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International Student – Apply For Financial Aid

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Financial aid can be need-based or merit-based, depending on the student profile, and can warrant a separate application process, depending on certain universities. Financial aid would be the money that comes from a third party, be it the college funds to help pay for the college degree. These grants, work-study arrangements, loan scholarships, tuition waivers, and actual scholarships subsidize the premium rates of a college degree. They also ensure that a student need not be heavily in debt upon graduation.

Here are some of the critical aspects to remember as a student.

  • Start planning early to gain the financial aid you need, including sources and the type of aid.
  • Financial aid is either need-based or merit-based, or both if your family income falls within a certain threshold.
  • The FAFSA form is required for federal aid and is separate from your college application. Also, it applies only to American residents and citizens.
  • The College Scholarship Service Profile should also be submitted to get maximum reach across colleges.
  • Despite having received a certain amount of aid, if you are yet short by $15, 000 and above, please ask for more aid, even if you need to submit further paperwork to justify your need. Often, parents have more than one child hitting college within two or three years of each other, which means that contributing $23,000 towards tuition for the present child would be burdensome.

Such hardships would be grounds to ask for enhanced financial aid.

Need-based Financial Aid

Most universities understand that the student can have certain financial restrictions. They are prepared to enable admitted students with aid, so the choice is not restricted for want of money. FAFSA, Sallie Mae, and CSS are excellent avenues for residents and US citizens to pay for their education.

There are few such scholarships for international students, but these scholarships are as merit-based as they are need-oriented. An excellent SAT/ACT score will also push one up the list regarding need-based scholarships, as there would be many students seeking admission. Also, tax rebates on borrowing for education make the burden less cumbersome, if only just so.

Most institutional or grant-based scholarships fall within this category for international students, such as Yale undergraduate scholarships, University of Memphis scholarships, ACI Foundation Scholarship, Onsi Sawiris Scholarship, Rotary Peace Fellowship program, and several others.

Merit-based Financial Aid

Private colleges and Trusts/Foundations in your home country will offer scholarships to pursue education overseas, especially for students with excellent profiles and successful admission to prestigious colleges

For merit-based aid, one will have to present one’s profile with academic merit that meets or exceeds the stipulated standards. Merit could also mean special consideration, especially when it pertains to sports, the arts, STEM, or any student’s outstanding achievements that can be deemed as being meritorious, especially those achievements that have special significance or broad impact.

When applying for the scholarships offered by grants or trusts, one would best understand the underlying ethos and motivation of the grant/trust. There will be special-interest trusts, which encourage students to study fields like Social Sciences, Genetics, Computational Biology, etc., which will have a widespread impact in fields like polity, medical research, and so on. At the end of the day, these trusts look toward furthering the cause of society, so the student would be best advised to evaluate their profile and check if the values and ethos of the fund matches with the student’s own outlook on education.

Yet another factor would be that there are many graduate scholarships available for students like Inlaks Foundation, KC Mahindra, Tata Scholarship, etc. For undergraduate students, however, the trend is slowly catching on, where students are indeed going overseas to study fields like STEM, Liberal Arts, Pure Sciences, etc.

So undergraduate aspirants would be best advised to seek the assistance of the academic counselor or international student’s admissions office on the college’s policy on scholarships and financial aid. Most colleges offer financial aid to their students and encourage international students to be mindful of the deadlines. Applying in the priority or regular deadline would be a wholesome strategy to score an advantageous scholarship, as most are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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