Pellegrini Scholarship

February 28th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

Pellegrini Scholarship
Deadline: March 31

Are you from Switzerland and plan on studying inside the US? If so, you have the chance to win the Pellegrini Scholarship through the Swiss Benevolent Society of New York. This award will grant up to 50 deserving students a partial tuition grant to be used towards a post-secondary school level for vocational or undergraduate and graduate academic studies at an accredited school. Although this award is not automatically renewed, students are able to apply each year. Those who are granted this award will have the funds paid directly to their school in two installments: one in the fall and one in the spring.

Eligibility for the Pellegrini scholarship includes the following:

– The applicant or one of the applicants parents must be a Swiss national
– The applicant must be living/studying in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania or Delaware
– There must be a financial need demonstrated
– The applicant must be in good academic standing

Interested applicants can find out more on the Pellegrini scholarship here.


How to Budget for Your Spring Break Trip

February 27th, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

With spring break just around the corner, now is the time for international students to be planning their budget for their upcoming spring break trip. Follow a few key tips and you’ll find you can have a great time without needing a massive spring break budget!

Book early

It’s no secret that airline fares and hotel rates rise steeply the longer you wait before you book; this is even truer for a notoriously high-traffic time like spring break. Yet with the hectic start of a new semester getting in the way of talking with friends and finalizing plans, many students wait too long and pay an arm and a leg for their trip. Get on your game a few months ahead of time and reduce your overall spring break budget.

School-sponsored trips

Many schools have organizations that will plan their own spring break trips, whether they involve the organization’s interest (an archaeology club trip to Rome, say) or whether it’s just a fun outing. These trips often come at a discount, especially when they are only open to the members of the sponsoring organization. See if you can find any enticing options like this to help you budget for spring break trip.

Get it all together

You can cut down your spring break budget a lot by booking as many parts of your trip as possible together. Get a flight paired with a hotel with a side serving of shuttle service to and from the airport, and you might save yourself a significant chunk of change.

Reduce incidental expenses

There are a lot of little costs that come with spring break that many students forget to include in their budget for spring break: meals, baggage fees, tips, and so on. Do your best to reduce these costs! Pack your things in fewer bags to avoid exorbitant baggage fees, or pay more for a hotel with a kitchenette and save on going out to eat for every meal. If you don’t include these expenses in your budget they can be an unwelcome surprise, but if you consider them you can curb your spring break spending by quite a bit.

Spring break is a time to explore and have fun, so don’t let a budget issue stop you. Follow the above tips to make sure you can do something great!


Should you get a Meal Plan at your School?

February 25th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

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!


Hemingway Research Grant

February 21st, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

Hemingway Research Grant
Deadline: March 15

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum contains a collection of Ernest Hemingway’s manuscript materials. This collection, donated by Mary Hemingway, spans Hemingway’s entire career and contains ninety percent of his manuscripts. Student and scholars who wish to use this collection are able to do so through the use of the archival holdings. Scholars who require financial assistance for the use of the collection can apply for the Hemingway Research Grant offered through the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

The Hemingway research grant can go towards travel and living expenses acquired by scholars performing research within the Hemingway collection. The number of awards and award amount will vary upon the grant deadline. The award is typically granted in an amount between $200 and $1000.

It is important for those applying to also keep the following in mind:

  •                Individuals can only apply for the research grant once in a given year
  •                The review committee will assess each application and determine the grant awardee
  •                Applications must be completed in full to be considered

You can find more information on the Hemingway research grant and how to apply here.


International Student Social Media Scavenger Hunt Winner

February 20th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

The first International Student Social Media Scavenger Hunt was a great success. They received multiple entries and would like to congratulate the seekers who were able to solve the puzzle, but unfortunately only one individual was able to be selected as the International Student Social Media Scavenger Hunt winner and she has been chosen!

The $300 cash prize went to Melissa Atta from Italy. Melissa cleverly solved the secret phrase: Your Study Abroad Dreams Start Here.

International Student followers on Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook were able to participate in the scavenger hunt by finding a new hidden word each day from February 7th through February 12th and piecing it together to complete the secret phrase.

Although the first scavenger hunt has concluded, there will be more to come. If you would like to be our next Social Media Scavenger Hunt winner, make sure you are following us on Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter.


Saving Money on Your Food Budget

February 18th, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

For international students who are working hard just to make ends meet as they go to college in the US, one large and constant financial burden is food. Whether you’re on a college meal plan or not, there are plenty of things you can do to get started saving money on your food budget.

  • Make your own food

This may seem like a very obvious way to save money on food, but students on meal plans often forget that they can still save money by staying in and making their own food some of the time. Meal plans usually have limits to the amount of times you can use them – so lean on them too much and you’ll find yourself paying up for every meal at the end of the semester.

Instead, work on saving money on your food budget by making your own meals a couple times a week. Don’t have a kitchen in your small dorm? You can still throw together small breakfasts and lunches just with basic ingredients that can go in a mini-fridge.

  • Save at the grocery store

Even once you’re making your own meals, you can still save money on food by cutting down on the costs of the food you’re buying. One of the best ways to ensure this is to buy food at wholesale grocery stores, but the cost of membership and the amount of food you have to buy at once will deter plenty of students who have little to no storage space. See if any grocery stores offer savings cards that get you better deals or regular coupon mailers to get you saving money.

  • Snack more

You can cut down on the size of your meals – and thus the money you spend on them – by keeping some food in your belly throughout the day. Be careful with what you buy for snack food, though, as individual bags of chips, candy, and so on can be costly and unhealthy.

If you follow the above tips to save money on food not only will you have less stress about your financial burden, but you also may be eating healthier and feel better in general. Get started on your new eating plan today!


Ralph W. Stone Graduate Fellowship

February 14th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

Ralph W. Stone Graduate Fellowship
Deadline: March 15

National Speleological Society (NSS) members who are pursuing graduate studies anywhere in the world are able to apply for the Ralph W. Stone Graduate Fellowship award. This fellowship grant awards two winners annually in the amount of $2,000 to be used toward research.

This award is an unrestricted grant to assist graduate students with their speleological thesis research in the biological, social or earth sciences. The Ralph W. Stone graduate fellowship application is due March 15 and must include the following:

  • A project description
  • A resume which includes the applicant’s NSS number
  • A detailed academic record
  •  Two letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant’s thesis advisor
  • A research budget and budget justification

NSS is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the study and protection of caves, karst and their natural content.

Interested applicants can find out more on the Ralph W. Stone graduate fellowship grant here.


Finding a Job During School

February 11th, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

working on campusFor 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:

  1. You must maintain valid F-1 status
  2. You can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session
  3. You can work full-time on campus during holidays and vacation periods if you intend to register for the next academic semester.
  4. 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


Social Media Scavenger Hunt

February 7th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

shutterstock_1287556Social Media Scavenger Hunt
Deadline: February 13

If you’re trying to locate funds to help pay for your studies in the US, make your search exciting and enter the International Student Social Media Scavenger Hunt! You don’t need to complete an essay or even submit a list of references. All you need to do is piece together the clues and submit the secret phrase by February 13th.

Here’s how you can get started:

The first step is to make sure you are following International Student on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. You will need to follow each of these networks to complete the phrase. Each day from February 7th until February 12th there will be a new hidden word throughout these social media networks. For a chance to win, you will need to find each word, decode the social media scavenger hunt phrase and enter the answer here to win.

The grand prize winner of the Social Media Scavenger Hunt will win $300! Ensure to follow them on Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter and get ready to solve the puzzle.

*Looking at international currency photo courtesy of Shutterstock


5 Financial Considerations When Choosing a School

February 5th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

student in libraryOne 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