requirement for specific schools. You should check this information from the school website. As an example, Citibank provides loans to international students admitted to Harvard Business School without a co-signer. Another example is Bank of America providing loans without a co-signer to students at Kenan-Flagler, University of North Carolina (at the time of writing this, the CEO of Bank of America is an alumnus of Kenan-Flagler School of Management).
The terms of the loans usually require any interest or principal payments after graduation. Read the terms of any and all loans before you sign. Make sure you understand those terms and what your repayment schedule and fees entail. Ask for assistance in interpreting the fine print if you are having trouble understanding it.
We have seen that a lot of students are very debt-averse. If you have been accepted to a good program, your chances of getting a good job are very good and paying off the loan is not that big an ordeal as it seems. So, if you do get admitted to a school of your choice, we would recommend that you explore this funding alternative.

Other Sources of Funding

There are many other sources of funding especially for graduate students applying to the universities in US. These need some spadework. If you try hard, you may find the kind of funding that suits your needs. A few good websites that offer information for international students are :

go to Top