Finance for studying abroad: What you need to know

January 3rd, 2024 by IEFA

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience, opening up countless opportunities for personal growth, academic enrichment and cultural immersion. However, financing this adventure can sometimes seem like a daunting task. But have no fear! In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to make your study abroad dreams a reality. From understanding federal and private student loans to exploring alternative funding options, we’re here to help you navigate the world of finance for studying abroad and make informed decisions every step of the way.

Key takeaways

  • Understand federal and private student loans to finance your study abroad experience.
  • Research top lenders, explore scholarships/grants and utilize university financial aid.
  • Prepare for the loan application process, disbursement and repayment.

Understanding federal and private student loans for studying abroad

Federal and private student loans have benefits and limitations, and understanding these distinctions can help you make informed decisions about which loan options best suit your needs. In general, federal loans tend to offer more favorable terms, such as fixed interest rates and more flexible repayment options. On the other hand, private loans can provide additional funding beyond what’s available through federal aid and may come with higher interest rates and stricter repayment terms.

Let’s delve deeper into each of these loan categories and explore their unique features and benefits.

Federal student loans

Federal student loans are an excellent resource for eligible U.S. citizens. They are available through your university’s financial aid office and are need-based, meaning they are awarded based on your financial situation. One of the main advantages of federal loans is their fixed interest rates which are more predictable and stable compared to variable rates offered by many private lenders.

To apply for federal student aid, start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your FAFSA form will determine your eligibility for various federal student aid programs, including subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

Keep in mind, federal student loans may not cover all your education expenses while studying abroad. The maximum loan amount you can receive will depend on many factors including your financial need and the cost of attendance at your chosen foreign university. Your loan amount may also might include your status as a dependent or independent student. 

Exhausting your federal aid options before seeking out private loans can save you money on interest and fees in the long run. It may even open up possibilities for loan forgiveness programs if you plan to pursue a career in public service.

One important factor to consider is that federal student loans are not available for international students (non-U.S. citizens) studying in the U.S.

Private student loans

Private student loans can be an excellent supplement to federal aid when studying abroad, especially if you’ve already maximized your federal borrowing limits or do not qualify for federal loans. Unlike federal loans, private loans are offered by banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. Their approval is often based on your credit history or other factors depending on the lender. This means you may need a cosigner with good credit to help secure a private loan if you don’t have a sufficient credit history yourself. Loans that do not require a cosigner are also available from some lenders – find out if you are eligible for a loan without a cosigner with our loan comparison tool.

Private student loans can potentially bridge the gap between federal aid and your total education expenses, but it’s important to be mindful of some factors. Private loans may have higher interest rates than federal loans. They may also have less flexible repayment terms. Additionally, private loans typically do not offer the same loan forgiveness programs available for federal loans. Therefore, it’s essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons of private loans and consider them as financial aid options.

Top lenders for study abroad loans

 The top lenders for private study abroad loans are:

  • MPOWER Financing.
  • College Ave.
  • Sallie Mae.
  • Ascent.
  • Discover.

Each lender offers different terms and conditions, so it’s essential to carefully review and compare their offerings.

For example, College Ave is known for its flexible repayment terms, ranging from five to 15 years. It also has a quick online application process that takes less than five minutes to complete. MPOWER Financing offers loans specifically designed for international students studying in the U.S. without a cosigner, making it an attractive option for many.

Our loan search tool takes the research time out of your search – see what lenters you’re eligible to apply for in less than 10 seconds. 

Financing your study abroad experience without loans

Although student loans serve as a valuable resource for funding your study abroad adventure, there are other options. Scholarships, grants and university financial aid are all excellent avenues to consider. By tapping into these resources, you may be able to significantly lower your education expenses and minimize the amount of debt you need to take on.

Scholarships and grants

Scholarships and grants are a fantastic way to finance your study abroad experience without relying solely on loans. There are need-based, merit-based or diversity-based awards, depending on the specific scholarship or grant. Some scholarships are awarded based on academic achievements, while others may be geared toward students with specific interests, backgrounds or fields of study.

To find and apply for scholarships and grants, research opportunities through your university, as well as external organizations and websites such as IEFA.org. IEFA offers a comprehensive list of study abroad scholarships for students from various backgrounds and fields of study. Keep in mind that scholarship applications often require a significant amount of time and effort, so be prepared to invest your energy in crafting a standout application that highlights your unique strengths and qualities.

University financial aid

Your university’s financial aid office can be an invaluable resource. In addition to providing guidance on the various types of aid, it can assist you with the application process. 

Your university’s financial aid office may also offer additional resources, such as financial planning tools and budgeting advice, to help you manage your education expenses while studying abroad. 

Navigating the study abroad loan application process

It’s essential to take proactive steps to ensure a smooth and successful loan application experience. That includes preparation and understanding eligibility requirements. In the following sections, we’ll provide you with practical tips and insights on how to prepare for the study abroad loan application process, including advice on cosigner requirements and what to expect throughout the application journey.

Preparing for the application

Prior to embarking on the loan application process, it’s important to establish a solid foundation for a successful application. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Maintain good academic standing, as this can demonstrate to lenders that you’re a reliable borrower.
  2. Take the time to research your study abroad program, considering factors such as location, length and program type.
  3. Understand the costs associated with your chosen program to inform your financial planning.

Another critical step in preparing for your study abroad loan application is reaching out to your university’s financial aid office. Financial aid officers can provide valuable guidance on the types of loans available, as well as assist you in navigating the application process. 

Cosigner requirements

Cosigner requirements for study abroad loans can vary, but in general, having a U.S. cosigner with a good credit history can significantly improve your chances of loan approval and securing better loan terms. A cosigner is typically a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who agrees to take on the responsibility of repaying your loan if you are unable to do so.

Without sufficient credit history yourself, it’s important to engage a potential cosigner well before your loan application deadline. This allows ample time for them to review their financial situation and consider whether they’re willing and able to support you in this capacity.

If you’re looking for a lender use our loan search tool to quickly find one! 

Managing repayment after studying abroad

After successfully securing funding, maintaining your loan repayment obligations becomes paramount. Managing repayment after studying abroad involves:

  • Understanding the repayment plans available to you.
  • Exploring loan forgiveness programs if applicable.
  • Ensuring you stay on top of your payments to avoid falling behind on your loans.

The upcoming sections will address different repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs.  

Repayment plans

Repayment plans for study abroad loans will depend on the specific loan you’ve chosen, whether it’s a federal or private loan. Options for repayment may include:

  • Standard repayment: This is the basic type of loan repayment where you pay a fixed amount every month for a set period, usually 10 years. It’s straightforward but may require higher monthly payments.
  • Extended repayment: This plan stretches your loan repayment over a longer period, typically up to 25 years. This means smaller monthly payments, but you end up paying more in interest over time.
  • Graduated repayment: With this plan, your payments start low and increase over time, usually every two years. It’s designed for people who expect their income to grow in the future.
  • Income-driven repayment: This is a flexible plan where your monthly payments are based on your income. If your income is low, your payments could be very small.
  • Pay-as-you-earn repayment: This is a type of income-driven repayment where your monthly payments are generally a set percentage of your discretionary income.

Each option offers its unique advantages and disadvantages.

For example, standard repayment involves fixed monthly payments over a period of 10 years, providing predictability and stability in your repayment schedule. On the other hand, income-driven repayment plans allow you to make payments based on your income, ensuring that your monthly payments remain manageable even if your financial situation changes.

Loan forgiveness programs

Loan forgiveness programs can provide relief from student loan debt for borrowers who work in specific fields or meet certain eligibility criteria. These programs typically require that you work in a qualifying field, such as nursing or teaching, and often involve work done in underserved areas or with populations in need.

Examples of loan forgiveness programs include Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Forgiveness, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF). By researching and understanding the eligibility requirements for these programs, you may be able to secure partial or full forgiveness of your study abroad loans, reducing your overall debt burden.

Tips for choosing the right study abroad program

Choosing the ideal study abroad program requires consideration of several factors, including location, program length and the type of program that aligns best with your academic and personal aspirations. In addition to these considerations, it’s essential to understand the financial implications of your chosen program. Factors like tuition fees, living expenses and available scholarships can all play a role in determining the overall cost of your study abroad experience.

Some of the most sought-after study abroad destinations offer excellent quality of life, but may come with a higher cost of living. Researching and comparing different study abroad programs can help international students find the best fit for their preferences and budget.

Summary

Studying abroad can be an incredible, life-changing experience. Understanding the various financing options available to you will help you move toward your goals without being overwhelmed financially.

Remember to thoroughly research and compare loan options, seek guidance from your university’s financial aid office and explore alternative funding opportunities to minimize your reliance on loans. With the right preparation and commitment, you can make your study abroad dreams a reality and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do people afford to study abroad?

You can make studying abroad affordable by applying for scholarships and grants and getting help from your financial aid office. Scholarships and grants can help you cover tuition fees, travel expenses and even living costs. Even small, niche scholarships can make a difference in funding your education abroad. 

How does studying abroad help you financially?

Studying abroad can give you a unique set of skills and experiences that might give you an edge in the job market.

Can I get student loans for study abroad?Yes, you can definitely get student loans for studying abroad! Don’t let lack of financing stand in the way of this incredible opportunity – explore your options today by finding and comparing loans!

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Finding financial aid: Your guide to scholarships, grants and student loans for international students

October 26th, 2023 by IEFA

Studying abroad offers countless opportunities for personal and professional growth, but financial constraints can hold many students back. Fear not, future global citizens! In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the world of finding financial aid for international students, exploring scholarships, grants and student loans to make your dream of studying abroad a reality. 

Understanding financial aid options

Four primary options exist for college students seeking financial assistance to study in the U.S.:

  • Scholarships.
  • Grants.
  • Federal student loans.
  • Private student loans. 

Bear in mind that federal student loans are not available for international students, but don’t worry – there are still plenty of resources at your disposal.

What students need to know about each resource in a nutshell: 

  • Scholarships are typically awarded based on academic merit or financial need and are not paid back. 
  • Grants are typically based on need and do not need to be repaid. 
  • Federal student loans are available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents and need to be repaid. 

Let’s dive deeper into each option. 

Scholarships

Scholarships are like the golden ticket of financial aid. They’re merit-based or need-based awards that don’t require repayment. With thousands of scholarships available globally, your chances of finding the perfect fit are quite promising. IEFA (International Education Financial Aid) is a free online resource that can serve as your faithful companion in the quest for scholarships. By creating a profile on IEFA, you can discover a plethora of scholarship opportunities, ensuring you don’t miss out on any potential financial support.

Not only does IEFA simplify the scholarship search process, but it also provides access to information on international student loan options. So whether you’re a high school student looking to fund your undergraduate studies or a graduate student seeking assistance for your master’s or doctoral program, IEFA has got you covered.

Grants

Grants are need-based forms of financial assistance that don’t need to be repaid as long as the grant’s requirements are met. While eligibility requirements for grants vary depending on the provider, they’re generally awarded based on financial need, academic merit or a combination of both. The application process may involve filling out forms, submitting documentation such as transcripts and financial statements and providing letters of recommendation.

Keep in mind that grants are usually awarded on a one-time basis and may not be renewable. Additionally, grants often come with specific stipulations, like maintaining a certain GPA or completing a set number of community service hours. However, the extra effort required to secure a grant can be well worth it, as they can significantly reduce your financial burden.

Federal student loans (not available for international students)

Federal student loans are government-funded loans that offer favorable terms, such as fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans. However, these loans are not available to international students, as they’re reserved for U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens.

Don’t be disheartened! There are alternative options available for international students, which we’ll explore in the next section.

Private student loans

Private student loans are offered by banks and other financial institutions with terms and interest rates that can vary significantly. These loans are designed to bridge the gap between the cost of education and the financial aid received from scholarships, grants and federal loans.

For international students, obtaining a private student loan often requires a U.S. cosigner with a good credit history. This cosigner acts as a guarantor, taking on the responsibility of repaying the loan in case the borrower fails to do so.

Fortunately, there are private loans that do not require a cosigner or collateral. You can check your eligibility for a no-cosigner and no-collateral loan using our international student loan eligibility checker

Work-study

Your school might allow you to work part time right on campus to supplement your income. This can be a great way to earn some money to help pay for school expenses. Plus, you’ll get real work experience at the same time. To find out if your school offers this, check out their official website or speak to the financial aid office. Remember to make sure your visa allows you to work.

Can an international student get financial aid?

While international students aren’t eligible for federal financial aid, there are other types of financial aid available. To secure the best possible financial aid package, it’s essential to start researching early, use online resources and consult your school’s financial aid office.

Research financial aid options early

Starting your financial aid research early can provide you with a competitive edge in the race for funds. By familiarizing yourself with the various financial aid options well in advance, you can ensure you don’t miss any deadlines and give yourself ample time to gather the necessary documentation.

Early research also allows you to identify and apply for a wider range of college scholarships and grants, increasing your chances of securing the funds needed to attend your dream graduate school.

Use online financial aid resources

In the digital age, a world of financial aid opportunities and free visa support letters is just a few clicks away. Online resources like Fastweb and eduPASS can help you discover scholarships and grants specifically tailored to international students. These platforms allow you to search for financial aid based on factors such as nationality, field of study and level of education.

Consult your school’s financial aid office

Your school’s financial aid office can be an invaluable resource in your quest for financial assistance. These offices can provide detailed information about the various types of financial aid available at your school, as well as guidance on the application process and eligibility requirements.

Additionally, they can inform you about any school-specific scholarships or grants that may be available to you. 

Maximizing financial aid awards

Now that we’ve explored the various financial aid options available to international students, it’s time to discuss strategies for maximizing your awards. In this section, we’ll cover tips for comparing financial aid offers, participating in work-study programs and budgeting wisely to ensure you make the most of your financial aid package.

When comparing financial aid offers, it’s important to consider the total cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, room and board and other expenses. Additionally, you should look at the types of aid offered, such as grants.

Compare financial aid offers

When you receive financial aid offers from different schools, it’s important to carefully compare them to make an informed decision. 

As you compare, assess the:

  • Total cost of attendance.
  • Amount of financial aid offered.
  • Specific terms of each loan, such as:
    • Interest rates.
    • Grace periods.
    • Repayment plans.

By taking the time to thoroughly evaluate each offer, you can make a judicious decision that best suits your financial needs and long-term goals.

Consider work-study programs

Work-study programs offer a unique opportunity for college students to earn money for their education while gaining valuable work experience. These programs, often offered by universities and colleges, provide part-time jobs on or off campus that can help cover various college expenses.

By participating in a work-study program, graduate students can not only reduce their reliance on student loans, but also enhance their resume and develop essential skills for their future career.

Use budgeting and saving tips

Effective budgeting and money-saving practices can significantly impact your financial well-being during your international education journey. Start by creating a realistic budget that accounts for essential expenses, such as tuition, housing, transportation and groceries. Look for ways to cut costs, such as utilizing student discounts, buying used textbooks and cooking meals at home instead of dining out.

In addition to budgeting, it’s important to develop good saving habits. Set aside a portion of your income from part-time work or work-study programs for emergencies and unexpected expenses. By maintaining a healthy balance between spending and saving, you can minimize your reliance on student loans and set yourself up for financial success in the future.

Summary

Securing financial aid as an international student may seem like a daunting task, but with the right resources and strategies, it’s possible to overcome financial barriers and make your dream of studying abroad a reality. Resources include: scholarships, grants, private student loans and work-study programs. Remember to start your research early, compare financial aid offers and practice sound budgeting and saving strategies to maximize your financial aid awards. Now, go forth and conquer the world of financial aid – your international education adventure awaits!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I figure out my financial aid?

Figuring out your financial aid is a multistep process. First, start by reviewing the college’s cost of attendance and understanding your expected family contribution. Then, check your award letter to understand how much money you are receiving from the college, the state and the federal government in the form of grants, scholarships and/or loans.

Finally, research other sources of financial aid such as scholarships and grants to help fund your education.

What are the four types of financial aid?

Financial aid for college or career school can be divided into four main categories: scholarships, grants, loans and work-study. These are all important sources of funding that students should consider when planning their education and finances.

Scholarships are not repaid and are typically awarded based on academic merit or other criteria, such as community service or leadership. Grants are typically based on need and generally are not repaid. Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid, and work-study allows you the opportunity to earn an income to help pay for expenses. 

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Engineering Scholarships for College Students

August 3rd, 2023 by IEFA

Imagine a world where financial barriers don’t stand in the way of pursuing an engineering degree. Sounds fantastic, right? Well, engineering scholarships can help make that goal a reality. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of scholarships available for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a variety of engineering fields, along with tips for applying and alternative funding options.

Table of Contents

  1. Engineering Scholarships Overview
  2. Top Engineering Scholarships for Undergraduate Students
  3. Top Engineering Scholarships for Graduate Students
  4. Specialized Engineering Scholarships
  5. Tips for Applying to Engineering Scholarships
  6. Alternative Funding Options
  7. FAQ

Engineering Scholarships Overview

Engineering scholarships open up a world of possibilities for students who are passionate about pursuing a career in this field. With a vast array of scholarships available to undergraduate and graduate students, there’s never been a better time to pursue your engineering degree. From mechanical and civil engineering to aerospace and nuclear engineering, the opportunities are endless.

Types of Engineering Scholarships

Engineering scholarships come in various forms, such as merit-based, need-based and demographic-specific scholarships.

Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on academic performance, such as grades or test scores. Need-based scholarships, on the other hand, are awarded based on your financial need and can be a great way to help fund your college education.Finally, demographic-specific scholarships, such as those tailored to women and minority students, can make college more accessible.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility criteria for securing an engineering scholarship typically include factors such as academic performance, background, location, extracurricular activities, financial need, leadership, potential for professional success and responses to essay questions.

Top Engineering Scholarships for Undergraduate Students

Top undergraduate scholarships are available for mechanical and civil engineering students, with varying award amounts and application requirements.

Mechanical Engineering Scholarships

Mechanical engineering scholarships cater to students who are studying in this specific field of engineering and may be aimed at students who have displayed academic achievement, financial need or the potential to contribute significantly to the field.

There are various types of mechanical engineering scholarships available, including:

  • General engineering scholarships.
  • Scholarships for specific mechanical engineering fields.
  • Scholarships for high academic achievements.
  • Scholarships funded by alumni and corporate sponsors.

Here’s an example of a merit-based award: the Engineering Excellence Scholarship (Overseas Students).

Civil Engineering Scholarships

Civil engineering scholarships often require applicants to be members of professional organizations, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Eligibility criteria for civil engineering scholarships may include enrollment in an accredited civil engineering program, a minimum GPA and a demonstration of financial need.

If you’re a budding civil engineer with the drive to make a difference, scholarships like the Yang Civil Engineering Scholarship could be the key to unlocking your potential.

See all American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Scholarships.

Top Engineering Scholarships for Graduate Students

Top graduate engineering scholarships for aerospace and nuclear engineering students include the NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Program and American Nuclear Society scholarships.

Aerospace Engineering Scholarships

To be eligible for aerospace engineering scholarships, applicants are often required to have a minimum GPA or be members of aerospace-related professional organizations. Like many other scholarships, applicants may also be required to write an essay outlining their career goals or about an engineering-related topic.

Examples of aerospace engineering awards include the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) scholarships, which provide financial assistance as well as access to a network of professionals in the aerospace industry to help build relationships and further your career.

Nuclear Engineering Scholarships

To be eligible for a nuclear engineering scholarship, applicants must be enrolled in a nuclear science or nuclear engineering degree program and have completed at least two years of the program. So, if you’re passionate about harnessing the power of the atom, scholarships like the American Nuclear Society Scholarship can provide the financial support you need to fuel your educational journey.

Specialized Engineering Scholarships

Beyond the realm of general engineering scholarships, specialized engineering scholarships cater to unique demographics and interests. Women, minority students and those passionate about green engineering technology can all find scholarships tailored to their specific needs.

With varying award amounts and eligibility criteria, these scholarships can help pave the way for a more diverse and sustainable engineering landscape.

Scholarships for Women in Engineering

Scholarships for women in engineering aim to empower more women to pursue careers in engineering. These scholarships often require membership in professional organizations, such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) or the Association for Women in Science (AWIS).

Examples of scholarships for women in engineering include the MPOWER Financing Women In STEM Scholarship, Amelia Earhart Fellowship, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarships and the Women in Aviation Engineering Scholarships. These awards provide financial assistance and also connect you with a network of like-minded women in engineering, fostering a supportive community to help you thrive in your career.

Scholarships for Minority Engineering Students

Minority engineering scholarships endeavor to increase diversity in the engineering field by providing financial support to underrepresented students. These scholarships often have specific eligibility criteria based on ethnicity or nationality.

Examples of scholarships for minority engineering students include the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) scholarships, the Hispanic College Fund scholarship and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) scholarships. Not only do these scholarships provide financial aid, they also connect you with a community of professionals and students who share your background. This supportive network will help you excel in your engineering career.

Green Engineering Scholarships

For students committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly engineering practices, green engineering scholarships offer a fantastic opportunity to further their education while making a positive impact on the planet. These scholarships have varying award amounts and eligibility criteria, ensuring that there’s a strong fit for every eco-conscious engineering student.

Examples of green engineering scholarships include the Udall Scholarship and the Environmental Engineering and Science Foundation Scholarships

Tips for Applying to Engineering Scholarships

Navigating the world of engineering scholarships can be overwhelming, but with a few tips and tricks up your sleeve you can maximize your chances of success.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss how to research scholarship opportunities. This includes understanding the different types of scholarships available, researching organizations that offer them and learning what criteria they use to evaluate applicants.

Preparing a strong application is also key to success. This includes writing a compelling essay, gathering letters of recommendation and submitting all required documents.

Researching Scholarship Opportunities

Uncovering the perfect scholarship opportunity is a matter of diligent research. To find scholarships that fit your specific criteria, use online search engines like:

Additionally, don’t forget to reach out to your college’s financial aid office for more information and guidance.

When researching scholarship opportunities, pay close attention to eligibility criteria and application deadlines. This way, you can focus your efforts on the scholarships that best align with your background, interests and goals to increase your chances of success.

Preparing a Strong Application

When it comes to scholarship applications, first impressions matter. Here’s how to create a compelling application:

  • Gather all required documents – Find all of the scholarship documentation you’ll need,  including transcripts, resumes and letters of recommendation. 
  • Craft engaging essays – When writing your essays you’ll want to showcase your unique personality, service and volunteer work, and special talents or skills.
  • Proofread your application – Take the time to proofread your application and double-check all submission requirements to ensure you’ve put your best foot forward. 

Remember, persistence is key when applying for scholarships. Don’t be discouraged if you are not granted a scholarship on your first try – keep refining your application and applying to as many scholarships as possible. With determination and a strong application, you’ll be well on your way.

Here’s more on how to write a scholarship application.

Alternative Funding Options for Engineering Students

While scholarships are an incredible resource for engineering students, they’re not the only financial support option available. In this section, we’ll explore alternative funding options, such as employer sponsorship, grants and fellowships, employment and international student loans.

Employer Sponsorship

Employer sponsorship can be a game-changer for engineering students looking to further their education without breaking the bank. Companies may offer to cover partial or full tuition costs in exchange for a commitment to work for the company after graduation. If companies offer tuition reimbursement programs, it would allow you to pay for your tuition and fees with pre-tax dollars. 

To take advantage of employer sponsorship, reach out to your company’s human resources department to discuss available opportunities. Keep in mind that some companies may require you to maintain a minimum GPA or complete your degree within a specific timeframe. By partnering with your employer, you can achieve your educational goals while also securing your future career.

Grants and Fellowships

Grants and fellowships offer a valuable financial lifeline for engineering students pursuing graduate degrees. Often awarded based on academic achievement, research potential or teaching abilities, these awards can help you cover the cost of your graduate education without taking on additional debt.

Some examples of grants and fellowships available for engineering students include the Margaret McNamara Education Grants, the Fulbright Program for Non-US Students, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. By exploring these options, you can secure additional financial support and focus on achieving your engineering dreams.

Employment

Getting a job could be a viable option to help cover your college or university costs. However, before you start looking for work, make sure you check the terms of your visa. Depending on your visa type, there may be restrictions on working while studying. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that your school permits international students to work.

Once you’ve determined your work eligibility, start exploring your options. Whether it’s a part-time job on campus or an internship in your field of study, employment could help ease your financial burden while providing valuable work experience. With the right approach and a bit of effort, you’ll be able to enjoy the perks of working while studying.

International Student Loans

For students studying abroad, international student loans can provide a much-needed financial boost. These loans are typically offered by private lenders and have varying interest rates and repayment terms.

To secure an international student loan, research private lenders who offer loans specifically designed for international students. Keep in mind that some loans may require a U.S. cosigner or other eligibility criteria, such as enrollment in an accredited program. By considering all available funding options, you can confidently pursue your engineering degree, wherever your studies may take you.

Wrap up

Engineering scholarships and alternative funding options can make the seemingly impossible dream of pursuing an engineering degree a reality. From undergraduate and graduate scholarships to specialized awards for women, minority students and green engineering enthusiasts, the possibilities are endless. With diligent research, a strong application, and a little persistence, you can secure the financial support you need to fuel your engineering dreams and make a lasting impact on the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get a NASA scholarship?

To get a NASA scholarship, you must demonstrate strong academic performance and aptitude in STEM fields, a related science degree as well as financial need and involvement in school or community activities. Additionally, those from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply.

What is the hardest type of scholarship to get?

Securing an athletic scholarship can be incredibly competitive and requires dedication, skill and hard work. It can be one of the most challenging scholarships to obtain, but also one of the most rewarding.

Athletes who are successful in obtaining an athletic scholarship have put in the time and effort to make themselves stand out from the competition. They have worked hard to hone and demonstrate their skills.

What types of engineering scholarships are available?

If you’re an engineering student, you have access to a range of scholarship opportunities! These include merit-based, need-based and demographic-specific scholarships for women or minority students.

Take advantage of these resources to invest in your future career success.

How can I find the best scholarship opportunities for me?

Start your search early and be proactive. Use online resources such as IEFA and get in touch with your college’s financial aid office – they will provide you with great advice and scholarship opportunities that are tailored to you!

With some research and effort, you’ll be able to find the best scholarship opportunities for yourself.

What are some tips for preparing a strong scholarship application?

Begin your application process early, research the scholarship thoroughly and compose strong essays that accurately convey who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Be sure to stay organized, and make sure you follow any instructions precisely. Additionally, be sure to communicate your background and accomplishments in a compelling and concise way.

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Building a Global Network: Top Networking Strategies for International Students to Forge Lasting Connections

July 7th, 2023 by IEFA

Strong networking connections can open up incredible opportunities for international students for internships, future jobs  and academic advancement.

Making these connections can be more challenging than it seems as you navigate an unfamiliar environment in a new country. 

From language barriers to unfamiliar faces, creating meaningful connections can seem overwhelming, but with some insider tips and proven strategies, it’s possible! 

Let’s explore some of the top networking strategies for international students.

The Importance of Networking for International Students

First, let’s take a look at why it is so important for international students to build long-lasting networks:

1. Access to jobs and internships

Building strong networks can help you discover job and internship opportunities you might not find otherwise.

Your new connections can share insider info, give you referrals, and help you better understand different industries.

2. Cultural exchange and understanding

Connecting with people from diverse backgrounds helps you gain insight into different  traditions, perspectives and cultures. In addition, if you get a job in a different country – having a network of friends who are familiar with the local customs and culture can help you feel more at ease in your new home.

3. Personal and professional development

Interacting with a variety of individuals allows you to learn from their experiences, pick up new skills, and expand your knowledge in your field of study.

Plus, these connections can lead to collaborations and partnerships that can further enhance your career prospects.

4. Mentorship and career guidance

Connecting with experienced professionals in your field can lead to valuable mentorships.  Mentors can offer personalized advice and guidance, help you navigate your academic and professional journey more effectively, and open doors to new opportunities.

5. Support system

Building a network of supportive people can ease your transition to your new school in a new country. 

6. Long-lasting friendships

Networking can lead to lifelong friendships. As you get to know each other more, connect over shared interests or hobbies, and support each other’s endeavors – these relationships help you professionally and add value to your personal life.

Top 10 Ways to Network as an International Student

Now that you understand the importance of networking, let’s look at 10 key strategies you can use to build meaningful and lasting connections:

1. Prepare yourself

Don’t just jump into a conversation with someone randomly. Take some time to prepare yourself – think about what you want to talk about and practice your conversation skills.

If you are planning to join a club or organization, it’s even more important to be well-prepared.

Plan ahead of time and try to have a few conversation starters ready. You can also write an outline of what you are going to talk about and do some research to familiarize yourself with the group or organization.

If you take your time to plan and practice, you will be able to make a positive impression.

2. Develop a personal story

It’s always a good idea to have a story you can share with the people you meet. This helps you stand out and makes it easier to start a conversation.

For example, if you are at an event for international students, try to focus on talking about your experiences in the country. You could share why you chose to study abroad and how that experience impacted your life.

3. Join clubs, organizations and events

Joining a club or other organization is a great way to meet like-minded people with similar interests. When you find yourself surrounded by people with similar backgrounds, passions, and goals, it’s easier to build relationships.

Find out what clubs, career fairs, or organizations your school has to offer and join the ones related to your field of study. Almost every university or college has some kind of club that caters to international students.

Also attend local events related to your field. This will help you make new connections and is a great way to spend your free time and explore the city.

4. Use social media to your advantage

Social media is great for networking and connecting with people from all over the world. Start by joining and interacting with online professional groups related to your field or interests. You’ll have opportunities to showcase your technical and professional skills through these conversations.

LinkedIn is a popular professional and business networking platform that allows you to create meaningful connections and build relationships with professionals around the world.

Comment on posts, ask questions and share your own experiences – all of these things can help you make connections and build relationships.

5. Be ready to ask and answer questions 

Asking questions helps you get to know a person better, and it shows you value them and are interested in what they have to say.

At the same time, be prepared to answer questions about yourself so you can share your experiences and talk about why you chose to study abroad.

By getting to know each other better, you are one step closer to forming a lasting connection. 

6. Learn to listen to others

Listening is an art.  It takes practice. Active listening means paying attention to what the other person is saying, asking thoughtful questions and reflecting back on your understanding of their words.

This will help you form stronger relationships and strengthen your own communication skills.

7. Follow up after your conversation

Once the conversation is over, follow up with a message or an email. This is an excellent way to show you value the connection and are interested in continuing it in the future.

8. Research

Take time to research professors, other students or employers. You’ll gain deeper insight into their background and interests, which can then help make the conversation more meaningful.

Start by using social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to research their profiles.

By taking the initiative to learn more about people, you will make a better impression and form stronger relationships with the people you meet while studying abroad.

9. Be patient

Don’t expect overnight results. Building meaningful relationships requires effort, and it’s important to give them time to grow and develop.

With patience and perseverance, you can create meaningful connections with people from all over the world.

10. Keep it going 

Lastly, stay in touch with your network. Whether through a quick email or message once in a while, staying connected can help keep the relationships alive and growing.

At the same time, keep looking for ways to connect and build new relationships – whether by attending networking events or joining online groups related to your field of study.

By continually looking for new networking opportunities, you will be able to form more meaningful connections and build a strong network that can benefit you in the long run.

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The Benefits of Studying in the U.S.

May 29th, 2023 by IEFA

Thousands of international students are drawn to the United States every year because of its educational opportunities.

American universities offer a wealth of resources and opportunities for students to learn, grow, and gain valuable experience.

Let’s find out what makes America different from other countries and what advantages it offers international students.

What are the Benefits of Studying in America?

Top Educational Institutions

Studying in the U.S. means access to some of the best universities in the world. U.S. universities are known for their high academic standards, top-notch research facilities, and modern technology. Some of the top universities in the world, including Harvard University and Stanford University, to name just two, are located in the U.S. 

Vibrant Campus life

Thanks to the diverse student community, international students can enjoy a vibrant social life while studying in the U.S. Campuses are full of activities and events to suit different interests. From career fairs to student groups to sports teams, there’s something for everyone. You won’t feel like an outsider and will have plenty of opportunities to meet other people from around the world.

Interesting Student Lifestyle

Studying in the U.S. is not just about academics, it’s also about developing your own personal and professional skills. You will meet other students who hail from different communities, countries, and backgrounds. You can use this opportunity to learn more about the world, understand different cultures, and develop friendships with other students from around the globe. Your fellow students can be a valuable resource for networking and support.

Networking Opportunities

Networking is key if you want to fulfill your personal and professional goals. You can join student groups, participate in career fairs, and attend seminars or conferences to meet people who may help you in your future endeavors.

If you take these opportunities you may be able to meet different employers, CEOs, and other influential people who can help you build a successful career.

World-Class Faculty

U.S. universities offer a wide range of courses and programs taught by faculty members who are experts in their fields. Whether you are studying engineering, medicine, or business, you will be learning from some of the best minds in the world. You will have access to extracurricular activities, internships, English language skills, and other experiential learning opportunities that can help you further develop your skills.

Access to Hands-On Experiences

You can take advantage of hands-on research opportunities, cultural trips, and more. You could also gain access to some of the most prestigious companies in the world for internship opportunities. This is invaluable when it comes to getting your first job after completing your studies as an international student.

Access to Scholarships and Financial Aid

Yes, it’s true that studying in the U.S. can be expensive, but don’t let that discourage you. There are many scholarships and financial aid opportunities available to international students. You can apply for university-specific scholarships, or private grants and loans to help cover your tuition costs.

Unique Cultural Experiences

Your international experience in the U.S. will be unlike any other. You will have the chance to try different cuisines, explore new cities and states, and attend festivals or events that you would not be able to experience anywhere else in the world. This is a great way to immerse yourself in American culture and develop a better understanding of this amazing country. From native speakers to foreign cultures, you will gain a better understanding of the world and expand your global network.

Language Immersion Opportunities

Studying in the U.S. will also give you a chance to improve your English language skills. You can take intensive courses or join conversation groups to practice and become fluent in the language. There are even programs available where international students can be paired with native speakers for language exchange opportunities. This is a great way to not only improve your language abilities but also to develop relationships with Americans.

Improved Career Prospects

Many employers around the world prefer to hire those who have had international experience. An American degree will give you a competitive edge, allowing you to demonstrate that you have acquired the skills and knowledge needed for success in today’s global economy. You will be able to move forward in your career and find rewarding opportunities both in the U.S. and abroad.

Studying in the U.S. or Canada can offer a high ROI for international students. According to salary surveys such as Glassdoor, and data provided by universities, the return on investment is clear. Take Musa, for example, a Ghanaian Junior Business Analyst earning less than $6,000 a year, could potentially secure an income in excess of $100,000 per year after an MBA.


Studying in America is more than just learning—it’s an opportunity to gain valuable life experiences and develop yourself both academically and professionally. With the right preparation, international students can make the most of their experiences in the U.S. and use them to build a successful future. So if you’re looking for an educational experience that will open doors to new opportunities, consider studying in America.

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The Benefits of Studying Business, Economics, and Technology in the U.S.

April 28th, 2023 by IEFA

Are you considering studying business, economics, or technology in the United States? If so, you are making an excellent decision. Studying these fields can open up a world of career opportunities and provide access to some of the most advanced educational programs in the world. Not only will you gain valuable knowledge and skills that employers highly value but also have access to resources such as internships and networking events. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of studying these programs in the U.S. as well as qualifications needed to pursue a degree in these areas. We’ll also look at why employers will be impressed by those with degrees in these topics and how students can benefit from studying abroad in the U.S. So read on for more information!

The intersection between business, economics, and technology

If you’re an international student considering studying in the U.S., it’s important to have an understanding of the intersection between business, economics, and technology in the country. The U.S. is a global leader in these areas, with many of the world’s top companies and institutions headquartered within its borders. From Silicon Valley’s groundbreaking tech startups to New York City’s bustling financial district, the country offers plenty of opportunities to explore the latest innovations in these fields. However, it’s worth noting that navigating the complex business and economic landscape in the U.S. can be challenging even for American students. As an international student, it’s important to be prepared to put in the extra effort to stay informed and on top of the latest trends and developments. By doing so, you’ll be well-positioned to thrive and succeed in this exciting and dynamic environment.

Studying in the U.S. as an international student can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Apart from excelling academically, international students also have to navigate the job market to gain valuable experience and network with industry professionals. Luckily, there are various opportunities available for networking and internships that cater specifically to international students in these fields. From campus career fairs to internships at top companies, international students have ample opportunities to gain hands-on experience, build professional connections, and enhance their resumes. These experiences not only build practical skills but also pave the way for future career success. So, if you’re an international student studying business, economics, or technology, take advantage of these resources to set yourself up for a bright future in your chosen field.

Pursuing a degree in either business, economics, or technology in the U.S. requires certain qualifications that will help prepare you for the coursework and career opportunities that come with it.

Qualifications required

Generally, you will need a high school diploma or equivalent to apply for undergraduate programs. Strong critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as excellent communication and teamwork abilities, are some of the essential traits that universities look for in prospective students. Additionally, proficiency in mathematics and computer programming languages will be particularly useful in economics and technology majors. Keep in mind that many programs may have specific requirements, such as completed prerequisite courses or certain standardized test scores, so it’s essential to research and understand each school’s expectations before applying. With dedication and preparation, pursuing a degree in this dynamic field can pave the way for a rewarding and successful career path.

Benefits of studying abroad in the United States

Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity for students looking to broaden their horizons and gain a unique academic and cultural experience. The United States is a popular destination for international students seeking higher education because of the prestigious universities and the diverse student body. In addition to gaining an internationally recognized degree, studying in the U.S. provides a chance to improve language skills, develop a global perspective, and expand professional networks.

Living in a new country can also enhance personal growth by building self-confidence, fostering independence, and facilitating personal discovery. International students can engage in campus activities, explore new cities, and immerse themselves in American culture. Whatever you study, doing so in the United States can be a life-changing experience that opens doors to new opportunities and broadens students’ horizons.

Why employers will be impressed by those with a degree in business, economics, or technology

Earning a degree in business, economics, or technology goes beyond simply obtaining a piece of paper. These degrees provide individuals with a wide array of skills that are vital for success in today’s job market. Employers will be impressed by those with a degree in these fields because these individuals are equipped with necessary knowledge and expertise. For instance, a business degree arms graduates with financial, marketing, and management skills that are essential for any company. An economics degree provides graduates with a deep understanding of how economies work, making them an asset in fields such as banking and finance. Lastly, a technology degree offers individuals the expertise to work with technological tools and software that are crucial in today’s digital age. These skills are not only sought after by employers but are essential to thriving in today’s economy. Overall, a degree in business, economics, or technology is an investment in oneself that can lead to lasting career success.

The Advantages of Studying Business and Economics in the U.S.

Studying Business and Economics in the United States can provide numerous advantages to students seeking to advance their careers in these fields. With a strong emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, U.S. universities offer a diverse range of courses that are designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the global business environment. Additionally, studying in the U.S. provides exposure to some of the world’s largest companies and economic hubs, such as Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Through internships and networking events, students can gain valuable hands-on experience and build professional connections that can be beneficial in their careers. Finally, studying abroad in the U.S. can offer a unique cultural experience, helping students develop a broader perspective and enhance their communication skills in a globalized world. Overall, studying Business and Economics in the United States offers a comprehensive and immersive education that can greatly enhance one’s professional and personal growth.

The Career Prospects After Completing a Degree Program in Business or Economics

Business and economics are two of the most popular degree programs among students seeking a prosperous career. These fields offer a diverse range of career opportunities that continue to grow with the expansion of globalization and digitalization. A degree in business or economics can lead to careers in finance, marketing, consulting, entrepreneurship, and many more fields. Graduates can also work in the public sector, including government agencies and nonprofit organizations. The job market is competitive, but graduates with a solid academic record, relevant experience, and networking skills can find rewarding careers. An advanced degree in business, such as an MBA, can further boost job prospects and earning potential. With the right education and skills, a degree in business or economics can lead to an exciting and prosperous career.

How You Can Benefit From Studying Technology in the U.S.

In today’s ever-changing world, technology continues to play an increasingly crucial role in our lives. Whether it’s in the workplace, education or in our daily routines, technology is everywhere. That’s why studying technology in the U.S. is so beneficial. By studying technology, you’ll gain valuable skills that can be applied in a multitude of industries, such as software development, cybersecurity, and web design. Not only will this make you more marketable to employers, but it will also give you the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge developments in your field. Plus, with the tech industry continuing to grow at an exponential rate, there will always be a high demand for skilled workers – meaning that you’ll have a solid career path with plenty of opportunities for advancement. By studying technology in the U.S., you’ll gain valuable knowledge and skills that will set you up for a successful future.

The Opportunities Available for Students with a Background in Technology

In today’s fast-paced digital age, the opportunities for students with a background in technology are more abundant than ever before. The field of technology spans across a vast array of industries, providing endless job options for those who have a strong understanding of technology. From developing software applications and creating online platforms to designing and implementing tech-infused marketing strategies, the possibilities are certainly exciting. Careers in technology offer versatility, a competitive salary, and a multitude of opportunities for professional growth. Companies are always seeking new talent with fresh ideas and innovative approaches to tackling business challenges. Whether you are interested in computer programming, data analytics, or any other tech field, the opportunities for growth and success are endless.

What You Need to Know Before Making A Decision on Which Field to Pursue

Choosing a field of study can be a daunting task, especially when considering the vast number of options available. When considering business, economics, or technology, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. Business programs often focus on management, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Economics programs dive deeper into topics such as market trends, financial systems, and global economic policies. Technology degrees offer a more specialized education in areas such as software development, data analytics, and cybersecurity. It is important to consider your personal strengths and interests, as well as job market demand, before making a decision. Each field offers unique benefits and job opportunities, so it is essential to do thorough research and explore your options before making a commitment.

Resources to Help with Financing Your Education

Financing an education in the U.S. as an international student can be challenging, but there are resources available to help. Private student loans are an option for those who need to cover tuition costs but may not qualify for federal financial aid. However, it’s important to keep in mind that private loans often come with higher interest rates and repayment terms. Scholarships are another great option, and there are many specifically geared towards international students. These scholarships can cover not only tuition but also living expenses. It’s recommended to start researching and applying for scholarships as early as possible, as some may have strict deadlines. With perseverance and a bit of research, financing your education in the U.S. as an international student is definitely possible.


Dealing With Homesickness

April 26th, 2023 by IEFA

Feeling homesick or experiencing “culture shock” is an inevitable part of studying abroad. When you visit a new country, you may feel overwhelmed and lonely. It is important to remember that these feelings are normal and they will pass with time.

While college students may feel homesick at times, leading to feelings of anxiety and mental distress, overcoming it can reveal the true rewards of being an international student. Embracing the journey offers countless opportunities for enjoyment and personal growth.

It’s okay if you are missing your home country, but it’s important to stay positive and find ways to manage homesickness and enjoy the experience of being abroad.

In this article, we share some tips on how to manage homesickness while studying abroad.

1. Stay Connected With Your Loved Ones

It’s important to stay connected with your loved ones back home. Text, call, or video chat with family and friends regularly to stay in touch with what’s happening at home.

It can also be helpful to join a Facebook group for international students studying in the same city as you. This will help you build a sense of community and make new friends.

2. Get Involved in Local Activities and Local Culture

Immersing yourself in the local culture is a great way to feel less homesick. Join clubs or activities that interest you, such as sports teams, art classes, language lessons,., or explore the city by attending events like festivals or concerts.

Joining a local organization is also a great way to make friends and build relationships. It could be a summer camp or internship, the goal is to get out and explore your new environment. Get out of your comfort zone and embrace your new surroundings!

3. Make Time for Self-care

If you are feeling sad and homesick, it is important to take care of your mental health. Take time for yourself and do things that make you feel good.

This could include going for a walk, listening to music, or engaging in some type of creative activity. For most students, studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – make sure to enjoy it!

4. Reach Out To Your University Support Network

Your university may offer counseling services or support groups for international students. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you are feeling homesick or need help with anything. The staff at your university will be more than happy to provide assistance and resources.

Colleges want their students to be successful and they will do their best to help you adjust. Find a counseling center or international student office at your university and make an appointment!

5. Talk to New People and Make New Friends

What makes homesickness worse is feeling alone, so it’s important to make new friends and build relationships with people in your host country. Talk to people in your classes, join clubs or activities – be open and friendly, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

If you are finding difficulty concentrating or feeling overwhelmed, it could be a good idea to get a mentor. Find someone who has already been through the same experience and can provide advice and support.

6. Find a New Hobby

Studying abroad is a great opportunity to pick up a new hobby or skill. Taking on a new activity can help keep you busy and make you feel more connected with your host country.

Sign up for classes in music, art, cooking, language lessons, sports – anything that interests you! This will also give you an opportunity to make new friends and build relationships.

Dealing with homesickness is a normal part of the international student experience. With these tips, you can learn to manage your homesickness and enjoy your time studying abroad. Take your time and don’t rush into things – eventually, you will adjust to your new home and build a community of friends and connections. Good luck!

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Exploring Different Credit Card Options for International Students in the U.S.

March 22nd, 2023 by IEFA

The overall process of obtaining a credit card as a non-citizen in the United States can appear daunting, especially without a Social Security number. However, international students can get credit with credit cards without needing social security information. Here, we’ll provide more on different credit card options for non-citizen students in the U.S.

The key to acquiring student credit cards in the U.S. is knowing which cards you’re eligible for and understanding their requirements. Before we look at the different international student credit cards available, let’s look at the challenges non-citizen students face when getting a credit card!

Challenges to Overcome When Acquiring a Credit Card

First, you need to look at the requirements set by the credit issuer carefully and thoroughly because the requirements for each credit issuer vary. For instance, most credit companies in the U.S. require a social security number, whereas others waive this requirement. Holders of F-1 or J-1 visas can apply for a social security number via the Social Security Administration (SSA) to ease the process of acquiring a credit card.

Another challenge international students encounter is the need for a bank account in the U.S. Before getting a credit card, you need to open an account. Obtaining a bank account in the U.S. makes it easier to manage and keep track of personal finances. For example, you can easily monitor what you have and what you owe.

Let’s dive in!

Best Credit Card Companies for International Students

Non-citizen students pursuing higher education in the U.S. can get credit cards without a Social Security number or extended credit history from the card issuers. Below are credit card options you can consider:

Deserve EDU Mastercard

The Deserve EDU Mastercard is an excellent option for students because it doesn’t require applicants to provide a Social Security Number. The credit card is best for Amazon Prime benefits, and other perks such as:

  • Up to US$59 in Amazon Prime Student subscription reimbursement upon spending $500 on your card in three billing cycles of account opening
  • 1% back in rewards for each dollar spent
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No security deposit
  • No annual fee
  • 20.99% variable APR

Generally, the Deserve EDU Mastercard for students won’t charge any security deposit or annual fee. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, students are also eligible for US$30 in rewards for every referral.

Petal-2 Visa Credit Card

International students can acquire a Petal-2 visa credit card from WebBank. You can apply for a credit card without a Social Security number. However, you must provide an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). ITIN is a federal income tax reporting requirement for non-citizens and international students.

International students with ITIN can apply for Petal-2 Visa Credit Card and begin earning 1% back on total spending. Continued use of the card increases the cash back to 1.25 percent in six months and 1.5% after 12 months of on-time payments.

Petal-2 visa credit card comes with a minimum credit limit of US$300 up to US$10,000, depending on creditworthiness. The credit card is user-friendly as it doesn’t charge an annual or foreign transaction fee. Above that, the company has a mobile app that allows you to pay on the go and keep track of your spending. Petal-e visa credit card is best for a flat cash back reward.

Why consider this credit card:

  • 15.24% to 29.24% variable APR
  • No security deposit needed
  • 1-1.5% cash back on transactions upon making on-time payments
  • 2-10% cash back at select merchants

Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

Are you looking for a credit card for your everyday spending? Look no further than Capital One Quicksilver student cash rewards offering enticing 1.5% cash back on all everyday purchases. The credit card launched in August 2021, and international students can apply with an ITIN rather than using a Social Security Number. In addition, credit cards are accessible for students with fair credit bureaus.

The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards offers one of the most competitive reward rates on the student credit card. Cardholders are eligible to earn a flat 1.5% cash back. You can choose varying options in which you prefer to receive your cash back rewards. Options available include gift cards, checks, statement credits, or applying rewards directly to new purchases.

Why choose it:

  • 16.49% to 26.49% variable APR
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on daily purchases

Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One SavorOne Cash back reward launched in August 2021 and is an excellent option for students seeking to incorporate credit cards in dining and entertainment. International students can acquire a credit card with an ITIN.

The credit card offers 3% cash back on select categories, including entertainment, streaming services, dining, and grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target).

Apart from rewards from select merchants, the Capital One SavorOne reward for students integrates unlimited 1% cash back on general purchases. In addition, students can build up cash rewards for an extended time since the cash back rewards generated with Capital One credit cards don’t expire.

Why select it:

  • 16.49% to 26.49% percent variable APR
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fees
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • 3% cash back on dining, grocery stores, entertainment, and streaming services

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

International students in America can apply for the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One using an ITIN in lieu of a Social Security number. Cardholders receive 1% back in rewards. Additionally, they can enjoy 1.25% back once they process their credit card bill on time.

International students can benefit from this credit card that features no foreign transaction fee/ annual charge. In addition, Capital One usually reviews the credit card account for credit line increases after six months of purchase activity.

Why choose it:

  • 26.99% variable APR
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Offers unlimited 1% perks back on all spending (get 1.25% on on-time credit bill payment)
  • Unlimited 5% cash back on bookings (hotel and rental cars) via Capital One Travel.

Chase Freedom Student Card

Non-citizen students can apply for a Chase freedom student credit card using an ITIN without providing a Social Security number. The credit card offers flat 1% cash back on daily spending. Card owners can also enjoy 5% cash back on Lyft and a US$50 sign-up bonus upon initial purchase after opening the account.

The Chase Freedom credit card for students charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, unlike other credit cards with free foreign transactions. However, international students can access their credit scores for free with Chase’s Credit Journey program and the card has no annual fee. In addition, you’ll earn US$20 in Good Standing Rewards yearly for the account anniversary.

Why choose this credit card:

  • 16.49% variable APR
  • No annual fee
  • 1% cash back on all spending
  • US$50 bonus upon making your first purchase within three months of opening the account
  • US$20 credit for accounts in good credit standing every year (for five years).

Tips to Get a Credit Card as an International Student

Some practices can optimize your chances of obtaining a credit card for international students. 

  • If you’re applying for a United States based credit card, wait until your arrival in the U.S. This is because most U.S. credit cards require a stateside address for approval.
  • While applying for credit cards in your home country, ensure the credit card option doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
  • Apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). An ITIN can increase your options of getting a United States credit card, especially if you lack a Social Security Number (SSN).
  • Check your eligibility for a Social Security number. International students with F-1 visas can access SSNs. In addition, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides relevant information on its webpage for international students.

Benefits of Having a Student Credit Card

Students studying abroad can garner many benefits from a credit card. Below are some of these benefits;

  • Build a good credit history through on-time repayments
  • Learn financial discipline/how to use money
  • Excellent backup plan
  • Avoid overdrafts
  • Gain rewards/perks

 FAQs

Can an International Student Get a Credit Card in the U.S.?

International students are eligible for credit cards if the credit card issuer accepts Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to substitute Social Security number. Students with limited credit history may need additional consideration for approval for credit card applications, i.e. cosigner, proof of income, etc.

Which Credit Card is Best for International Students?

The best credit card for non-citizen students studying in the United States is one that provides high rewards on purchases, charges no foreign transaction fees, and is eligible for students without a Social Security number. Examples of such cards include: Deserve EDU Mastercard, Capital One SavorOne rewards for students, and Capital One Quicksilver reward credit cards for international students.

Can an International Student Get a Credit Card without an SSN?

Yes. Some credit card companies accept ITIN as a substitute for Social Security numbers for international student credit card applications.

Which Credit Card is Best for International Students in the U.S. without an SSN?

Credit card companies such as Capital One, Discover, and Chase issue credit cards to international students without SSNs. International students without SSNs can consider students credit card issuers who accept ITIN instead of SSNs.


Before selecting a particular credit card company, weigh the options available. Different credit card issuers integrate a varying set of requirements and rewards. International students seeking the best credit card can consider companies like Discover, Capital One, Deserve, and Bank of America. Wrapping up, ensure you choose the best option for you!

*Information accurate as of March 2023

Resources

https://www.forbes.com/advisor/credit-cards/best/student/

https://educationusa.state.gov/your-5-steps-us-study/apply-your-student-visa/short-term

https://www.wes.org/advisor-blog/building-your-credit/

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International Student Credit Cards in the U.S. 

March 20th, 2023 by IEFA

Credit cards are some of the best financial tools available to international students in the U.S. You can have access to cash during emergencies or take advantage of rewards or cash-back programs to save money. With so many options available, it is important to select the right card for your needs.

In this article, we will be sharing everything you need to know about selecting the best credit cards for international students in the US.

How Do International Student Credit Cards Work?

Like with any credit card, this type of card allows you to make purchases, earn rewards and even withdraw cash from ATMs when necessary.

However, international student cards are designed specifically for non-US citizens studying in the US. Some of these cards allow you to transfer funds from your home country with no added fees, making them a great option for international students. With these benefits, international students have the opportunity to experience financial independence during their time studying abroad.

No matter how many benefits a credit card offers, if you don’t use them responsibly, you can end up with a pile of debt. That is why it’s important to know the features and benefits that come with any credit card before signing up, and to use them responsibly.

What Are the Benefits of an International Student Credit Card?

Here are some of the benefits of using an international student credit card:

Access to Cash: Credit cards can be a great financial security blanket. With the ability to access cash from ATMs worldwide, you’re never too far away from help in case of an unexpected emergency or everyday purchase. Just keep in mind that some may charge a fee for utilizing this feature – so make sure to check terms before using this facility.

Lower-Interest Rates: International student credit cards offer the perfect solution for those studying abroad – not only do they provide more flexibility with their global acceptance, but also boast lower interest rates than many traditional credit cards.

Rewards and Cash-Back Programs: Most secured credit cards come with rewards or cash-back programs that allow you to earn cash rewards or points for every purchase you make. You can then use these points to get discounts on future purchases or even redeem them for products and services.

Credit Building: One of the best parts of having a credit card is that it can help you build your credit. By making timely payments and staying within your credit limit, you can slowly increase your credit score over time. This is great news for international students who may not have a lot of options when it comes to building their credit in the US.

*Note: Just as we mentioned earlier, the risks of having a credit card cannot be overlooked by the benefits mentioned above. It is important to use your credit card responsibly and not overspend, or you may end up in a lot of debt.

Things to consider when shopping for international student credit cards

Now let’s look at some of the factors you should consider when shopping for one of these credit cards.

Annual fee

Annual fees are the price that you pay to use and maintain the credit card. Most credit card issuers, however, don’t charge annual fees for an international student credit card. If a card does have an annual fee, make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that it is worth paying.

Foreign transaction fees

A foreign transaction fee is a fee you pay for using your credit card in a different country. Most international student credit cards do not have a foreign transaction fee, so make sure to check this before signing up for a card.

Credit limit

One downside of secured credit cards is that the credit limit can be quite low, making it hard to make large purchases. But since you are a student, you might not need a large credit limit. If you still need a higher credit line, make sure to talk to the card issuer and see if you can increase your credit limit.

Rewards/cashback

Just as we mentioned earlier, most credit card companies offer rewards or cash-back programs for international students. This is a great way to save money on future purchases or even redeem them for products and services. However, make sure to read the terms and conditions carefully before signing up for any rewards program!

Security deposit

Since it’s a secured credit card, you have to provide a security deposit when you sign up. This amount is usually determined by the card issuer, so make sure to ask about this before signing up. On average, it’s around $500 to $2,000.

Your needs/spending habits

Make sure to consider your own needs and spending habits when looking for the best international student credit card. After all, it’s important to find a card that fits your lifestyle and budget. Make sure to follow a budget and only use a credit card when absolutely necessary.

Requirements

Every credit card company is different and has different requirements for international students. For example, some companies might need you to submit your SSN to apply for a credit card, while others might just need copies of your passport and visa. Some might also require you to submit your individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Make sure to read the requirements for each card carefully before applying.

Your credit history

One of the major requirements for getting approved for a credit card is having a good credit history. If you don’t have any credit history, make sure to start building yours by making small purchases and paying them off on time. Credit bureaus like Experian and TransUnion can be a great way to check your credit score and make sure it is up to date.


These are some of the factors you should consider when shopping for a student credit card. Make sure to do your research, compare different cards, and read the terms and conditions carefully before signing up. And remember, use your credit card responsibly, and don’t overspend! Good luck on your journey to building a strong credit score and financial future in the US.

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How to Save on International Student Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S.

March 13th, 2023 by IEFA

Are you an international student worried about the high costs of medical expenses? We understand that navigating a foreign healthcare system can be overwhelming, but having the right health insurance coverage is crucial. Don’t worry, there are ways to save money while still getting maximum protection. By comparing and researching different international student insurance plans, you can find affordable options that provide comprehensive coverage for your needs. Let us help you find the best plan so you can have peace of mind and focus on your studies!

In this article, we’ll be sharing everything you need to know about international student health insurance plans. So if you are planning to study abroad at an American university, read on to find out how you can save money and get the best coverage for your needs.

What are international student insurance plans?

International student health insurance plans are designed to provide coverage to foreign students for eligible medical expenses incurred in a foreign country – the U.S. in this case. These plans typically offer coverage for hospitalization, emergency services, doctor visits, and prescription medications.

These policies can be tailored to fit the needs of any student studying abroad, regardless of whether they are attending school full-time or taking a short-term course. With some policies, students can also enjoy additional medical benefits too, such as coverage for maternity or mental health services.

Why do you need health insurance coverage?

According to global health insurance providers, it is important for international students to have adequate health insurance coverage in order to protect them from unexpected medical bills and expenses.

Having a comprehensive plan will also ensure that the student is able to access quality medical care at any time, regardless of where they are studying.

Is insurance for international students compulsory?

Many universities require international students to have health insurance coverage, but even if it is not required by the school, it is still highly recommended.

During emergency medical evacuation or repatriation, the costs can be very high, and having a policy that covers your unexpected medical costs and expenses can help you avoid incurring large bills.

It is also important to ensure that your health insurance plan is accepted in the country of residence and that it meets the requirements for study programs abroad.

How can international students save money on medical insurance?

Health insurance plans can be costly, but there are several ways international students can save money on their insurance premiums. Here are some of the best ways to save money on international student health insurance plans:

Assess the risks involved

For example, if you travel a lot or engage in risky activities, you may need to purchase a more comprehensive plan. On the other hand, if you are only visiting a country for a short time and are engaging in low-risk activities, you may be able to get away with purchasing a basic policy.

Shop around for the right health insurance plan

Every provider is different and has different coverage levels and premiums. It is important to compare different plans from various providers in order to find one that fits your needs and budget. You can go online and use comparison tools to compare plans and save money on premiums. You can also ask your friends or family who may have already purchased international student health insurance plans and get their advice. Keep in mind that the cheapest plan will likely have lower coverage than a more costly one – but it’s important to compare terms to confirm! 

Find the right deductibles and limits

One way to save money on international student insurance is to choose the right deductible and limits. Deductible amounts will vary depending on the plan you purchase, so it’s important to compare different plans in order to find one that fits your budget.

In addition, make sure you choose a plan with ample coverage limits that can cover your unexpected medical expenses in case of an emergency, and that you take note of any internal caps.

Understand the health insurance policies

Read the policy documents carefully and understand what is covered and what is excluded. Make sure you are aware of any restrictions or exclusions that may apply to your plan. Finally, be sure to contact the insurer directly if you have any questions or concerns about their policies.

Find out if it’s necessary to have a medical insurance

As we mentioned earlier, not every university requires international students to have a health insurance plan, but it’s still important to have coverage during your studies to prepare for the unexpected. 


Finding the right international student health insurance doesn’t have to be expensive. Before signing up for a plan, do your research and make a list of what’s important. For example, note whether you need coverage while traveling overseas and any specific benefits you would like. Ask friends who already have plans to see what they recommend. You can also search online or contact an agent or broker in your area for more guidance. Once you know what you’re looking for, consider multiple insurers to find the best combination of coverage and price. By taking the time to compare different quotes, you’ll be able to confidently get the right plan that meets your needs without breaking the bank.

You could find the right policy for you through International Student.

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