Sources of Financial Aid

Financial Aid for International Students

Finding financial aid for international students is difficult and having sufficient finances can play a role in the admission process, especially at the most prestigious and selective universities. Competition for admission is so fierce that U.S. schools can get qualified students who do not require financial assistance.  Therefore, students who can pay for their college education without receiving financial aid have a greater chance of being accepted than students who require considerable financial assistance.

However, it is still advisable to apply for financial aid. If a student needs financial assistance and does not apply for it, the school could admit them and not offer any aid, which is the same as an outright rejection. Even when schools provide some form of financial aid it is not uncommon for international students to still not have enough financial resources to pay for the cost of education.

Listed below are the rankings of financial aid sources for international students (#1 being the most likely source of financial aid and #5 being the most difficult source.)

#1. Family

The biggest source of financial aid for international students is their family. A large number of international undergraduates (up to 80%) receive assistance from their families. Funding for international students is very limited and extremely competitive and families are often the best way to get funds.

#2. Loans for International Student

It is fairly easy to receive a loan to fund your education in the United States. However, there are some requirements that applicants must meet.  Visit our page about international student loans here to learn more.

#3. Home Countries

International students often have a good chance to qualify for financial aid from their own country. Many students receive financial aid specifically aimed at students studying in the United States. This aid can come from the governmental organizations, businesses, or religious groups. However, if students receive these forms of aid they are often required to return their home country when their education is complete.

#4. U.S. Universities

Some colleges and universities in the United States offer limited amounts of financial aid to international students. The easiest way to find out if a university offers such aid is to contact the financial aid department of the school. Some colleges (mainly private liberal arts schools) can reduce tuition for students with exceptional academic records but this is not an option at most public universities.
#5. Scholarships for International Students

Competition for scholarships is very strong. However, there are thousands of different scholarships that target many different kinds of students. Visit our page about international scholarships here to learn more.

There are, unfortunately, few financial aid options for international students. Generally, there are more opportunities for graduates students than undergraduates. So, if you are determined to studying in the United States, and can not afford the expense of an undergraduate degree, then finish your university degree in your home country and try applying to graduate schools in the United States.