2 years ago
Admissions Advice


are there any scholarships for international students?

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2 answers

2 years ago


I'm responding to this because I think too many International students think there is an abundance of free money out there for them to travel to the US and attend colleges. That is not the case and I'm going to explain why.

There are 2 kinds of scholarships.

1. Merit Scholarships based on your academic record, awards, honors, test scores, class rank etc.

2. Financial Aid Grants from private institutions mostly. This is money you do not have have to repay to the college.

90% of aid available to International Students is in the form of financial aid. And about 10% of money are merit scholarships. One big reason there is not a lot of academic aid is because it is very hard for International students who often have different levels of compulsory educations (some countries only go up to 9th or 10th grade), different course rigor (many do not have APs, IBs, Dual enrollment, honors), different grading systems and a lack of American Standardized Test Scores (SAT, ACT) to compete for merit scholarships since they come from marginalized backgrounds. So if you attend a wealthy private boarding school in Switzerland that has all the same or better resources as the best American schools, you can get certainly get merit awards. But if you are come from a poor country with no resources, well unless you are certifiably the smartest kid in your city and have evidence to vouch for that, it is very difficult.

American Higher Education is divided into Private colleges and Public State colleges. Public ones have no incentive to give free merit scholarships to International students. Some of them do give merit aid but it might only cover 10%-20% of tuition. So if you are applying to UCLA, UC Berkeley, UVA, U Michigan, you are out of luck. But don't feel too bad since if you are an American applying out of state, you rarely get Merit Aid anyway. This is very problematic for Americans even if you live 200 miles from the school. Lets say you live in Nevada and want to got to UCLA, it's probably cheaper to apply to private college like Pomona or Stanford in CA because it will still cost you $60,000 to attend UCLA from Nevada even though it's 200 miles away.

Private colleges do not have to abide by any State rules with regards to who they serve and they can pretty much accept anyone they want. Therefore by this fact alone, you can understand that the wealthiest and most powerful and influential colleges have the most aid to give to international students. The amount of financial aid available is not only concentrated at the top 100 schools in America but doled out depending on how poor you are. So to get the best financial aid package in America you have to meet 2 thresholds. 1.) You have to qualify and be accepted into these schools based on your application file which includes, GPA, course rigor, test scores, essays, recommendations, Extracurricular activities, etc. 2.) You have to meet a certain standard of being financially marginalized as evidenced by the CSS Profile (sometimes applicants fill out the FAFSA as well even if they can't get Federal GOVT money). These documents require you and your parents tax records, bank statements and any records of assets like equipment, land, real estates, vehicles and anything of value. So if you are super smart, and poor, you can get the most financial aid in America as an International student. If you are super smart and middle or upper class, your aid will be commensurate with your families ability to pay. The colleges themselves determine what your ability to pay is which is often referred to as the NET PRICE to parents. Regardless of the aid package, you will most likely have to hold a part time job at the college as well and this is called WORK STUDY. It often takes 10-15 hours of your week to do and they are not complicated jobs. Other costs like travel, technology equipment (laptops, cell phones, printers, tablets), health insurance, clothing, dorm furnishings (bedding/towels/storage), toiletries are things that all college students have to budget additionally since colleges are not hotels and expect you to equip your empty dorm room accordingly. On often large expense that Intl' students fail to budget is the cost of staying in their host country while college is not in session. That typically is the summer session or June/July/August. At some schools that might also include winter break if it's an extended period like 1 month. Unless you are enrolled to attend the Summer Semester which is atypical for most, you will either have to have funds to temporarily move out of your dorm to temp housing somewhere in the city and pay for all your expense while you wait for classes to start up again. Int'l students with means often just fly back to their home countries and fly back a couple days before school starts again. I'm going into more detail here because, it's important to naive international students to have the facts about scholarships and financial aid.

The last thing which is a reality that few will be honest about is that often admit rates for Int'l students are lower than even the super competitive admit rates. I know that at schools like MIT or Caltech or even Dartmouth, the Int'l admit rates are closer to 2% not the published 4-6% the average rate. So you really have to factor in that you may have to apply to twice as many colleges as Americans in order to have a chance at getting accepted in the first place.

There are many great College Vine resources about International students and I'm going to post a few links here. Feel free to ask questions but try to do some homework first okay. Most CV members are not going to post these lengthy responses so try to ask 1 specific question at a time.



2 years ago

There are scholarships and grants that you can get, but they will require you to be an excellent student. Don't count on a full-ride just because you are international. You will be competing against some really good students and you will need to prove you are better than them. While you might get some scholarships I really wouldn't count on a full-ride unless you are a super good student.

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