There are three basic forms of financial aid:
US students can rely on just one of these forms of financial aid to fund college, although many use two or even all three. International students have even fewer options. Here’s a look at a few forms of financial aid to help you determine what it is you might be eligible for.
Student loans are forms of financial aid that must be paid back with interest. These loans can come from the federal government, the state government, private lenders (such as a bank) or even the school you plan to attend. Keep in mind that most international students aren’t eligible for US federal student loans.
Scholarships are forms of financial aid that do not need to be repaid. You can get a scholarship based on a wide range of criteria, such as academic, athletic or creative ability. They are also awarded for personal essays and to students pursuing particular fields of study, students who are part of underrepresented groups and students who live in a particular area or region. Some scholarships are awarded because of financial need. Scholarships come from many sources, including schools, charities and private businesses. University Language Services even awards its own scholarship! Grants, like scholarships, are forms of gift aid that do not need to be repaid.
Grants can generally be used for various college expenses, but most scholarships can be used only for annual tuition or student housing costs. Also, grants generally come from government offices or non-profit organizations, while scholarships come from a variety of sources. Each grant and scholarship must be applied for individually.
Attending a US college or university can be expensive. Not all international students are eligible for all types of financial aid, especially aid from the federal government.
Contact the schools you are applying to, research what types of financial aid you can receive and regularly search for scholarship competitions open to international students. If you do this, your US college education expenses are more likely to decrease.