Financial Aid in Norway

September 28th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

norway160248917Another one of our readers wanted to know about financial aid in Norway. Although by law, education is free for anyone living in Norway, Norway is expensive. The living cost in Norway is higher than most of the rest of the developed world. For this reason, students must plan well in order to manage their living costs. They can work part-time up to 20 hours per week, but in many cases this may prove to be insufficient. If this is the case, there are several financial aid and scholarship options available for international students studying in Norway.

However, the competition for these scholarships and financial aid is high. Acceptance for aid in Norway depends on the student’s academic background, the country in which they reside, and the course they study.

There are national programs offered by the Norwegian government, as well as various other programs offered by both private and non-profit organizations to provide scholarships and other types of funding for international students to help support their studies and stay in Norway. The Norwegian Center for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU) is a public administrative body under the Ministry of Education and Research in Norway that promotes international cooperation in education and research and administrates several programs under which international students are eligible for financial support.

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InternationalStudent.com Essay Contest Winners

September 26th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

BlogsizeEssay Finalist Milan Djurasovic

We previously announced the InternationalStudent.com Essay Contest that was open for international students around the world to enter into to share their story and have a chance at one of the top three prizes: $200, $75 or $25.

The judges at InternationalStudent.com spent the month of September narrowing down each international student essay to find the essay contest winners. On September 19th the top six finalists were announced to be the following individuals:

  • Sofia Camacho
  • Atajan Abdyyev
  • Simone Lim
  • Eshul Rayhan
  • Milan Djurasovic
  • Maan AlBani

Today InternationalStudent.com announced the top three essay contest winners and here they are:

1st Place ($200)- Milan Djurasovic
2nd Place ($75)- Sofia Camacho
3rd Place ($25)- Eshul Rayhan

Read each of the finalist and top winning essays for an inside look at what it’s like to be an international student.


Financial Aid in Ireland

September 20th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

irelandOne of our readers asked us to do a special piece on financial aid in Ireland, and we thought – what a great idea. After all, many international students studying in Ireland find that they cannot do so without some form of financial assistance. If this is the case, there are several financial aid options for these students. We’ve compiled a short list of the types of financial aid in Ireland.

Scholarships

A limited number of scholarships for international students are available from the universities and colleges themselves. These scholarships are awarded solely at the discretion of the individual institutions that set down their own criteria for eligibility. To learn more about scholarships offered by your school, you are advised to contact the school directly. There are also scholarships available for other organizations – you can find a comprehensive list of available scholarships for study in Ireland on our Scholarship Search.

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Now Open: The InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest

September 10th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

videocontestInternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest
Deadline: October 23

InternationalStudent.com has launched their 8th Annual Travel Video Contest! Like in past years- the contest is open to students who would like to study outside their home country, as well as to students who are already studying abroad and would like to take a trip.

Eligible individuals can enter their short video into the contest from September 3rd through October 23rd. The finalists will be announced the week of October 28th and the winners will be announced the last day of International Education Week: November 15th.

One grand prize winner will receive $4,000 toward their travels abroad along with their very own blog to document the trip on InternationalStudent.com! Keep in mind that judges want to hear about more than where you want to go and why you need the financial help to get there. To be the 8th InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest winner you will need to tell your story in such a creative and original way that it’ll make the judges want to watch your video on repeat! Just keep in mind that your video must be less than 5 minutes and you must be over the age of 18. Read the rest of this entry »


Schwarzman Scholar Program Sends Students to China

May 1st, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

Schwarzman ScholarsBillionaire and Blackstone Group founder Stephen Schwarzman has announced the creation of the Schwarzman Scholars program at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. It’s mission? Schwarzman Scholar Program sends students to China. The scholarships, to be funded by Schwarzman’s own $100 million dollar donation as well as $200 million more from other international donors, will function similarly to Oxford’s prestigious Rhodes Scholarship though will obviously allow students to study in China rather than the U.K.

Starting in 2016, 200 international Schwarzman Scholars annually will get the opportunity to study in China at one of the country’s most prominent educational institutions in an all-expenses-paid, year-long program in Public Policy, International Relations, Engineering, or Economics & Business. These elite students will then leave the program with a Master’s Degree.

Schwarzman hopes that encouraging students from around the world (though scholars from the United States will represent the largest proportion) to study in China will foster an enduring academic and cultural relationship between the rapidly rising China and the rest of the world. Classes in the Schwarzman Scholars program will all be taught in English, further emphasizing the program’s mission of connecting Western, English-speaking powerhouses like the United States and the United Kingdom with the increasingly relevant China.

The Schwarzman Scholars program’s international commitment is also reinforced by its impressive advisory board, which is graced by influential figures such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice, and even famous cellist Yo-yo Ma.

The Schwarzman Scholars program represents a very exciting new opportunity for U.S. students looking to study abroad. With its high level of prestige in its host university and advisory board, setting in an emerging world superpower, and its fantastic zero dollar price tag, the program looks poised to provide quality international education to students when it does kick off in 2016.

*Photo Courtesy of BusinessInsider.com


Taxes for International Students

April 9th, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

shutterstock_131714795Tax time in the United States is here, with the IRS’s filing deadline of April 15th quickly approaching. Taxes are confusing for anyone, but taxes for international students can add another layer of difficulty given the varying classifications that international students can fall under.

The first thing for international students to determine at tax time is whether they are filing as residents or non-residents. Taxes for international students will mostly fall under nonresident filing status, but to make sure what category you fall under you should go to the Substantial Presence Test on the IRS website. Note that residency status is different from your immigration status, and depends on a number of factors revolving around the dates, length, and nature of your stay in the U.S.

If you find that you need to file as a resident, you can proceed to complete your taxes as any U.S. resident would. Remember that this includes your total worldwide income, not just money earned in the U.S.

But as most taxes for international students are filed as nonresident status, you’ll likely find yourself moving on to the next step: determining whether you’ve had a U.S. source of income. What exactly counts as a U.S. source of income is also outlined in detail on the IRS website.

All nonresidents must file Form 8843. Those without a U.S. source of income get to stop there; nonresidents with a U.S. source of income must also fill out a 1040 NR or 1040 NR-EZ. To fill out either of these latter forms you will need either a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If you do not have one, you can apply for an ITIN at the time of your filing.

Tax time is a notoriously stressful period for anyone in the United States, and international students certainly aren’t spared. Get started navigating the process as soon as you can so you have time to sort out any snags, and don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or school advisors for help! Check out our partner, International Student’s Tax Return Help, for more information.

* Tax, budget and calculator photo courtesy of Shutterstock


How to Budget for Your Spring Break Trip

February 27th, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

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

Book early

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

School-sponsored trips

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

Get it all together

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

Reduce incidental expenses

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

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


Should you get a Meal Plan at your School?

February 25th, 2013 by Jonathan Frankel

As international students prepare to head to college inside the US, one of the decisions they will have to make is whether or not to enroll in a school meal plan. It’s not as simple as deciding how much you’d like to eat! Choosing a meal plan at your school will depend on a lot of different factors.

What Are Meal Plans?

A school meal plan can come in two basic forms: a plan that will allot a certain amount of meals and a plan that will allot a certain amount of money. A meal plan at your school with limited meals has the advantage of being cheaper, but is usually limited to your school’s cafeteria-style offerings and not specialty restaurants (including fast-food locations on campus). Meal plans that charge money from an account can generally be used at any restaurant on campus (and sometimes even at on-campus stores and off-campus restaurants), but you will need to keep close track of your budget so you don’t run out and wind up paying for food out of pocket!

When do I Need a Meal Plan?

Getting a meal plan at your school is almost always a good choice if you fit a certain few criteria. First, a school meal plan will be most useful if you live on or very near campus, allowing you to make it to participating cafeterias/restaurants regularly and get the full benefit of your school’s meal plan. Second, look at the lifestyle you’ll be living in the coming school year. Will you be in a tiny dorm room with just a microwave and mini-fridge? Will you be so busy that cooking your own food is out of the question? If getting a meal plan at your school would positively complement your lifestyle for the semester it can be a great option.

When Don’t I Need a Meal Plan?

If you have specific dietary restrictions, contact your school to find out if any of their participating options available are acceptable to you. Many larger schools will work to accommodate a variety of dietary choices, but if you don’t think you would be happy with what your school offers then skip the meal plan and prepare your own meals. Also, if you’re far away from campus and unable to fully benefit from a meal plan or if you would simply rather prepare your own food, a meal plan certainly isn’t a necessity!

A school meal plan can be a great way to make life easier and to manage your budget. Look into what your school offers and get ready to eat!


Finding a Job During School

February 11th, 2013 by Bryanna Davis

working on campusFor international students who don’t receive significant financial aid and need some extra help funding their education in the USA, finding a job is one of the best ways to make ends meet. But, just like with financial aid, on-campus jobs can be hard to come by for international students due to legal red tape. Here are a couple tips to help you go about finding a job to facilitate your education:

  • Know your student visa limitations

Student visas, such as the F-1 visa, restrict international students’ legal right to work in the United States, even if they need a financial boost during college. Students on a F-1 visa can only work in certain capacities, the most freely offered one is on-campus employment. For on-campus work, an F-1 student is subject to the following rules:

  1. You must maintain valid F-1 status
  2. You can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session
  3. You can work full-time on campus during holidays and vacation periods if you intend to register for the next academic semester.
  4. The employment may not displace (take a job away from) a U.S. resident

Some exceptions can be made such as if a student is approved for severe financial hardship or an off-campus job on OPT or CPT status. Make sure you check the specific details of your own student visa so you know if you are eligible to work in the United States.

  • Check for jobs off campus

Part of the federal aid that is unavailable to international students is work study, which helps US citizens get on-campus jobs to fund their education. Plenty of on-campus jobs are not officially limited to work study applicants, but work study employees are legally allowed to be paid with federal funds. If you’re an international student worried about finding a job on-campus, check with your advisor to see what options are available and try widening your search to unaffiliated employers in the immediate area where your ineligibility for work study won’t be a disadvantage.

  • Start early

With all the obstacles international students face in finding a job, don’t add getting a late start to your personal list of difficulties! If you are eligible to work in the U.S., start your job hunt before you actually need the money from a job. It may be hard to focus on the job hunt while adjusting to college life, but keep in mind that it is for other students too – so starting on it right away will give you a big head start!

* Photo of paying money courtesy of Shutterstock


Stafford Student Loan Rates Held

July 4th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

What a difference a week makes in the world of financial aid. After all, at this point a week ago, there was every indication that federal student loan interest rates – which had been set to double on July 1st due – would do exactly that. Although both US President Obama and Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger – not mention quite a few members of Congress besides – voiced support for measures that would prevent this automatic increase of interest rates.

With such broad support, in and of itself, there was not enough to reconcile differences between the two parties on how to pay for the bill or, ultimately, to bring the matter to a vote. With the issue of funding unresolved, as Congress approached the weekend (and its weeklong recess to commemorate the US’s Independence Day), the general consensus at the Capitol was that, come the new month, the interest rate on federally backed student loans would jump from 3.4% to 6.8%. While this measure only affects federal loans – and not private international student loans – this would indeed affect those students who plan to study abroad with federally-backed student loans.

In the end, though, what a difference a week makes. In a rare flurry of bipartisanship in the United States, an 11th hour compromise was reached. The leaders of the two major parties in the Senate found common ground on how to pay for the nearly $6 billion cost of the measure on Tuesday and it was this compromise measure that passed the House 373 to 52 Friday and, later the same day, the Senate itself 74 to 19. The US President, who actively called for the legislation, signed it into law on Friday. In so doing, the change is estimated to help more than 7 million students who currently receive Stafford loans by saving them an average of $1,000 each on their loans.


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