Should I apply for financial aid as an international student?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Should I apply for financial aid as an international student?

Robin Farris

Financial aid and International students

I highly recommend my international students apply for merit based scholarships. A lot of colleges will award scholarships based on merit.

Don Tamminga

Should I apply for financial aid as an international student?

Of course! There is merit based finacial aid as well as need based financial aid and you never know what a school is willing to give you to attend.

Carita Del Valle
Founder Academic Decisions

There are only scholarships available no grants

If the international student has the extra time then yes apply for aid. But the student must understand they are only eligible for scholarships specific to them (international student) and there is a very small percentage available.

Michael Maldonado


If you have need, then yes you should apply for financial aid. But be aware that US federal aid will only be available to US citizens and qualified permanent residents. So if you are a US citizen abroad you qualify for federal aid. Also, understand the amount of aid available for international students will be dependent on the schools to which you apply and how much that school caters to international students. Realize, as well, which schools are need blind for international students in their admission decisions. You also have the option of competing for merit based aid at the schools that you apply. In the end if you need aid, do your research and apply to schools that actually have aid for international students otherwise you will be wasting your time. Look into private and outside scholarships from your own country as well as the US. Look for schools that are actually trying to increase their international student population. You may not have heard about many of them but you may realize that they offer as good of an education as some well known schools.

Dr. Stabile

Should I apply for financial aid as an international student?

If you are in need of financial, apply for financial aid There is very little financial aid for foreign nationals to study in the US. There is very little financial aid information available for international students. The web site provides information for international students seeking financial aid

Darla Andrews

Should I apply for financial aid as an international student?

This will depend on your immigration status. It will also depend on your financial situation.

Kathryn Lento

Should I apply for financial aid as an international student?

International students can apply for financial aid. The amount of aid available varies by college. You may have more success with merit or interest based scholarships. Keep in mind, if a financial aid package is a critical part of your ability to study in another country, avoid applying early decision. You will not have the ability to compare financial aid packages offered by various schools. Also, the school you are applying early decision to can only give you an estimate of your financial aid package. If it comes up short, you are still responsible for the difference. If you can't afford the difference your only option is to break your agreement which does not reflect favorably on you and by the time you reapply to other colleges the pool of aid might be dried up.

Donna Landreth
HS Counselor/Educational Consultant Founder and Owner of Expert College Planning

Financial aid for international student applicants

An international student should not indicate that they intend to apply for financial aid. Unless you are a US citizen, you cannot apply for federal funds. (fafsa) For admission advantages, the international student should indicate they will not be applying for financial aid from a college or university in the United States. The school is more likely to admit you as an international student if they know you can afford to attend.

Mark Gathercole
University Advisor Independent University Advising


Need-based aid for international students is available at a number of schools, but at all but 5-10 of them, the need for financial aid may affect your chances of admission. You have to decide whether your need for funds is worth the risk at these schools. Merit-based aid is available to international students at most universities in the U.S., and does not affect a student's chances of admission. Merit scholarships are given for a number of reasons by admissions offices, and international students have as good a chance of receiving it as anyone. The schools which are the most likely to award merit aid to an international student are those where the student falls in the top half of the applicant pool, and schools where there are not many other international students.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

Not Probable

International students who will be enrolling on an F1 or J1 visa will not be eligible for federal financial aid programs. Most private or institutional aid is also limited to US citizens and permanent residents. Students who live abroad but will not seek a visa for study will be eligible for aid and should apply.