Sources of Financial Aid - International Students
On-line Scholarship Search
Research scholarship and financial aid options online. The following sites provide information specifically for international students:
International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) provides financial aid, college scholarship, and grant information for international students wishing to study abroad. Their search feature allow users to find scholarships around the world.
International Scholarships deliver a comprehensive listing of grants, scholarships, loan programs, and other information to assist college and university students in their pursuit to study abroad.
International Student Guide to Paying for College
Your Home Country
Your own home country could possibly be a source of funding, either from organizations or companies from your home country or your government. For instance, Saudi Arabia launched a program that provides full scholarships to over 10,000 Saudi students studying in the USA. Investigate this option thoroughly before you leave. Bear in mind when you are applying for aid from your home country that there may be some stipulations involved. For example, you may have to return home to your country once you have graduated.
There are several international organizations, such as the Fulbright Commission, who grant aid to students all over the world. Other such organizations that offer aid are:
- The United Nations
- World Council of Churches
- Open Society Foundations
- World Health Organization
Many of these organizations require you to be in your home country when you apply, so plan ahead, as they can be very competitive.
International students are not eligible for U.S. federal aid such as Stafford Loans or Plus Loans. However, there may be other sources of funding if you are an international student coming into the U.S. to study, so check with the U.S. embassy in your home country.
International Student Loans
International students are not eligible for U.S. government-backed loans like Stafford Loans or Plus Loans, but international students are eligible for private international student loans to study in the USA. You will need to meet specific eligibility requirements like attending an approved school and having a cosigner in most cases. If you do not have a cosigner but would still like to apply for a loan, see if a no cosigner loan is available to you. If you decide to apply for a loan it's important to be careful about taking on too much debt, you should only borrow what you truly need to cover the cost of studying and living in the US.
As you begin to think about funding sources for your educational and living expenses in the United States, remember that you cannot count on working in the United States unless you have been granted a teaching or research assistantship. When you submit evidence of your financial resources, you cannot reply on potential income. The income on which you base your application must be assured, and it must be equal to or exceed the costs of the first year of your studies.
Immigration regulations are very strict with respect to working while carrying a student visa. F1 status, which is the most common status for full-time international students, allows for part time, on-campus employment (fewer than 20 hours per week.) J-1 student status allows for similar employment, with similar restrictions, as long as permission is given by the exchange visitor program sponsor. Visit our Working in the USA pages for more information on employment opportunities and restrictions for F1 students. M-1 visa holders for technical and vocational programs are not permitted to work during the course of their studies.
Jobs available on campus typically do not pay much, certainly not enough to finance a university education. Do not count on this kind of a job for anything more than a supplement to other funds.
Careful long- and short-term planning is necessary to ensure that you will have a rewarding experience studying abroad. If you are realistic about your financial needs, you will be better able to enjoy the exciting academic and cultural experience of living and learning in the United States.