Studying in the U.S. can be very expensive. You have to pay for books, room and board, and other daily expenses—in addition to tuition.
Luckily there are financial aid options that can help you pay for your education. You even may be able eligible to receive financial aid if you are an eligible non-U.S. citizen. If you are an international student, you are not eligible for U.S. federal student aid. There are, however, other sources of student aid and scholarships for which international students are eligible to apply. The following information will help you understand the financial aid options available.
Different Types of Financial Aid
There are a number of sources of financial aid, the following describes each type:
- Federal aid: This type of financial assistance is provided by the U.S. government. The aid can include:
- Grants–money that does not have to be paid back
- Work-study programs–students receive payments for work done on campus
- Loans–money that must be repaid, including interest. However, federal student loans offer lower interest rates than private (bank) loans. Federal loans are either subsidized, meaning the government pays the interest while you are studying, or unsubsidized, where you are responsible for paying the full interest.
- State aid: You may be eligible to receive aid from the state you live in if you are a U.S. permanent resident. Visit your state’s higher education agency for more information.
- Institutional aid: The university or college you enroll in may also offer scholarships based on academic merit, financial need, athletic or artistic ability, or socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Private scholarships: This type of financial aid is provided by different organizations independent of government or institutional aid. You do not have to repay scholarship aid or pay to apply and receive scholarship money.
- Private loans: Some banks may offer student loans but interest rates are much higher than government loans and can be difficult to repay.
Contact the college or university you want to attend to learn more about the financial aid offered to international students and legal permanent residents.
You can also visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website for more information on eligibility.