What financial aid is available for international students?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

What financial aid is available for international students?

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

What financial aid is available for international students?

There is very little financial aid available for international students who want to pursue their undergraduate degrees in the U.S. While that should not stop you from applying for aid, you should be aware that chances are very slim that you will receive grants or scholarships. For more information on aid for international students, please check out this site: http://www.edupass.org/finaid/. It is a part of FinAid -- which is one of the most reputable authorities on financial aid for college students in the U.S.

David Allen
Managing Director Global College Counselors Ltd


There's lots of it around if you are prepared to look and ask. Some colleges have more available but almost all will have merit aid which is available to all students and some specific international scholarships.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

What financial aid is available for international students?

Basically, U.S. federal and state funding is not available for undergraduate studies to a foreign national. Depending on the school, institutional need-based or merit scholarships may be available but these limited resources are often highly competitive. Other sources of funding might be found in your home country. There are free scholarship databases available on-line. Be careful to protect yourself from scholarship scams.

Mark Gathercole
University Advisor Independent University Advising

What financial aid is available for international students?

Need-based aid is available at a number of schools, but at all but 5-10 of them, the need for financial aid may affect a student's chances of admission. 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.

Helen Cella

What financial aid is available for international students?

Merit money

Darla Andrews

What financial aid is available for international students?

As a student, you are responsible for the cost of tuition and fees, as well as room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. International students may qualify for some scholarships and tuition assistance, but may not be eligible for most financial aid.

Dr. Bruce Neimeyer
CEO/Partner Global College Search Associates, LLC

What financial aid is available for international students?

Some schools do offer financial "assistance" for international students. It really depends on the school. In most instances, the financial assistance for international students comes in the form of scholarship dollars and it is therefore based on academic merit rather than financial need. There are some colleges that do offer financial assistance based on financial need but still not that many. In these instances, the schools will typically have their own financial aid evaluation form for international students to complete. To find out which form is required, it is important to contact either the international admissions office or the office of international student services depending on the school. Some financial institutions may also offer student loan options but these are between the financial institution and the student and the schools are not involved in the process. However, you chosen college's financial aid office might be able to point you toward a lender that they know can assist you with this option. It is rare but you never know. Finally, the scholarship office at many schools may know of outside scholarship opportunities that you might be able to apply for that could offset some of your educational expenses. Reach out to them for any ideas or experiences they have had that might help you in obtaining some funding.

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

What financial aid is available for international students?

The financial aid system for colleges and universities in the United States is not set up [use thesaurus] for the benefit of international students. Financial aid is focused mainly on domestic students who need it. This brings up many different issues. First, on one hand it seems fair that the financial aid that is available goes to citizens of this country since they do live here and it seems that should be a benefit of being a citizen of the United States. On the other hand, it brings up some issues because there are undocumented students living in the United States today and they do not have the financial resources to pursue a college education. Thus, those very students who are first generation are not citizens and therefore cannot use the power of an education to raise their status from the one in which they have lived throughout their lives up to this point. Thus, many immigrants who are undocumented struggle to find a way to pursue an education when most of the time they have little to no resources to do so. This is a hot topic for some educators and can result in what some may deem a tragedy for the students who have worked very diligently to be accepted at a great college or just be college bound at all and not have the opportunity to pursue that. That being said, fact does remain that financial aid is reserved for American citizens and most citizens would think that that would qualify that decision as a fair one. One other aspect of the lack of educational funding for international students is that colleges today, particularly the University of California system use the fact that international students cannot gain financial aid as a means to increase their funding. That is, every international student represents the full price of admission, which at these days can be upwards of $50,000 per student. Whereas a domestic student most likely will qualify for some sort of financial aid. So the financial aid available to international students is extremely limited but at the same time it is a shame that there are billions and billions of dollars of scholarship money available to domestic students and so few take advantage of the opportunity to pursue those scholarships because they require additional work such as essays or completing paperwork or asking for recommendations. However, students who are motivated enough to make the most of the resources could actually save their families a lot of money – money that international students and undocumented students would [most likely take advantage of/die for that money] so in other words, domestic students forgo the opportunity to pursue a lot of money in scholarships whereas ironically, the international students and the undocumented students do not have even the right to pursue that funding.

Claire Law

What financial aid is available for international students?

According to the Department of Homeland Security and by US Law, International students are required to present a "Statement of Finances" before a US University can issue an offer of admission and the Immigration form I-20. There are some colleges that offer merit scholarships to international students who are particularly gifted and talented. As an educational consultant I can help you identify these colleges but unless you are an athlete who can get recruited by an NCAA Division I team, much depends on your academic achievement. ??????,??????????????????

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

Financial Aid for International Students

The amount of financial aid available to international students varies from one institution to another, so it is very important when researching colleges/universities to find out how each school deals with this issue. Scholarship and financial aid offerings are usually accessible on each institution's website. Some schools do have need-based aid for international students, but this aid is usually quite limited. There are other institutions which have quite generous financial aid offerings for international students and state that they will meet the full financial need of any student, domestic or international, who is accepted to the school. Keep in mind, though, that your idea of your family's financial "need" could differ considerably from your financial need as calculated by the institution. Many schools offer merit-based aid which is available to international as well as domestic applicants, with decisions on the awarding of this aid being focused on the student's prior academic and/or leadership success. A student with outstanding skills in a particular academic discipline, athletics, music, art, or some other specialized area might qualify for aid or scholarships awarded through the relevant department within an institution. A few institutions in the U.S. offer international students the same tuition as in-state applicants, an amount which is considerably less than tuition costs for out-of-state domestic applicants. Often students who receive this type of tuition assistance are asked to participate in various cultural sharing activities within the school and local community as a way of repayment. International students should also consider approaching governmental agencies in their respective countries to find out if financial assistance is available for students studying in another country. Another source of financial aid could be various civic organizations within the student's country. Students who are citizens of the European Union would do well to look at institutions in the U.K., particularly Scotland, and the Republic of Ireland, as well as universities in the Netherlands and Finland, in which there are many English-language programs. Tuition rates for EU citizens applying to many/most institutions in those countries will usually be equivalent to the rates for citizens of the country in which the school is located, and these rates are often extremely economical! Hope that helps!