Many international students attend college or community college in the USA or go to a university or other higher education institution in Canada, the UK, Australia or many other countries around the world.
At IEFA we encourage students to broaden their horizons and take on the rewarding experience of an international education just like the estimated 5 to 6 million international students currently enrolled at universities in all four corners of the globe.
Some international students may feel they are isolated in their new country away from friends and family. However, this does not have to be the case! You can find communities of other international students, clubs and societies with common interests and the local community who will help you with the transition to your new country. Many international students actually report that the social life and extra curricular activities many colleges offer is even more valuable to them in their future careers than the quality education they receive compared to staying in their home country.
There are also plenty of resources specifically for international students – from housing, to scholarships and even financial assistance – whether you attend a small college or a large university overseas. You will have access to an international student advisor who can provide assistance and guidance to you before, during and often after you’ve completed your degree program. Many schools have dedicated support teams, or an international student office, who can help with any student visa questions foreign students might have, financial aid and advice on funding sources and access to financial resources.
I hope that this article offers some helpful advice on what people need when they first come over to a different country; don’t be afraid or shy! If you ever need any help please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
International students, or foreign students, are individuals who choose to do all or part of their post-secondary education in another country and relocate there for the explicit purpose of study. Most international students (more than 40% of all international students around the world) study at colleges and universities in just four destination countries – The U.S., The U.K., Canada and Australia.
Many countries require prospective international students to complete standardized tests to demonstrate language competence in the language of instruction or the main spoken language in that country. Students who do not have the required level of language to enter onto their chosen degree program may be able to take a Pathway Program at many colleges and universities. Pathway programs allow students to develop their language skills before proceeding onto their chosen degree programs.
Requirements will also vary depending on your chosen academic studies – whether you’re enrolling for undergraduate study or pursuing a graduate degree.
A student visa is one of the required documents for enrolment for many students. The exact student visa requirement will vary depending on the destination country, length of program and many other factors. Your chosen college or university will be able to give you the latest advice on whether student visas are required or not – for example for a short course of less than 6 months in Canada may not require a study visa as the course can be completed in the time allowed for many temporary visitor visas. Talk to the admissions office or international student office for guidance.
Living expenses, travel, tuition fees, having a social life… the costs of your education soon add up. Of course this is great for a country’s economy! It does mean that you may have to demonstrate that you have the resources to pay for the total cost of your education in that country in order to be granted your student visa. If you will be studying in the U.S. then there is definitely a requirement to prove you can pay for your own education and living costs. You can do this by providing statements from your bank account, as well as information about whether you receive funding from other sources to pay for your education.
The feeling of homesickness can be very real for international students when they first study abroad. Most students go through a period of adjustment where they may feel very emotional and even want to return home.
It may feel like the people you meet don’t understand your culture, you miss your friends and family back home, or you can’t get used to the weather or find food that reminds you of home. It can be many things. But there are a number of ways for an international student to overcome homesickness:
There are also plenty of resources specifically for international university students-from housing, to scholarships and even financial aid information, we have it all covered here!
As well as the IEFA international scholarship database you can also search internationalscholarships.com and speak to the advisors at your college or university as there may be some specific financial aid available for you. Many organizations and top universities offer financial and other aid to support talented students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access higher education at home or abroad.
You can set up a free account to use IEFA here.
Many international students simply cannot afford to study abroad with only their own income and family support. Even after securing scholarships, awards and grants there can still be a gap between the funds available and the costs.
If this is the case most international students on graduate programs or in their final 2 years of their undergraduate studies at many Canadian or American universities may be eligible for international student loans.
Loans for U.S. permanent resident students abroad are also available (and Stafford Loan funds can be used for study abroad, too). The majority of international students studying in other countries will struggle to find loans available to them.
Whether it’s advice on financial aid or support with on or off campus housing, your university has one or more departments dedicated to getting you the advice and resources you need as an international student. Your education, happiness and welfare is their number 1 priority.
You will have access to
Although the federal government doesn’t offer financial aid to those studying abroad in the USA, that doesn’t mean that there are no other funding sources. In fact, American colleges and universities are among the most generous in the world when it comes to offering international student financial aid in the form of tuition waivers or discounts as well as scholarships based on financial need, academic merit or athletic ability.
Wherever you are studying the advisors at your school or university should be your first port of call for any questions or concerns you have along your international student journey, from admissions requirements right through to job prospects and careers advice after graduation.
The cost of international education can be a difficult thing to bear for many people and their families without financial assistance. But what about international students who come from outside the United States? International financial aid is available, but it may not be presented in the same way for international students as it is for domestic students
Here are some important aspects of financial aid that international students wishing to study abroad should know about before applying – fees, how to apply and more!
Many international students are hesitant to apply to study abroad because they don’t have many financial resources and expect it to be unaffordable. However, not all expenses are born by the student – there are many financial aid options for international students including scholarships or a student loan.
In the U.S. international students may not be eligible for Federal student aid, but funding such as scholarships are available for a wide variety of fields of study. Some of them may require you to commit to certain countries or regions.
If you’re looking for a scholarship that does not restrict your study choices, there are also scholarships offered by individual states as well as federal scholarships.
Applying for financial aid as an international student depends on various factors, but most importantly the source of the funding.
If you’re applying through your school’s financial aid office, you’ll need to fill out the appropriate paperwork. This is the most common way for international students to apply.
If you’re applying directly through a federal or state agency, however, it may be necessary to go in person to their specific offices – sometimes even abroad!
And if you’re applying through a private or independent scholarship provider, you may need to apply directly through their website – there’s no standard application.
This is all part of the reason why it’s so important that international students start planning for financing early!
Before you apply, make sure you know the following:
– Whether or not your school offers scholarships specifically for international students. If not, ask if they partner with any external scholarship providers that do!
– Your total cost of attendance. This includes tuition as well as fees and more; it’s important to remember that just because tuition is cheaper doesn’t mean that it’s less expensive for international students once you factor in all of the other costs associated with attending that school.
– Any terms or conditions associated with the funding, such as maintaining a certain GPA, enrolment status or, if applicable, repayment terms.
– Any restrictions associated with the funding, such as specific majors or areas of study or even countries
While applying for financial aid can be a lot of work, and the logistics may seem frustrating, it’s important to remember that this is all part of the application process. The more you know about how much money you’re going to need, your options for getting it and the requirements associated with both funding sources and financial aid before committing to a program, the easier everything else will be.
There are many different sources of funding including:
When it comes to studying abroad, the price of tuition and other fees can add up quickly. You should also keep in mind that the cost of living in your host country could in fact be much higher compared to what you’re used to.
What can you do?
There are many ways for you to finance your study abroad program, so don’t get discouraged! Start saving early and keep track of where your money comes from throughout the entire process. This will help you keep a clear idea of what you have left to go, and how long it’s going to take you get there.
Students with undergraduate degrees can usually apply for fellowships, research grants or internships. They can also look into any available student loans, scholarships offered by their home country or even participating in the Erasmus+ program.
Graduate students may find it easier to get sponsorship or funded courses that include teaching or research.
The most important thing is to do your research to make sure you know about all the costs you can expect to encounter and all the funding possibilities out there.
Even if you’re planning to only study abroad for a short period of time, it may be possible to find a part-time job in your host country to help support yourself financially. It’ll require some planning, but having at least one source of income can make things easier.
If you’re considering working abroad then make sure that your student visa allows this.
Your school’s office of financial aid office is going to be the most up-to-date source of information on financing your study abroad experience.
If you’re an international student looking to finance your higher education, it’s important that you know about all of the various options available and what they entail. For example, if your country has a scholarship program for their citizens studying abroad then make sure to apply! Your home government might also have some programs in place that can help subsidize tuition costs or offer additional funding opportunities such as fellowships. If not, don’t worry- many schools partner with external organizations who provide scholarships specifically for international students. You should always research these before committing to a school so you’ll know which ones are worth applying for and which aren’t- especially since there is often more than one option per organization.
When you plan to study abroad, considering a European university might be a great idea for your higher education. Some European universities are amongst the best public universities in the world. You will have a huge variety of subjects to choose from. Also, some European universities have lower tuition fees and the cost of living may be lower in Europe than you may find at home. Some European universities don’t even charge tuition fees at all, and many offer scholarships to attract non-EU students.
Germany and Italy are two of the most popular countries when it comes to international students studying abroad. The UK, Spain, Poland, The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, and France are hugely popular among international students as well.
Europe has a huge variety of cultures, is rich in history, mysteries, and many more things to explore. When you study at a European university you’ll get the chance to explore beautiful places, learn languages, and experience different cultures, visiting famous and historical monuments and sculptures. It will be the journey of a lifetime.
Now, when we talk about the educational benefits there are numerous reasons to study at a European university. Europe has some of the finest colleges in the world and you can study your undergraduate degree, master’s degree or postgraduate level program. You will have the benefits of low tuition fees and living costs, and a wonderful quality of life as well. You will have a multicultural environment to study, and most colleges offer English-taught programs, too.
When we talk about Europe, influential art, architecture, history, and culture are the most common things that come up in our minds. Every country has its own specialties. You can add a world-class education to this list, too. Even some universities and colleges are famous all over the world. Tuition fees are low compared to many other countries. Some colleges don’t even charge any tuition fees at all. Countries like Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and France are famous for their educational benefits and programs.
Germany is one of the best countries to study in Europe. Whether you choose to study in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, or any other German city, there are multiple colleges available for international students. German colleges are particularly famous for their Business and Management courses. They also offer all the other undergraduate and postgraduate courses you would expect as well.
The best part is, German public colleges don’t charge any tuition fees to international students. The only exception is the Federal State of Baden-Wurttemberg. There you might have to pay a tuition fee of $3,500 a year. But otherwise, german citizens and international students can study at German universities without tuition costs.
Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with many historic cities. Italy also welcomes thousands of international students every year. If you are interested in architecture, history, art and design or social studies, Italy is probably the best country for you.
Amongst the top most popular destinations, Italy is one of the cheapest countries. You can take advantage of low living costs, low annual tuition fees, excellent teaching, and a multicultural study atmosphere. You will also get the chance to visit beautiful cities and enjoy some of the world-famous Italian cuisine.
Italian colleges are also some of the cheapest for international students. The average cost of public universities for an undergraduate course is around $1,100-$5,000 per year and the cost for a postgraduate course is around $1,800-$6,000 per year. Private universities can charge up to $24,000 per year.
Spain is also famous for its rich history, beautiful environment, warm climate, and low cost of living. Spain also has some of the most prestigious universities in all of Europe. Madrid is famous for its wonderful social life but it is a relatively expensive city, however there are many alternatives.
Of course, Spain is a popular country if you are taking Spanish Language courses. Spanish universities are also well known for many other study programmes as well, such as Law, Arts, Humanities, Finance and Marketing, and many more. Spain has beautiful cities and places to explore.
For sports fans, La Liga is one of the greatest soccer leagues in the world. You can enjoy watching it with your friends at the weekends.
The average costs of tuition at public universities for an undergraduate programs is around $900-$2,500 a year and the cost for postgraduate studies is around $1,500-$5,500. The average living expenses in Spain would come to around $12,000-$16,000 per year.
France is arguably the most visited country in the world. France has countless things to explore. Cities like Paris, Strasbourg, Lyon, and Marseille are some of the most famous cities in France. Symbols such as the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and The Cathedral of Notre Dame are some of the things that you can explore while you study in France.
French universities are world-renowned for quality education in Fashion Design, MBA, Sociology, Marketing, and Law.
The average cost of public universities for an undergraduate course is around $3,200-$5,000 a year and the cost for a postgraduate course is around $4,000-$7,000. On average costs of living in France are around $11,000-$16,000 per year.
Thousands of non-EU students, including American citizens, apply for degree courses, PhD level courses and exchange programs at Europe’s outstanding colleges and amazing universities every year. Because the average living costs and average tuition fees are low compared to back home – certain European countries are amongst the most affordable countries in the world to live and study in, making them an obvious choice for non-European students.
Foreign students are welcomed and there is a huge variety of courses available at world-class universities, making it a hugely popular study destination. There are plenty of options available for graduate and postgraduate students alike. Every country has its own advantages and specialties. Most offer English medium academic programs, so international and American students can easily understand all the classes.
Countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, Germany, and the UK are some of the most famous destinations among American students.
American students who choose to study in European countries will have the journey of their lifetime. Thousands of historical places to visit, world-famous cuisines, multiple cultures, low living costs, and many more reasons. Europe has some of the top-ranked colleges as well. All the international colleges have either partial or full English taught programs for their international students.
Doing your master’s or bachelor’s degree in a European college is probably the best step if you choose to study abroad. With great academics and a multicultural environment, your life will be completely changed for good. You just have to make sure you carefully understand all terms and costs to study in European colleges.
Don’t forget that there are many funding opportunities for you if you are studying abroad. As an American citizen you should definitely fill out the FAFSA to gain access to federal funding for your university tuition fees. There are also private international student loans and many international scholarships for students that you can apply for at www.iefa.org/scholarships.
Yes, it can be stressful when you’re planning to study abroad. There are many perfectly understandable reasons to feel stressed or anxious. Tuition fees are high, you’ve got food costs, study materials, transportation, health insurance, and lots of other expenses.
Even the currency exchange rate can be a concern.
When you don’t have enough financial means you might consider taking out a student loan. Paying back the student loan can add another layer of stress. But still millions of students can be found at international colleges every year.
Students find ways to manage their financial situation and complete their education in international colleges.
Here are some budgeting tips for students who want to study abroad:
The tuition fees are probably the most expensive thing you will face when you plan to study abroad. The yearly cost can reach up to five figures and for some private colleges it can even reach up to six figures (USD). The Financial Aid Office or Admissions Office at your college of choice will have up to date information about their tuition fees.
But tuition is not the only cost to consider, living abroad involves other expenses like transportation, phone bills, health insurance, food expenses, holiday expenses, accommodation and more. When we talk about the cost of accommodation, most colleges provide (or at least offer) dorm rooms to their international students. But you can still choose to live off campus — alone or with a group of people. The rental cost for private accommodation will depend on the location you choose to live in.
It will be cheaper if you choose to live in a dorm. You can save money because you won’t have to pay for electricity, water, and internet bills as they will be included in the cost. You can also save money because you will be living on the college campus and therefore probably won’t have additional transportation costs.
Depending on your visa status you might be allowed to have a part-time job while studying. When allowed students can typically work for up to 20 hours a week during the semester and full-time during holidays and semester breaks. This could be a useful source of income to help you with your daily expenses.
Most international colleges have a dedicated advisory office for international students. They provide students the necessary advice so they can manage their experience — including their finances. They help students with budget plans, part-time job information, and other related information. It is a good idea to get their advice before making any decisions relating to your finances.
Although they might seem like a golden opportunity, remember that paying back your international student loans can cause stress and worry for some students. Getting an International student loan should usually be your last port of call for additional funds. We suggest you first look for financial aid and scholarships from schools and other sources. If you still find a financial gap after exhausting all the other sources, this is the time when international student loans come in handy.
If you focus on your education and keep an eye on your budget, you’ll be able to enjoy completing your education at an international college. Try to avoid unnecessary expenses and focus more on savings. Here are a few examples of how you can save money: Use a bicycle to avoid transportation costs, try to cook your food at home rather than eating in a restaurant, so you can avoid food costs. Most importantly take advice from school advisors, they can assist you with your budgeting.
At the same time, look for ways to make the most of your time as a foreign student, take part in activities and explore your home away from home while you can.
According to The Canadian Bureau for International Education, 642,480 international students studied in Canada in 2019. This represents a 185% increase in international students in Canada since 2010. Canada is the 4th most popular destination for international students, behind the USA, the UK, and China.
Canada is one of the leading first-world countries known for its economic abundance and high standard of living. Because of this, their educational system gets great reviews and that’s what international students are looking for. Canadian schools are equipped with the latest equipment and with proper resources required to get the best educational experience possible.
Canada is best known for being one of the most tolerant countries when it comes to skin color and nationality. This makes it a prime destination for international students who wish to avoid the risk of encountering racism or xenophobia.
The crime rate is minimal in Canada because of its strict security and adherence to the law. Canadians are also naturally peace and law-abiding citizens, making it a great country to study in. No need to worry about distractions and potential safety hazards because its authorities are working round the clock to provide and maintain a safe and secure place conducive for studying.
96% of international students recommend Canada as a study destination, while 60% of international students say that they plan to apply for permanent residence in Canada. This is one of the top reasons why they want to get education loans for international students in the country.
In terms of student numbers, the nationalities with the largest representation of students in Canada are China (with around 22% of the market) and India (with around 34% of the market). US students represent only around 2% of all international students in Canada.
Across Canada, the province with the largest number of international students is Ontario (48% of international students) with the next most populous provinces being British Columbia (23%) and Quebec (14%).
IEFA.org can connect international students with education loan providers where they can access loans without cosigners, collateral, or credit history. These are available to students from 190+ countries pursuing degrees in any academic field.
International student loans are made available to international and DACA students studying in the USA and Canada. Undergraduate and graduate students within two years of graduating are eligible.
These loans can be used for past, current, and future semesters, and you can use the funds to pay for expenses including tuition, accommodation, food, insurance, and books.
Please note that every case is different, but here is an example for informative use only – this is not a guarantee of costs for your individual circumstances.
An international (non-US, non-Canadian) student studying a Master’s-level program borrowing $10,000 USD would expect to repay $100.54 per month during their studies and for 6 months after graduation, and then $141.62 per month thereafter.
Find out more and apply for your International Student Loan in Canada today.
If you’re a student from the United States, you could be eligible for financial support through the standard federal FAFSA program, meaning studying at a foreign university may not be as difficult to finance as you’d imagined! You might want to study abroad as part of an exchange program for a semester or an academic year, or even for your undergraduate degree or as a graduate student.
Do you have a dream of studying in the UK, France, Germany, Italy or somewhere else?
Technically the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” is the Federal Student Aid system operated by the US Department of Education.
Every year, many thousands of US students and permanent residents complete the FAFSA application forms to check their financial aid eligibility for their higher education. These could be grant programs or loans (or both). Of course the main difference between a grant and a loan is that you have to repay the loan.
Yes! Federal Student Loan funding can be used to pay for your studies at an international school!
There are roughly 750 institutions outside of the US (about 600 in Europe and the rest in other countries) that have been approved by the US Department of Education to use federal funding or to defer other study loan payments. Unfortunately federal grants (i.e. Pell Grants) through this program are not eligible for study abroad.
Whether or not foreign universities are eligible for federal loans is decided by the US Department of Education. There is an official list of recognised international schools. You can find it at studentaid.gov.
Europe is home to some of the world’s most famous and most historic universities like Oxford and Cambridge in the UK and many around the continent offering high quality education and wonderful international experience. It’s an incredibly popular destination for international students from the US and around the world. Many universities are eligible for study abroad funding. You can find out if the school you choose is eligible by looking at the US Department of Education list, or checking a site like InternationalStudentLoan – because if a school is approved for private student loans then it must be approved for federal loans. Don’t forget that you must also be attending an approved program at the school.
If the Federal Student Aid isn’t enough or you don’t qualify, maybe you can get a study abroad scholarship or student loan from a private sponsor or lender – these are some of your financial aid options. Study abroad scholarships, grants and similar awards may be available directly from schools or private institutions. Loans may be available from private lenders, but in order to be eligible for private loans, a school must be eligible for FAFSA loans first.
You should speak to the financial aid office to find out what support the school offers to their international students.
Check to see if your chosen university is approved for FAFSA, and if they aren’t ask them if they offer financial aid packages or private loans for international students or know of any lenders that do.
You should see if there are study abroad scholarships offered by your chosen school and private scholarships – you can search these at internationalscholarships.com
Find a loan:
Read Next: How to find study abroad scholarships
In this post we’re comparing studying as a foreign student in the USA with studying in Canada – if you’re interested in studying in either country then you’re in the right spot-as we will discuss some of the big advantages of studying in each.
Now let’s dive straight in!
A degree in Canada is just as good as a degree from the U.S., Australia, or the UK.
Canadian universities are doing well in international rankings and Canadian universities rate among the world’s top 50 universities.
There’s no question that a Canadian education is a world-class education, whether you’re attending a university, college, or technical school.
The most important obstacle for most students seeking to study abroad is the cost.
And while international students pay higher tuition fees at Canadian universities than domestic students, the average annual tuition for a Canadian undergraduate degree for a foreign student is considerably lower than in the United States , Australia, or the United Kingdom.
Foreign students must also find housing and support their everyday lives. The cost of living in Canada is quite affordable compared with many other top destinations for foreign students. And when you consider the average annual cost of living to be lower than other countries with also lower average annual tuition fees, Canada tends to be a really good opportunity, indeed.
It is possible to get an International Student Loan to study in Canada, too.
You can also search our database of scholarships for international students.
While Canada is a relatively affordable option globally, studying abroad is undeniably expensive.
International students in Canada are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week during school term and full time (30 hours a week) during scheduled breaks, such as holidays. Most students don’t have to get a work permit to work when studying.
Another big reason many students choose to come to Canada is personal safety. Studying abroad can be frightening, because you are leaving your family and friends – your safety net – at home. The Institute for Economics & Peace ranked Canada 8th most peaceful nation in the world. The location and relative isolation of Canada geographically provides a bit of a shield against most international disputes.
Canada has a freely elected government, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Canada guarantees the fundamental rights and freedoms of those living in Canada. Canada’s worldwide reputation is as an inclusive and non-discriminatory society. Immigrants make up 20 percent of Canada’s entire population and Canadian regulations ensure that all citizens are protected from prejudice whatever their circumstances may be.
You typically get temporary status as a foreign student in the country where you are studying. You need to get back home when you graduate.
However, contrary to other countries, Canada has a variety of programmes that enable foreign students to be moved to permanent resident status after their studies. Options like the Post-Graduation Work Permit encourage students to live and work on an unrestricted work permit after graduation, which lets them gain some Canadian work experience. Most provinces in Canada have Provincial Nominee systems for applicants with studying or working experience in the province, and the point-based immigration scheme rewards Canadian job and education experience. Approximately half of all foreign students consider applying for permanent residency in Canada after completing their studies.
Canada is one of the world’s largest economies, and students are given plenty of opportunities to work. You have the chance to communicate with stakeholders of your chosen sector and network with them. And while you study, or after graduation, you could gain valuable experience working for industry-leading Canadian companies.
Your Canadian education and improved language skills in either English or French may provide global opportunities should you want to return to your home country or move abroad.
Canadian employers seem to prefer Canadian work experience over foreign work experience, so if you do chose to live in Canada your experience could make you stand out from other applicants!
It is estimated that 48 of the top 100 universities worldwide are in the USA. Flexibility in academic fields is one of the biggest factors which distinguishes US colleges from other universities around the world.
Usually, you are not required to specify your major until after your second year of study. Most students take advantage of these two years to explore different academic goals before deciding on a major. Students are expected in most other nations to determine their field of study before even applying.
Many U.S. colleges mandate that you take general or “core” education classes.
They provide you with the opportunity to learn about a wide range of academic topics – not just your major or concentrated research area. These classes, often entitled “liberal arts”, cover many subjects from writing to sciences and philosophy.
With an internship, you will get a head start on your career – opportunities are provided by most US colleges. You will gain hands-on experience and exposure to your profession in the real world, plus the possibility of better-paid jobs after graduation because you already have some experience in the job.
Read about working in the US
Colleges in the U.S. offer a wide array of sports , clubs, societies and events outside the classroom, so whatever you are interested in – you will find it right there on campus!
Students studying in the US come from all over the world. You’ll be able to meet new people from various backgrounds every day , learn new languages, make friends and learn about other cultures – and share your own!
Most schools have a dedicated office devoted solely to assisting their international students with any needs. They can help you develop your English, or deal with visa problems, financial support, and even help you adapt to cultural differences which can be quite a big deal in a new country.
When studying in the US one important thing to remember is that it can be very costly – far more costly than many other countries in the world. Through this article you will find out more about how to finance your education in the USA:::Link::
Then you can find out whether you qualify for a loan to study in the US:
You can also search our database of scholarships for international students.
And there you have it! Lots of great reasons why you would want to study in the United States or Canada! Let us know where you want to go in the comments below!
In this video we break down all the Financial Aid Opportunities for International Students in the US.
If you’re specifically looking for a loan, then you can use the tool on our site to see if you are eligible.
If you’re looking for a scholarship, then you can search through our database on our Scholarships Page.
It’s also the most expensive. International students have to pay for tuition, room & board, transportation, books, and supplies – and students may not have all that money saved in advance.
So how can international students pay all these expenses? It’s not easy, but you can realise the dream of studying in the US with hard work and some financial aid.
The U.S. government gives international students limited financial support. But while most foreign citizens are not eligible for government student support, the U.S. Department of Education states that:
“Many non-U.S. Citizens qualify for federal student assistance. Don’t assume you can’t get help because you’re not a citizen.”
Under certain circumstances, non-citizens may be eligible for U.S. federal funding. If you are applying for an international student visa, you may be eligible for the U.S. government-funded programmes:
However, as an international student, you are most likely not eligible for US government financial aid.
But there are other alternatives that can help fund your education.
Always start looking at home. If you’re an outstanding student with great potential, your own country may be willing to send you to an American college or university to learn at some of the best institutions, and then return home to apply your newly acquired skills.
To give you some examples of these programs:
You should talk to the education department of your home country and your US embassy or consulate to see if government-funded programs are available.
Universities are often flexible in offering financial support to international students. You can usually find plenty of financial aid information on the website of your school or by talking to your Admissions Office or International Student Services Office, or the Financial Aid Office.
You can find information on budgeting, the cost of your education, and any financial support you can afford.
For their students, most colleges have either need- or merit-based financial aid packages, which can come in various forms.
Some schools have introduced a “need-blind” admissions policy, meaning you’re accepted based on your academic merits and don’t look at your financials.
It’s important to talk to your admissions office about what financial aid you ‘re eligible for. You may be aware of additional completion forms and deadlines.
Schools differ greatly in the international financial aid offered to students. If the school is well-funded, wants to diversify its student population, or has special interests in certain fields of study, it may be willing to offer a generous financial aid package to attract international students.
International students can get up to a full scholarship to participate on their school’s sport teams. If you’re a talented athlete, this could be your ticket to a US school.
There are agencies travelling the world searching for students who have excelled in their sport and will match you with a coach recruiting for their school. The coach will have the final say as to whether you get selected — and whether there is a financial package to go along with that.
Many schools are looking and have the funds to build a specific academic department. Whether you excel in math, business, or physics, there may be a scholarship for you. You’ll need to contact the Department Head to see if they’re willing to help you. These scholarships are often available in STEM fields — science , technology , engineering, and mathematics. These departments are seeking new research and expertise, so you need to show your track record and make the investment worthwhile.
A tuition waiver allows students not to pay a portion of their tuition. While not all schools grant international students a tuition waiver, a handful to do. The school will specify the requirements to be met for a waiver of tuition. It can be based on citizenship, academic performance, or part of a fellowship or grant. Do your research, look at the school’s website, and talk to your admissions counsellor or an international student advisor to find out more about eligibility.
Many organisations worldwide have created scholarships and grants to help students study abroad. But these awards can be competitive. There are thousands of scholarships and grants out there, but remember to put the time and effort into each application to increase the likelihood of winning the award. Have your application reviewed and submit as many as you can. You can search international scholarships on IEFA.org.
Working in the U.S. to supplement your financial support is difficult for international students. F-1 students may work part-time on campus if they are in good academic standing or have completed their academic programme. For OPT or CPT approval, your work must be directly related to your major. Check with your International Student Advisor if you can work during your studies.
If you pursue higher degrees, some international organisations can help you study in the U.S., including the United Nations and the World Health Organization, to name a few. Again, these scholarships are extremely competitive, but they can be amazing if you have the qualifications and skills to do so.
If you still need funds, there are international student loans that can cover your U.S. education’s total cost, including your tuition, transportation, living and food expenses. As long as you attend an accredited school, several lenders will work with international students. In most cases, you can apply online and get approval within days. Remember, international student loans allow you to borrow money, but you’ll need to pay back the money with additional borrowing costs. Check all the details and compare lenders to find the right loan.
If you’ve researched all the available funding options for you as an international student in the US, and you are still in need of additional financing, your next place to look is an international student loan.
If, like many international students, you didn’t realize that loans were even available for international students, here’s a roundup of 10 things you need to know about international student loans and how to apply for them. We will also point you in the direction of additional useful resources and the loan comparison tool which you can find here.
International Student Loans are specialized private education loans that are available for international students who are studying in the USA or Canada at approved colleges and universities. US students in the USA are able to apply for Federal student loans (provided by the US Government), but these are not available to international students.
In many cases, international students in the US have to apply with a qualified cosigner and should only apply for international student loans after exhausting all scholarships, personal funds, and other options. At select schools in the US and Canada there are loans without a cosigner available for select students to apply for.
Students who are not US citizens or non-citizen permanent residents and who are attending an eligible US college or university. Loans are also available to international students in Canada (including US students) at select universities.
In most cases in the US, borrowers are required to have a credit-worthy cosigner who is a US citizen or permanent resident. However, there are loans available at select schools that do not require a cosigner, depending on your situation as the borrower.
Students who are not US citizens or permanent residents and who are attending schools outside the US/Canada are not currently eligible for an international student loan.
Lenders only work with specific colleges and universities, and not every lender works with international students. This can make it difficult at times to find the right option for your situation.
International Student Loan has a helpful comparison tool which will show the options that are available to you depending on your circumstances – taking into account your course of study, duration of study, field of study and if you’re studying at an approved US or Canadian college or university.
There are loans for students who have a US cosigner, and loans that do not require a co-signer that are available to students in select instances.
International student loans, like all private education loans, can be used for education-related expenses.
The main categories/items that an international student loan can cover are:
The maximum amount that you are able to take out in the form of an international student loan is the total cost of your education minus any other aid (like scholarships, grants, etc) received.
The total cost of your education will vary based on your school and the program’s cost of attendance. After you apply and receive credit approval your school must certify the amount of the loan.
Most international student loan options are only for non-US citizens studying inside the United States. However, we now have loan options at a few select universities for those who want to study in Canada!
A cosigner is required for many international student loan programs, but not all. If a cosigner is required they must be a US citizen or a US permanent resident, with good credit, who has lived in the US for the past two years. Non-US citizens or non-US permanent residents cannot act as a cosigner.
Although we are not able to assist with finding a cosigner, it is common to ask close friends or family members. If you do not have a cosigner you will want to explore lenders that do not require a cosigner.
Before applying for a private student loan, you should know exactly how much you need to borrow. To do this, review the financial aid award letter sent to you by your school. Next, find a loan that meets your needs. You can use our Loan Comparison Tool to help you find a loan that suits you.
You will need to submit your application to the lender. Most international students studying in the United States are required to have a US co-signer. After you have completed your part of the student loan application, your co-signer will need to complete their part of the application.
After submission you will be sent documents relating to your loan application. Follow any instructions carefully, and ensure that you (and your cosigner) sign and return the documents in a timely manner.
When your lender has received and approved all of the documents the money is transferred directly to your school/university, and you will receive your loan proceeds from them once they have been applied to your student account.
The interest rate and repayment terms will depend on the loan option and lender you select. When selecting a lender you will need to review the terms or contact the lender directly with any specific questions. If you go with a lender that requires a cosigner the interest rate is calculated based on factors including your cosigner’s creditworthiness.
If a lender does not require a cosigner the interest and repayment rates are established in a different way. For example, with MPOWER, the interest and repayment is determined based on other factors. While they do not require a credit score, they do need to review a detailed credit report to verify payment history and good standing.
It is possible to begin the loan application process prior to being accepted to your school, however, you will need to be accepted with your student visa to finalize the loan. The first step is to find a lender; see if one is available at your college or university.
We hope you’ve found these 10 things you need to know about international student loans useful for your plans to study in the USA.
For more information check out our posts on 5 international student loan terms you need to know and Student loan repayment explained.
If you are already, or are going to be an international student in the US, it will be required of you to have a cosigner while applying for a loan.
If you do require a cosigner, the cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident, and they must have lived in the US for more than 2 years. They should likewise have good credit history. Non-US natives and non-US permanent residents are not allowed to be a cosigner for international student loans.
Despite of the fact that most international student loan applications require a cosigner, students attending a growing number of schools and colleges in the US and Canada can apply for a loan without one.
If you do not have a cosigner, there is guidance on how to find one in the International Student Loan Resources, but looking for a “no cosigner loan” could be the best choice for you.
Since most international students in the US don’t have any financial history there, a cosigner joins the loan application process. Approval for the loan and the interest rate applicable are then based upon the perceived reliability of the cosigner.
The cosigner is lawfully bound to repay the loan if the borrower does not make the payments.
Don’t have a cosigner? If research doesn’t help you find one, see if a loan that doesn’t require a cosigner is available for you.
With loans that do not require a cosigner, rather than using the applicant’s credit history, lenders assess your education and career path, in addition to other factors when making a decision on approval for a loan. These might include your nation of origin, graduation date, and what school you are attending.
The majority of student loans available for international students are solely for non-US natives who will be in the United States. However, a new option helps students apply for loans at a number of colleges in Canada as well!
International Students in Canada may now apply for an international student loan without a cosigner!
International Student Loan has partnered with a lender that can offer loans to students from over 190 countries, including the US, who are attending select schools in Canada. Up to this point it has been hard for international students to finance university education in Canada, but thanks to our partner lenders and International Student Loan, there are now various schools in Canada where no-cosigner loans are available.
International students at eligible schools can apply for a loan to fund the expense of your education including the cost of tuition, lodging, sustenance, insurance, and supplies. As referenced previously, with this sort of loan, rather than focusing on your or your cosigner’s financial record, the loan specialists take into account different factors.
For example, your education and future career, your nation of origin, your expected graduation date and what school you will be studying at will be considered. Students who are not US natives or permanent residents, and who are going to schools outside the US/Canada are not presently qualified for international student loans.
Students who are not US natives or permanent residents, and who are going to schools outside the US/Canada are not presently qualified for international student loans.
International students should use the loan comparison tool to see whether they can apply for a loan without a cosigner and if their chosen school is available. Provided that this is the case, they should then be able to review the terms and conditions of the credit agreement and apply online.
While inquiring about a no-cosigner loan, here are a couple of things you should consider:
When your application has been assessed you will get further information about your loan and the terms and conditions. These will cover the financing cost and the total amount you can obtain. These will differ by loan specialist and depend on your circumstances.
No-cosigner advances through our partner have a fixed rate of interest and enable you to access up to $50,000 in a 2 year period. You should state the amount you might want to borrow on your application.
Once approved for the loan, the funds are disbursed directly to your school or college.
The whole process takes around about a month and a half, so you should plan ahead and ensure that you make your application in time.
To check whether there are no-cosigner loans at your school, start with the loan comparison tool.
Find out more about International Student Loans.