Cost / Fee / Financial Aid

Tuition and fees at colleges do vary based on the program of study and whether the college is public or private. Nevertheless, the cost of attending a two-year institution is usually lower than that of a four-year college in the same geographic area. This is the case even for international students attending public colleges where all out-of-state students must pay a higher rate than state residents.

You should check with the colleges about any scholarships they offer that are open to international students, almost all of the funds available to students will come from the federal government or local government, and are set aside specifically for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. There is a slightly better chance of acquiring financial assistance at private colleges.

It is important to start your financial planning at least 12 months before you intend to study in the United States. Assessing Personal Funds Consult your parents and other family sponsors to find out how much money they can commit each year to your education. Try to raise as much as you can from family sources, because most scholarship awards, if available, cover only part of the total educational and living costs and may not be available to first-year international students.

All types of scholarships and financial aid for international students are highly competitive and require excellent academic records.

Home Country Funds: Conduct research at home to find possible funding from local government, corporate, or foundation sources. Although these sources are not found in all countries, you could reduce your educational cost with scholarships from local organizations. Funding From Colleges: Meet with an educational adviser to learn how to research available financial aid for international students. Do not assume that all colleges award financial aid. Be sure to tell the admissions office your country of citizenship and request information on financial aid available to non-U.S. citizens.

If offered, financial aid is usually made up of a number of different types of assistance, including grants and scholarships and occasionally loans or part-time work programs.

Financial need is the difference between what you and your family can afford to contribute and the estimated cost of attending the college.

Financial assistance from colleges is awarded at the beginning of the academic year and is rarely available for students entering mid-year in January or at other times. More aid is available for freshman students than for those transferring in from other institutions. Students who have already proven themselves at a college may find it easier to obtain financial assistance from that college than new students.

Sports Scholarships : Some U.S. colleges offer opportunities for gifted student athletes to play for the college team as a means of paying for their education.

Loans : Your educational adviser may have information on loan programs for which you may be eligible. You must usually have a U.S. citizen co-signer to act as a guarantor for any loans from U.S. loan programs, and in most cases you must already be enrolled in a U.S. university before you apply.

Best Bargains : Look for the colleges that offer you the highest quality education at the lowest cost.