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3 Ways to Fund Your U.S. Studies as an International Student

Thursday | January 30, 2014 | by Cat Young

Budgeting expenses

The cost of studying in the United States can be a challenge for many international students studying abroad. Just paying for flights from abroad to the U.S. often means spending thousands of dollars! Although finding a way to afford a degree is not easy, I hope to share several ways that can help students bring the cost down.

Attend a Two-Year College to Fulfill Basic Course Requirements

Many colleges and universities in the U.S. have basic course requirements that all students must complete in order to earn a degree. These are often referred to as general education requirements. Often, two-year colleges are less expensive than four-year institutions so you can save money by taking these courses at a lower cost. That way, you would be able to transfer your course work to a four-year college or university. If you do very well in these courses, you may even be able to earn an academic scholarship!

Spend One Semester or One Year in the U.S.

There are many sponsoring organizations that work with countries around the world to help students spend one semester or a year studying at U.S. institutions. World Learning, IREX, Fulbright, and American Councils are just a few of them. These organizations provide scholarships to qualified applicants that would like the chance to experience life as a student in the U.S. and contribute to their local community after they return home. This is a great way to get to the U.S. and research institutions that offer financial awards to international students. It may help you find opportunities to earn a master’s or Ph.D. in the future. It is much easier to understand higher education in the U.S. once you are in the country and able to talk to professors and students who are more familiar with the system.

Find Institutions that Offer Scholarships to International Students

There are a number of colleges and universities that offer scholarships to international students that are interested in earning a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. Unfortunately, there is not one specific website that lists every institution that provides this type of funding. If you need help finding places that have financial aid for students from abroad, you can visit the EducationUSA website and contact an advisor in your country. An EducationUSA advisor can help you narrow down the states where you are interested in studying and show you how to review website information at public and private institutions. Be sure to consider your strengths when looking for financial assistance. If you are a good athlete, an excellent musician, or a top student, there is probably a scholarship out there for you.

The most important thing is to be flexible about where you are willing to study. There are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. If you are willing to explore a wide range of options, you are likely to find an institution that can offer you a great education at a price that is affordable for you and your family.

Cat Young

Cat Young is the Associate Director for International Admissions at SUNY Plattsburgh.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of World Education Services (WES).