Paying for College

Paying for College

Studying in the US is not only a popular choice but also an expensive one. Studying in the US means improving the prospects, better opportunities, and quality education but all of this comes with a high price tag. So how an international student pays for college in the US? For answering this first you need to know how much an international student has to pay annually for college. There is no fixed fee system for college the fee structure varies from college to college and course to course.

International students mostly prefer private colleges. They charge between $50,000 to $75000 annually. Even though the headline costs of studying in the US are seemingly high, involving a string of five-digit numbers, it's worth enquiring about funding options and fees before you decide, as it may be less expensive than you initially think. Some student funds and scholarships are better than others. If you got admission into your dream college and there is no mention of any grant or scholarship in the acceptance letter then what should you do? There is an upside that most of the students who get into college receive financial aid that reduces the college finances to a large extent.

This system of financial aid is a bit confusing so you don't have to worry about how it works. You can get financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, and student loans. These can both be need and merit-based. So, take a look at the following ways to help you pay for college.

Select an affordable school

First of all, you should select an affordable school so that you can somehow manage to pay for that. Being an international student, you surely won’t go to a community college but some private college. If you want to have a complete 4 years graduate degree from an expensive college then you should look for a college that has more scholarships and aid. Your first shot at financial aid will be your institution in the form of fellowships and assistantships.

Scholarships and Grants

You can start your scholarship search in your high school. Various colleges offer sports and other merit-based scholarships. These merit-based scholarships are awarded based on skills such as artistic ability, academic record, athletic ability, TOFEL scores, or musical ability. So, you can start applying for scholarships in your senior year of high school.

You don't have to pay back scholarships as they are not loans. You can search among thousands of scholarships to find the best one for you. You can use a scholarship search tool for that purpose. Not all scholarships require you to submit FAFSA. Many scholarships have their applications.

However, certain websites have many scholarship resources to help you find the best one.

●      United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

●      College Board

●      International Education Financial Aid

●      Mobility International USA

●      Abroad Planet Scholarship Resources

●      International Scholarships

●      FastWeb

Funding from Home Country

For an international student, your home country (either companies or organizations) or government can be a funding source. So thoroughly research your country for all types of foreign education scholarships and grants. There might be some conditions like serving the country for some time when your education is completed but such scholarships are mostly funded properly.

Scholarships from International Organizations

Several international organizations grant students scholarships to study in the US. Mostly you have to apply for these scholarships from your home country. These include:

●      Fulbright Commission

●      Soros Foundation


●      WHO

●      The United Nations

●      World Council of Churches

Emphasize College for Aid

It is no doubt that you can easily haggle over financial aid. Students should write a formal letter of appeal and then make a phone call emphasizing why are a better fit for a college scholarship or aid.

You can also tell if you received better financial aid from any other college of comparison. It is best if you explain your financial situation. Your family income and expenses might have changed recently so it is best if you make the college notice it. Most colleges grant aid based on previous years' income however you can make them aware of your current situation as well.

Work-study jobs

International students aren’t eligible for work-study programs. The students of the F, M, and J categories are strictly monitored for the jobs they do in the US. So, for an international student employment opportunities are complex during study tenure. If you want any employment then you first have to authorize yourself and seek guidance from your college’s International Student Advisor. But such employments are not enough for paying up your dues. They will fulfill your personnel needs at best.

Private Scholarships

There are many private scholarships available from different companies, community groups, and non-profit organizations. You can use such institutions for financial aid. For guidance, you can contact your high school guidance counselor to help you find a good private scholarship. Such institutions sponsor talented students under various agreements and you will have to agree to all the conditions before you take on the private scholarship program.

Borrow Private loans

Private loans are to be considered the last resort. For considering private loans you will have to do a good search and compare lenders and it is good if you have a cosigner. You must find a lender that offers the least amount of interest. You can also go for a no cosigner loan if you don't have a cosigner. Also, look for the best borrower protection services and repayment criteria. Do not forget to check the option of forbearance if you are struggling with payments. Do not take on too much debt.

These are some methods to pay for college if you are facing issues covering your expenses. Yes, studying in the US is expensive. Depending on the university and the course, international students pay between $52,000 and $75,000 a year. International students have many options and opportunities, but the cost is high. Additionally, you can get support from government and private organizations as well as get financial aid and scholarships from international universities.