If you’ve taken the time to plan out your study abroad budget, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with how you can afford all of the expenses. Here are a few ideas on how to pay for college.
While some institutions provide financial aid for international students, the vast majority of students must pay for their undergraduate education with personal funds. Most US government-sponsored funds are for US citizens or permanent residents, so your educational costs will largely be your responsibility. Consider the following:
- Saving for school – How much can you save for studying abroad before you leave? Can you work part- or full-time while in your home country? Most student visas do not allow off-campus work for the first year of academic study and most part-time on-campus work pays very little.
- Family or sponsors – Have you talked with your family or others who may be willing to help you finance your educational expenses?
- Scholarships – Have you applied for scholarships and submitted all required documentation? When will you be notified of the results? It’s a good idea to start applying for scholarships at least 18 months in advance.
- Loans – Can you get a loan in your home country for studying abroad?
Most US residents pay for their college education with a mixture of scholarships or grants, student loans which need to be repaid, and maintaining jobs while they study. These options may be limited for international students, as the US government reserves most scholarships, grants, and federal student loans for US citizens.
However, depending on the schools you are applying to, you may receive a financial aid package, especially if you are applying to be a graduate student, based on specific requirements such as financial need, citizenship or study in a particular field. If your school of choice doesn’t offer financial aid, you may have to seek out financial aid opportunities in your home country.
Off-Campus Part-Time Job
Once you have completed a full year of academic study, you may be eligible to work off-campus part-time. This may vary depending on your visa requirements, permission from your school, and approval from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Also, be aware that if you do find a job in the US, you may have to pay US federal income tax on the money you earn.