When Should I Start?
Search for Financial Aid:
13-14 months before enrollment
Funding Application Deadlines:
Usually between December-March
Main Sources of Financial Aid
American colleges and universities do offer some financial aid for international students and, other than family resources, are the primary source of funding for international undergraduate students. More funding is usually available from private colleges and universities than state institutions. Financial Aid applications should be requested at the time a school’s entrance application is requested and must be submitted by the financial aid application deadline to be considered.
Types of University Scholarships
Full scholarships that cover total expenses are very rare. Funding is usually based on academic merit, though some colleges give funding based on need. A few colleges offer all international students, that are accepted at their institution, a tuition fee reduction. Some institutions also offer sports or performing arts scholarships. Be certain to determine from each individual institution what scholarships are available to international students and their eligibility criteria.
The College Board’s International Student Handbook, which lists all universities and whether or not they offer any type of financial aid to non-US citizens, can be found at select Educational Resource Stations.
Financial Aid from Other Sources
Loans are available from some U.S. universities or through certain U.S. lenders, but in most cases the universities and private lenders require that the student must have a U.S. citizen to co-sign the loan.
Students on an F-1 student visa are allowed to work on-campus, for up to 20 hours per week to help cover living expenses and to earn pocket money. All types of work must be approved by the International Student Adviser at the college or university. However, an on-campus job cannot be listed as a source of income for any official financial statements for a visa application. Off-campus employment is only possible for a student on an F-1 visa after the first year and must be approved by the INS. (Immigration and Naturalization Service)
Independent Funding Organizations
Funding from independent funding bodies, such as corporations, private individuals, charities or governmental organizations, is less common but still available. Finding such funding usually requires time and dedication to sift through listings in directories and on the Internet.