International Student Loan Comparison Tool

December 27th, 2011 by Jennifer Frankel

As more students decide to study overseas, financial aid plays a critical role for many students looking to make this a reality. Financial aid comes in many forms, including scholarships, grants, and loans. For many international students, even with the assistance of scholarships and grants, there is still a need to secure additional financing by taking out a loan.

Many international students have had difficulty finding lenders that will loan to international students. Some lenders require students to be a US citizen or permanent resident and all lenders work with specific school (and these lists of approved schools vary by lender). Because of this, many international students have to read through the terms and conditions or complete the application to see whether they meet the eligibility requirements for each lender.

This has all changed thanks to International Student Loan’s new loan comparison tool. This loan comparison tool takes all of this information into consideration to match international students with the right loan options instantly. International students simply indicate their school, citizenship, and whether they have a cosigner, and they will be given a list of lenders to compare that have been matched based on their eligibility. Once international students have chosen their loan, they can proceed to the application and apply for the loan directly.

International Student Loan’s Comparison Tool is making financial aid easier for students to study overseas, saving  time and providing students with option to make studying abroad a possibility. For any questions on how this works, you can contact representatives at International Student Loan.


What is the net price calculator?

December 22nd, 2011 by Jennifer Frankel

Did you ever want to know what the total cost of your education would be as an international student studying in the US? Are you trying to budget properly so that you make smart financial decisions? Curious about the price difference between schools? Now, the US Department of Education is making it easier for you to determine the cost of your education. It’s called, the Net Price Calculator.

So you may be asking yourself, what is the net price calculator? Thanks to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, the Net Price Calculator was introduced to increase the transparency of how much a student must pay or borrow to enroll. Previously, the cost of education was not all that clear. Adding up all of the costs, like books and living expenses, was difficult to measure.

That’s where the net price calculator comes in. By entering in your personal information, like income, residency, assets, among other details, you can determine approximately what the cost will be to enroll. Tuition and fees, room and board, books and personal expenses, as well as scholarships and grants, are all clearly laid out for you to evaluate on many college and university websites.

Keep in mind, however, that tool has been designed for US students attending US schools so there may be variations in the prices for international students. At the same time, many schools have taken the tool one step further and have adjusted rates for international students. The net price calculator was formally implemented across the United States on October 29, 2011.

While some people are asking what is the net price calculator, others are looking for ways to improve it. Currently, the tool only provides the annual cost so don’t be fooled. If you are going for a four year degree, make sure to multiply the number by 4.

So, if you are an international student, make sure you know what is the net price calculator – and even more importantly, how to use it!


Funding for International Students

December 12th, 2011 by Jennifer Frankel

Funding for international students is a critical factor for any student looking to receive a degree or certification overseas. Think about it. Housing, food, tuition, and books are just a few of the necessary expenses students will need to consider when they budget for their education.

One way students reduce their costs is by applying for scholarships and grants. While many students hope for a full scholarship supported by their college or university, this can be a challenge. In fact, only 23% of international students in the US cover the majority of their expenses with assistance from their college or university. This is the largest external source of funding for international students (excluding self and family funding) – see the graph below that reflects funding for foreign students in the US.

The Institute of International Education publishes an annual report monitoring data on international students in the US called the Open Doors Report. This publication, released last month, confirmed that funding remained consistent over last year with relatively minor fluctuations. What does this means? In the 2010-2011 academic year 63% percent of international students primary funding for international students was by personal and family funds.

Here are some important tips for students looking to budget responsibly:

1. Know the cost of your education.

The initial budgeting stage for your education overseas is to know what expenses you can expect. You should be aware of costs that include your tuition, books, living expenses, etc. The Net Price Calculator can be a useful addition to develop an accurate budget.

Since October 29, 2011, in compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, those colleges and universities who participate in Title IV federal student aid programs are required to estimate the cost of attendance for current and prospective students seeking a degree and/or certificate. The idea of the Net Price Calculator is to provide students with transparency on the cost of their education as well as any grants/scholarship awards they typically distribute to students. This tool will outline tuition and associated fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses, transportation, grant aid, etc. Keep in mind that the tool was developed for US students so results may vary for international students, however this can be a good start!

2. Apply for scholarships and grants.

It is important for international students to apply for scholarships and grants to reduce their personal expenses. Be aware of programs, dates, and eligibility requirements, and add them to your calendar to stay on top of those awards that are distributed by your school. Funding for international students can also be found through your home country as well as non-profit organizations or third parties. You can use resources like International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) and International Scholarships to begin researching your overseas funding.

3. For additional financial assistance, you may need to apply for an international student loan.

Once you have maximized your scholarships and grants, you may consider looking for a loan for international students. If you have a US co-signer, you may be eligible for a US-backed loan that can help you support your education overseas. Be sure to read through the terms and conditions before you apply.

Student loans can assist you in supporting the many costs that you may incur as an international student. Keep in mind, however, that this aid is expected to be paid back along with interest. While funding for international students can vary, this may be a helpful alternative for students looking for financial assistance from a US bank.

Data for graph was extracted from the Open Doors Report as noted above.


Number of International Students in US Grows

December 6th, 2011 by Keith Clausen

The annual Open Doors Report, published on November 14 by the Institute of International Education, shows that the number of international students studying in the USA for the 2010/2011 academic year increased by 5%, to a total of 723,277.  This follows an increase of 3% last year, and continues the upward trend that started in 2005/2006, when enrollment numbers started to rebound after post-9/11 setbacks.

Countries of Origin

A big story this year, like last year, is Chinese student enrollment.  The number of Chinese undergraduates studying in the US increased by 43%, and overall Chinese enrollment increased by 23% to 157,558, ensuring that China was the largest sending country again this year.  Saudi Arabia also had a large percentage increase of 44%. Here are the top ten countries of origin for international students in the USA:

Rank Place of Origin 2009/10 2010/11 2010/11 % of Total % Change
WORLD TOTAL 690,923 723,277 100.0 4.7
1 China 127,822 157,558 21.8 23.3
2 India 104,897 103,895 14.4 -1.0
3 South Korea 72,153 73,351 10.1 1.7
4 Canada 28,145 27,546 3.8 -2.1
5 Taiwan 26,685 24,818 3.4 -7.0
6 Saudi Arabia 15,810 22,704 3.1 43.6
7 Japan 24,842 21,290 2.9 -14.3
8 Vietnam 13,112 14,888 2.1 13.5
9 Mexico 13,256 13,713 1.9 2.0
10 Turkey 12,397 12,184 1.7 -1.7

Taken together, the top 3 countries sending students to the US (China, India and South Korea) account for almost half of all international students in the US.

Leading Host Institutions and Fields of Study

The University of Southern California maintained its top spot as the US school hosting the most international students with a total of 8,615.  Here are the ten schools in the United States, by total international student enrollment:

TOP 10 INSTITUTIONS HOSTING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, 2010/11
Rank Institution City State Total Int’l Students
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles CA 8,615
2 University of Illinois – UC Champaign IL 7,991
3 New York University New York NY 7,988
4 Purdue University – Main Campus West Lafayette IN 7,562
5 Columbia University New York NY 7,297
6 University of California – Los Angeles Los Angeles CA 6,249
7 Ohio State University – Main Campus Columbus OH 6,082
8 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Ann Arbor MI 5,995
9 Michigan State University East Lansing MI 5,748
10 Harvard University Cambridge MA 5,594

International students have been consistent in the fields of study that they choose, as the top five have not changed.   Business and Management and Engineering are by far the most popular two choices for international students at US schools, followed by Physical and Life Sciences, Math and Computer Science, and Social Sciences to round out the top five.

US Students Abroad

Not only are the numbers for international students growing, but so are the numbers of US students going overseas. According to the Open Doors Report, the number of US students studying abroad increased almost 4% to 270,604. Consistent with previous year records, the most popular destinations for US study abroad students included the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and China as reflected below:

Rank Destinations 2008/09 2009/10 2009/10 % of Total % Change
WORLD TOTAL 260,327 270,604 100.0 3.9
1 United Kingdom 31,342 32,683 12.1 4.3
2 Italy 27,362 27,940 10.3 2.1
3 Spain 24,169 25,411 9.4 5.1
4 France 16,910 17,161 6.3 1.5
5 China 13,674 13,910 5.1 1.7
6 Australia 11,140 9,962 3.7 -10.6
7 Germany 8,330 8,551 3.2 2.7
8 Mexico 7,320 7,157 2.6 -2.2
9 Ireland 6,858 6,798 2.5 -0.9
10 Costa Rica 6,363 6,262 2.3 -1.6

Interestingly, while there are more students studying overseas they are going to non-traditional destinations. There was an eight percent increase for each of the following destinations: Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

For more information, please visit the 2011 Open Doors Report published by the Institute for International Education.

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