Many international students dream of studying in the US. However, the cost of such an education is quite high, and many international students end up having to pay that full cost, as international students are not eligible for federal aid programs such as Stafford and Perkins loans or many local scholarships. Some schools in the US offer need-based aid to international students, but such aid is generally offered on a very limited basis. For this reason, many international students believe that it will be impossible for them to study in the United States.
However, international students with a dream of studying in the US shouldn’t despair; US News recently conducted a survey of nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for their 2013 survey of undergraduate programs, and found that nearly 345 ranked US colleges offered financial aid to at least 50 international undergraduate students during the 2012-2013 school year, with the average scholarship totaling $17,721. The study found that some of the top ranked schools in the United States proved to be particularly generous to international students.
Williams College, the number one ranked National Liberal Arts College, awarded scholarships to 80 international students for 2012-2013. The average award was $54,671. Harvard University, which ranked at number two among National Universities, awarded scholarships averaging $52,578 to 530 international students.
Both of these schools are among the ten schools that offer the most financial aid to international students. All of the top ten schools placed in the top 50 in their respective categories in the 2014 Best Colleges rankings, and awarded an average scholarship of $52,764 to international undergraduates.
Students should bear in mind that getting into one of these highly elite schools is no easy task; the University of Chicago, which offered the highest average award to international students, accepted 3,345 students of 25,273 applicants for fall 2012.
International students should also bear in mind that admission to one of these schools doesn’t guarantee a scholarship. Only 57 of UChicago’s undergraduate international students received financial aid during the 2012-2013 school year—less than 11% of all international undergraduates.
It is important that international students not let a lack of funds discourage them from pursuing receiving an education in the US. Make sure you thoroughly research all of your options so that you know how to go about financing your education in the United States.
If you are interested in seeing the full list of schools that offer financial aid to international students, you can access the U.S. News College Compass to find financial aid data, complete rankings and more.