Billionaire and Blackstone Group founder Stephen Schwarzman has announced the creation of the Schwarzman Scholars program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. It’s mission? Schwarzman Scholar Program sends students to China. The scholarships, to be funded by Schwarzman’s own $100 million dollar donation as well as $200 million more from other international donors, will function similarly to Oxford’s prestigious Rhodes Scholarship though will obviously allow students to study in China rather than the U.K.
Starting in 2016, 200 international Schwarzman Scholars annually will get the opportunity to study in China at one of the country’s most prominent educational institutions in an all-expenses-paid, year-long program in Public Policy, International Relations, Engineering, or Economics & Business. These elite students will then leave the program with a Master’s Degree.
Schwarzman hopes that encouraging students from around the world (though scholars from the United States will represent the largest proportion) to study in China will foster an enduring academic and cultural relationship between the rapidly rising China and the rest of the world. Classes in the Schwarzman Scholars program will all be taught in English, further emphasizing the program’s mission of connecting Western, English-speaking powerhouses like the United States and the United Kingdom with the increasingly relevant China.
The Schwarzman Scholars program’s international commitment is also reinforced by its impressive advisory board, which is graced by influential figures such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice, and even famous cellist Yo-yo Ma.
The Schwarzman Scholars program represents a very exciting new opportunity for U.S. students looking to study abroad. With its high level of prestige in its host university and advisory board, setting in an emerging world superpower, and its fantastic zero dollar price tag, the program looks poised to provide quality international education to students when it does kick off in 2016.
*Photo Courtesy of BusinessInsider.com
A report recently released by NACE, the National Association of College Employers, has detailed the ten highest paying majors in the United States. The study measures these majors with top pay by looking at the average starting salary for a newly hired employee. Here’s the full list:
- Computer Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Computer Science
- Aerospace/Aeronautics/Aeronautical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electric/Electronics and Communications Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Construction Science/Management
- Information Sciences Systems
Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of these ten highest paying majors come out of the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There are a few major reasons for this.
First off, STEM fields are many of the vital forces that drive our world today – the influx of computer and web technology in day-to-day life, for example, makes jobs in the above categories of Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Information Sciences Systems significantly more important than they were even a few short years ago.
Another main reason that most of these majors with top pay come from the STEM fields is that relatively few students choose to pursue these majors over the more popular ones in liberal arts, making the actual STEM-field graduates very hot commodities for employers desperate to hire workers with the appropriate expertise.
Does this mean that you should go into one of these fields just because it’s one of the ten highest paying majors in the United States once you snag that first job? Certainly not. But some planning ahead and honest soul-searching in your pre-college and early college years can help you consider what you’d really like to do and see if any of the above majors is in fact something that inspires you.
Also keep in mind that it’s never too late to shift gears into one of these ten highest paying majors if you decide that it is indeed the right thing for you. Even if you’re already finished with your undergraduate education, there are various ways such as grad school and community college that you can use to get you started on a major career change.
If one of the above majors sounds like a good choice for you, make the commitment, study hard, and be ready to land a great job once you join the workforce!
As international students prepare to head to college inside the US, one of the decisions they will have to make is whether or not to enroll in a school meal plan. It’s not as simple as deciding how much you’d like to eat! Choosing a meal plan at your school will depend on a lot of different factors.
What Are Meal Plans?
A school meal plan can come in two basic forms: a plan that will allot a certain amount of meals and a plan that will allot a certain amount of money. A meal plan at your school with limited meals has the advantage of being cheaper, but is usually limited to your school’s cafeteria-style offerings and not specialty restaurants (including fast-food locations on campus). Meal plans that charge money from an account can generally be used at any restaurant on campus (and sometimes even at on-campus stores and off-campus restaurants), but you will need to keep close track of your budget so you don’t run out and wind up paying for food out of pocket!
When do I Need a Meal Plan?
Getting a meal plan at your school is almost always a good choice if you fit a certain few criteria. First, a school meal plan will be most useful if you live on or very near campus, allowing you to make it to participating cafeterias/restaurants regularly and get the full benefit of your school’s meal plan. Second, look at the lifestyle you’ll be living in the coming school year. Will you be in a tiny dorm room with just a microwave and mini-fridge? Will you be so busy that cooking your own food is out of the question? If getting a meal plan at your school would positively complement your lifestyle for the semester it can be a great option.
When Don’t I Need a Meal Plan?
If you have specific dietary restrictions, contact your school to find out if any of their participating options available are acceptable to you. Many larger schools will work to accommodate a variety of dietary choices, but if you don’t think you would be happy with what your school offers then skip the meal plan and prepare your own meals. Also, if you’re far away from campus and unable to fully benefit from a meal plan or if you would simply rather prepare your own food, a meal plan certainly isn’t a necessity!
A school meal plan can be a great way to make life easier and to manage your budget. Look into what your school offers and get ready to eat!
For international students who don’t receive significant financial aid and need some extra help funding their education in the USA, finding a job is one of the best ways to make ends meet. But, just like with financial aid, on-campus jobs can be hard to come by for international students due to legal red tape. Here are a couple tips to help you go about finding a job to facilitate your education:
- Know your student visa limitations
Student visas, such as the F-1 visa, restrict international students’ legal right to work in the United States, even if they need a financial boost during college. Students on a F-1 visa can only work in certain capacities, the most freely offered one is on-campus employment. For on-campus work, an F-1 student is subject to the following rules:
- You must maintain valid F-1 status
- You can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session
- You can work full-time on campus during holidays and vacation periods if you intend to register for the next academic semester.
- The employment may not displace (take a job away from) a U.S. resident
Some exceptions can be made such as if a student is approved for severe financial hardship or an off-campus job on OPT or CPT status. Make sure you check the specific details of your own student visa so you know if you are eligible to work in the United States.
- Check for jobs off campus
Part of the federal aid that is unavailable to international students is work study, which helps US citizens get on-campus jobs to fund their education. Plenty of on-campus jobs are not officially limited to work study applicants, but work study employees are legally allowed to be paid with federal funds. If you’re an international student worried about finding a job on-campus, check with your advisor to see what options are available and try widening your search to unaffiliated employers in the immediate area where your ineligibility for work study won’t be a disadvantage.
- Start early
With all the obstacles international students face in finding a job, don’t add getting a late start to your personal list of difficulties! If you are eligible to work in the U.S., start your job hunt before you actually need the money from a job. It may be hard to focus on the job hunt while adjusting to college life, but keep in mind that it is for other students too – so starting on it right away will give you a big head start!
* Photo of paying money courtesy of Shutterstock
One of the most important decisions international students will face is what school they choose to pursue their degree program. This is one of the most critical decisions since it will financially determine the costs over the next few years. The school you choose can determine whether you are set up for financial success – or failure.
Think about it. If you are an international student planning to study in the US, there are over 2,000 universities that you can go to that accept international students. Your primary purpose is to enroll, get an education, and translate that into the opportunity to have a good job that will allow you to earn even more money (not to mention, a rewarding career!). College costs money, especially for international students, and the costs can vary greatly. You don’t just have to worry about tuition, but there is the cost of textbooks, housing, food, other educational fees, health insurance, electronics and more.
To help you out, here are 5 financial considerations when choosing a school:
- Evaluate the tuition costs
If you’ve done your research, then you know that US public colleges tend to be more affordable than private universities. Even though international students can expect to pay the out-of-state tuition at a public institution, this tends to still be more affordable than a private school. If you have a list of schools you plan to apply to, create a cost comparison chart and see what makes financial sense to you!
- Find out what financial assistance is available
No matter if you are looking at private or public university, financial aid for international students is limited. That being said, however, schools have different budgets allowing some schools to provide more financial assistance to international students than others. Check with your potential schools to see what financial aid is available. Ask questions like, do they offer need based aid? Is there an opportunity to get on-campus employment (and if so, what’s the likelihood of being able to do so?)? What is the likelihood of getting financial aid, even if it is not need base? If so, how much can be expected?
- Check to see what employment opportunities exist
Some colleges and universities have a budget that allows them to hire international students part time. US students have what’s called “work study” which allows federal funds to pay for student employees. While this is not available for international students, some schools allocate funds to allow their international students to work in compliance with their visa employment restrictions. Check with your school(s) to see whether this is an option, but keep in mind that the amount you’ll make will be small and only cover miscellaneous expenses.
- Consider the cost of living in the area
New York City, San Francisco, and Washington DC are some of the key cities international students dream of living. Did you also know that these are some of the most expensive cities to live in as well? New York City is ranked #1, San Francisco #2, and DC is ranked #7 as the most expensive cities to live in throughout the US, according to Kiplinger. If you are looking for a high quality education but don’t have a lot of funds to support your education, be sure to consider the cost of living of the town in which your school is located. This will also affect what you’ll be able to do off campus, because the less expensive the town, the farther your money will go.
- Compare your projected income to your total degree cost
If you have your heart set on a top, ivy-league school, do a cost-benefit analysis to see what the costs will be – and then see how it compares to your projected income According to Mark Kantrowitz, founder of FinAid.org, “if your total student loan debt is less than your annual income, you’ll be able to repay that debt in about 10 years.” While it may be difficult to forecast your projected income, it’s worth the research to ensure a good investment. Check out Salary.com to see what your projected income would be if you land a job in the US after graduation. It would also be advantageous to evaluate your projected income in your home country as you will still be responsible for paying back any money borrowed.
* Photo of girl in library courtesy of Shutterstock
Whether or not you celebrate any of the many religious holidays found at the end of the year, being at school and not home with your family during this time can get a little lonely. Unfortunately, given the added complications of travel for many international students, this is often the case at this time of year. Let’s take advantage of the situation and look at some things international students can do to keep busy while they’re away from home for the holidays.
A lot of international students get some financial aid through on-campus jobs, though the amount of work can be limited by competition from other working students and visa regulations. If you are fortunate enough to have a work study job that still requires staffing during holiday time, put in as many hours now as your student visa will allow! With the great majority of students heading back home, it’s a great idea to rack up some serious work hours as long as you’re away from home for the holidays.
Applying for Scholarships
The scholarships out there for international students vary in a lot of ways, and one of those ways is in their application deadlines. Still, a lot of these deadlines coincide with general application deadlines early in the year, in January and February. Since those months (usually representing the start of a new semester) can be busy for current students, take the time that you’re away from home for the holidays to get some of the leg work done now in researching and applying for the scholarships that are available to you.
Most schools have some sort of international advisor, but during the school year this person can be difficult to arrange a meeting with. Since school staff are likely to live around the school they work at and thus spend the holidays in the area, they may be available to you for some rare one-on-one time that you wouldn’t be able to get any other time of year. Meet with them to discuss anything from financial aid to student visas to just making the most out of your holiday time away from home.
Wishing you all the best in financing your education in 2013. Happy Holidays from IEFA!
* Happy Holidays Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock
One obstacle faced by many international students is the small number of non-US students who are accepted to US universities each year. Even if you are a great student with excellent grades and references, you might be rejected simply because the school you applied to had already accepted as many international students as it is willing to take.
Luckily, this problem appears to be getting much better. Driven partially by a need for increased funds, along with an interest in promoting diversity in their campuses, international student recruitment is on the rise in the US. This is especially true in the midwest. In Indiana University, for example, international students have gone from less than 100 to over 2000 attending students in just five years. This news comes despite college enrollment leveling out overall, and it is a trend that will hopefully continue into the future.
Those most benefited by this increase have been Chinese students, who are currently the largest demographic of international students in the US. There have been increases with many other demographics as well, such as students from South Korea, India, Saudi Arabia and many more countries.
Because international student recruitment is on the rise, your chances are higher now than ever to get accepted into your school of choice! Even if you don’t get into an ivy league college, many international students have been attending lesser known state schools. These colleges, while not as well know, can still give students an amazing education.
When international student recruitment is on the rise it benefits everyone. This includes the international students who are getting the best possible education just as much as the US students who are able to learn from the diversity of cultures at the school! If you are interested in applying, please check out our scholarship page where you can get financial help in your studies abroad!
* Woman with chart picture is thanks to Shutterstock.
Despite its relatively young age, the US is full of amazing and often awe inspiring historical landmarks and natural wonders. If you are an international students with some extra time and money, you owe it to yourself to travel and take in some of the sights that the country has to offer. Whether you are just driving a couple of hours to see something local, or doing a full on tour of America, there are hundreds landmarks and natural wonders that you should definitely try to visit.
Jutting out of the side of a mountain in South Dakota are the faces of four former US presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. If you are anywhere near Mount Rushmore you should definitely take a trip out there – it definitely one of the must see US landmarks. Fun fact: Mount Rushmore was supposed to feature the entire bodies of the US presidents that it depicts, however construction was forced to stop in 1944 due to lack of funding.
If you are more into natural wonders than man made ones, then the Grand Canyon in Arizona should be on your list of must see US landmarks. Carved by the Colorado River over millions of years, the Grand Canyon can only be described as “awe inspiring”. The canyon is almost 300 miles long and almost 20 miles wide at its widest.
Another natural landmark, Niagara Falls is a set of three waterfalls that border the US and Canada. If you want to see them from the US, you will have to travel up north to New York. The waterfalls are more than just something nice to look at too – they also provide hydroelectric energy to the population of New York State.
Washington DC, while not a landmark in and of itself, is filled with dozens of must see US landmarks. As the political capital of the US, Washington DC is home to the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, countless museums and, of course, the White House. Any international student interested in US history or modern politics should take some time to visit Washington DC.
* Photo of Mount Rushmore courtesy of Shutterstock
Applying to study in the US can be pretty confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are all kinds of forms and applications which need to be filled out, and a specific order that they all need to be filled out in. Before you are able to get your student visa, for example, you have to first get what is called an I-20 form. And to get your I-20 form, you have to prove that you can finance your time studying in the US. This is because it is required by US law that you prove that you can afford to study in the US, the proof of funds to get your I-20 is how the US determines that you are financially secure enough.
Because of the high cost of living and tuition, many international students rely on at least one sponsor who will help out financially. You are allowed to have as many sponsors as you want, and each one that plans on being a sponsor will need to fill out an affidavit of annual cash support stating that they promise to send you a certain amount of money, as well as a proof of income. The proof of income can be a letter from your sponsor’s employer, income tax returns, an income estimate by a bank, or a bank statement showing that there is enough money to cover the promised amount. If you have sponsors who plan on providing you with a free room and board, they will also need to show a proof of income as well as copies of their lease, deed, rent receipts and/or any other documentation that the university can use to verify ownership of the property.
It is also important that your sponsors do not exaggerate how much money they are able to cover when providing the university with a proof of funds to get your I-20. While your sponsors may think they are helping you by exaggerating, they are actually putting you in danger of having your I-20 form rejected. The reason that you are required to show a proof of funds to get your I-20 is because it is far too risky to move to the US without a guaranteed source of income. If a sponsor backs out and you don’t have enough money to continue living in the US, you would have to move home and stop pursuing your education.
Once you have your I-20 form, you have completed one of the first steps to studying in the US. You will then be eligible to get your F-1 student visa, which will allow you to legally stay in the country and study in a US university full time!
*Visa application photo thanks to Shutterstock
That’s right, if you are currently studying outside your home country – or if you want to study abroad, you have the chance to win $4,000! The 2012 Travel Video Content hosted by InternationalStudent.com has just opened allowing you to submit your video with the opportunity to add $4,000 to your travel budget.
As the 7th annual Travel Video Contest, this could be your year to win! To enter, submit a video of less than 5 minutes explaining why you want to study or travel abroad! If you are currently abroad, then talk about a trip you’d like to take and why.
Check out previous winners to get those ideas flowing, and submit your video before the deadline, October 31st. The winner of the Travel Video Contest will be announced on the InternationalStudent.com website the week of November 12-16, International Education Week.
In addition to the grand prize of $4,000, the winner will get their very own blog on International Student to document their trip and share their experience with viewers. This blog will start immediately after the winner is announced, and will continue through the trip until return to school. For more information, check out the Travel Video Contest for rules and regulations, to see previous videos, and learn how to submit your video.
Good luck to you all!
* Professional Video Camera picture thanks to Shutterstock