As an international student, it is critically important for you to understand the financial aid policies at different schools in the US. It is vital for you to take time to understand the financial aid picture at the schools you are considering to apply.
The following set of questions shall help students get a clear picture of a school's financial aid policies. Considering these could help your decision in applying to the college of your choice.
1. Are international students eligible for financial aid?
- This information is usually present on the school's website, yet is a matter which is subject to changes.
- Some schools offer scholarships and financial aid to need-based U.S. citizens, sometimes international students are awarded merit scholarships only.
In order to avoid such situations, it is better that students check with your counsellors, whether international students are considered for financial aids.
2. Will the aid be able to meet your full financial need?
- Do not hesitate to ask about this. Applying to schools that cannot meet your family's financial needs may be a waste of time.
- The school might not able to bridge the payment gap, if you have any.
Asking a counsellor about this can save you a lot of time while choosing colleges that can also meet your financial needs.
3. What are the factors that most influence the chances of you getting financial aid?
- Some schools admit students with a good score in their SAT, a high GPA and their participation in extracurricular activities. In such scenario, you must work on bringing up your grades and also be active in other activities as well.
- Although, schools won't necessarily admit students who are not good in their academics, regardless of their unique talents.
It is always good to be attentive with your academic performance as well.
4. How much tuition is expected to increase each year?
- Most of the colleges increase the amount of financial aid awarded to students, to make sure that you pay the same amount as the first year.
If the change in tuition is higher than you expect, it will be a burden to you and your family.
5. Are international students charged the same tuition and fees as American students?
- At most private colleges, the same fees is applicable to all students, while in public and state schools, international students generally pay out-of-state tuition, which can be a lot higher than the in-state tuition.
Paying tuition can be a complex part of studying abroad, and it is necessary and crucial to find out the amount you need to pay. It is important for you to enjoy and the get the most out of studying abroad without any hindrance.
These questions will help you get a clear sense of the financial aid policies of schools you intend to apply. You can also think of more questions to understand the financial aid offered in your choice of school, which shall make your application process easier.
Note: Also, make effort to do a careful research about each school's financial aid policies. Don't ask questions where the answers can be easily found online.