Overwhelmed by the cost of an American education? Researching funding options for your education can be painful. But don’t let it stop you from pursuing and fulfilling your dreams.
Think of education as the first step in to a world of great potential, a career that will pay for it many times over. Education is one of the best investments you can make – it’s an investment in yourself.
The best method to approach it is create an accurate estimate for the overall cost of your study in America along with an accurate budget that includes components such as books, rent, utilities, groceries, meals, and maybe some entertainment such as travel to explore the area around you, or the country. Check out our blog post on creating a budget for your education.
For funding your education, you may have to rely on financial aid packages, which includes grants, scholarships, loans, work/study options and summer internships/co-ops. Spend sufficient time to thoroughly research all funding options available to you.
Few U.S. universities are able to offer significant financial aid to international students. It is critical for you and your family to be able to pay for education, housing and food costs. Scholarships for small and varying amounts can cover a portion of the total cost for an academic year in the U.S.
Find out more information from the university of your choice before applying there. Be sure to check with your family, government, home institution and other local organizations as a source for funding your education, in entirety or parts. You will have better chances without competing with students from all over the world. Also, if the scholarship program originated from your country, the process may be easier for you.
Loans also can make it possible for you to study in the U.S. There are also international loans that are available. Loans should not be taken lightly since it will be with you for a significant portion of your life after college; it could be with you for as long as 10 years or in some cases even more. Rigorous research should be conducted before deciding on a particular loan to avoid paying exorbitant monthly payments. Compare interest rates and terms and conditions at various financial institutions to find the best deal for the long term.
Not to scare you away from taking loans, but imagine a scenario where you could end up paying as much as $2000 a month for 10 years or so (this is only one of the many possible scenarios based on the interest rate, the term of the loan and the initial loan principal).
But always keep in mind that in the long run, it is definitely worth it since you will secure your future with a high paying job. Your best bet would be to secure as much funding through scholarships or grants before determining the amount of loan you need.
This has been a fairly popular option: an estimated 75% of all full-time students at U.S. universities hold at least part-time jobs. With an F-1 student visa, you may qualify for work/study programs at your university. You should be able to search for these jobs on the university website or contact the human resources department for more information. There may be some restrictions imposed on the number of hours you are able to work in the US depending on the visa type.
Securing such work/study is important for financing some of expenses, no doubt. But education and grades are more important than money at this point, so be sure not to stress yourself out by overloading your schedule with too much work along with a full load of classes. Advantages to a part-time job is the extra money along with the practical work experience for your resume; find a balance that works for you.
Entering your third and fourth year, you may be able to find internship or co-op opportunities in your major field of study. Attend career fairs and search your major departments’ website to be exposed to these opportunities. This is a great way of supplementing your scholarship or loans with additional income while gaining meaningful work experiences in your major of study. Having such work experience on your resume makes you a viable candidate for future full-time employment post-graduation.
Need help with deciding on the funding best for you? Sign up for our free consultation here and we will work out the best scenario for you.