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Financial Aid for International Students in the United States

Attending college in the U.S. can come at a significant cost. While it might be worth the educational investment for some individuals, it is important to provide clarity about financial aid options for international students. Read carefully and make an informed decision about funding educational expenses if you are considering studying in the U.S.

In the U.S., citizens and eligible non-residents must complete the FAFSA in order to apply for financial aid from state and federal governments. In order to estimate need-based awards, universities and colleges use information that is submitted in the FAFSA. That said, international students are not eligible to receive government aid or grants. Sometimes colleges will still ask international students to complete the FAFSA to get a better idea of their overall financial needs.

International students still can receive financial aid from a variety of sources.

For starters, international students should check their colleges/universities for merit-based aid opportunities. Merit-based aid for international students is based on a student’s academic transcripts, TOEFL scores, and other extracurricular successes.

Some universities list outside scholarships applicable to international students. These scholarships aren’t directly given by the university, but rather awarded by outside organizations and foundations. Outside scholarships can help international students secure funds and therefore borrow less and save more.

Searching for these scholarships is not an easy task. The first step is to check the university’s website pages on financial aid and scholarships. Look for keywords like “outside scholarships.”

Before you make progress on a scholarship application, verify that international students are eligible to apply and receive the scholarship.

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