The financial aid system in the United States can be a very baffling system to navigate through if you are not living in the United States, but we want to provide you some tips that can make it much easier for you in the long run. The two principal sources of your financial aid will be from the United States Government (which is scarce unless you are a candidate for citizenship) or from the university which you are accompanying.
Government aid is difficult to find for international students, unless you are in the procedure of becoming an American resident. If you are going to try and gain financial aid from the federal government, please check out the Student Aid International Students FAQ page at http://studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/non-us-citizens. There is more information there about the aid that you may or may not be able to gain as an international student. In brief, it is highly dependent on your immigration status, which visa that you are staying.
Financial aid from your university is indeed where a better part of your college funding is going to come from if you are an international student, which is probably why many universities are liberal with funding for students from other countries. Scholarships, grants, and even loans can be made obtainable from the university that you are seeking to attend.
What are some of the requirements that can get into your university-based financial aid? Here are some of the most common factors:
Your home country: Some universities offer particular scholarships for students from particular countries.
Your financial need: How much money will you need to take a part in school?
Your level of education: Some universities will offer assistantships and internships to international students at the graduate level (your expediency will vary depending on your visa). Some scholarships and grant-in-aid are only available to undergraduate students, as well.
Activities you were engaged with during your secondary schooling: Were you engaged in athletics or other “extracurricular” activities? You may be capable to get funding because of your involvement.
The degree that you are pursuing: Particular universities will have funding for students that are pursuing certain degrees.
Grades from prior education: Your secondary or undergraduate education grades can help you with eligibility for funding from your university.
When you appeal to your university as an international student, you will listen from your financial aid office briefly after. They will help you get started with any of the paperwork and documentation essential to apply for funding.
You may also be capable to gain financial aid from scholarships. We have more information about scholarships for international students on our page about Scholarships.
If you need support with anything in regards to finances for your education as an international student, contact the financial aid office and/or the international studies office at the university that you are accompanying. They will have more information available for you and can help you navigate the ins and outs of the paperwork and the process.