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Funding your Education - Study in USA

Before you submit your application form, it is extremely important to make a decision regarding the funds that will be required to study in the U.S. in case you are granted admission. This is essential as you will be required to mention whether you wish to apply for financial aids or not in the application form itself.

Keeping that fact in mind, it becomes absolutely necessary to create a rough estimate of costs before you apply to colleges. The basic advantage of creating an estimate is to calculate the total costs that you will have to incur while studying in a particular college in the U.S.

This estimate should be created while considering all the factors that will affect your cost of education.
After calculating the total costs that you will have to incur, the main questions you will have to ask yourself are:

Will my parents be able to afford this college/course?

If yes, then what will be the source of funding?

And if not, then are there any financial aids available? 

Most international students choose to study in the U.S because their parents can afford the costs of pursuing a 4 year Bachelor level course in the U.S. Keep in mind that this does not mean that you have to pay the fees for the 4 years in one go. Most colleges will require you to pay the fees semester – wise or yearly. This enables international students and their families to create financial plans through which they can arrange funds in parts and manage to sustain the high costs involved in studying in the U.S.

You should be very clear about your source of funding before you apply to a college. It is not a good idea to be uncertain with regards to the financial aspects involved in studying in the U.S. Keep in mind that you will not get a visa until and unless you can prove that you will be able to fund your stay and education in America.

If you feel that your parents will not be able to afford to fund your study in the U.S, then you should find out about the various types of Financial Aids available for International students and see whether either one of them can make the education affordable for you.

Financial Aids:

The financial aids available for international students studying in the U.S are much more compared to other countries. But sadly, most of these financial aids are reserved for students who are pursuing graduate level studies in the U.S. However, there are a limited amount of funds available for undergraduate students who have exceptional and academic records and want to pursue their studies in the U.S. These aids are available in the following forms:

Merit Based Scholarships

The most common type of financial aid available for international students is in the form of Merit Based Scholarships. These scholarships are given to exceptionally gifted or talented students who either have a brilliant academic record or have exceptional talent in other fields like athletics, art, music etc. Such scholarships might or might not fund your complete education, but can certainly contribute towards reducing the total cost of education for international students studying in the U.S.

Merit based scholarships are very competitive and are only offered to only the very best of all the applicants. It is advisable to speak to your college authorities beforehand and find out about the availability of such scholarships and corresponding requirements to be eligible for them.

Need Based Aids

There are a few colleges and universities in the U.S who offer generous need based financial aids to undergraduate international students. ‘Need Based’ aids are granted to the students who can prove that they are below the particular financial level that is required to afford the studies in that college, but not below the required academic level to be a part of the college.

Institutions that provide need based aids usually admit students purely on the basis of merit and do not consider their ability to pay for the education during the admission process. Certain colleges like the Harvard University offer full need based aids to international students. This means that the applicant should pay whatever he/she can afford, and the rest of the education will be funded by the institution itself.

Even though this seems like an easy option, it is not. Most of the institutions that offer such aids are extremely competitive and getting admission in them is a task in itself. However, if you’re brilliant enough, then there is a big chance that you might be awarded some form of aid on the basis of your need so as to make the education affordable for you and your family.


Apart from the above financial aids that are offered by colleges and universities, International students can apply for loan in various national and international banks. These loans are provided to students who meet certain criteria that can range from exceptional academic record to the availability of collateral.

Indian banks are more likely to provide you with such loans as compared to international banks. It is advisable to go to the bank and find out whether you’re eligible for such loans and if yes, then what would be the terms and conditions of the loan.

Certain international banks also provide such loans but most of them require American consigners who are willing to pay the remaining debt in case you fail to do so.

Part Time Work

Most International students are allowed to do on – campus part – time jobs. Such jobs can assist you in funding a part of your living expenses and can help you live a more comfortable live in the U.S during your studies.

However, it is important to not make the mistake of relying on such jobs as not all students get the permission to do such jobs. Even if you manage to get an on campus job, you will only be allowed to work under strict restrictions which will include a work limit of only 20 hours per week when the semester is in session. Therefore, do consider these jobs to be an additional ‘help’ for your funding, but do not rely on them for funding your living expenses or tuition fee. 

Even though all the types of financial aids above are available for International students, managing to get either one is very difficult as the competition is very tough. It is best to not rely on such aids and find ways to fund your education yourself.

However, applying for such aids is always beneficial as you might qualify for either of the aids and manage to reduce your total expenditure by significant amounts.

Study in USA