Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Archive

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Financial Aid for Undergraduates
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The main sources of funding can be the following:

• funding provided by student's home country
• financial aid provided by colleges and universities
• financial aid provided by various funds
• financial aid provided by the U.S. Government (student exchange programs)
• lending, loans

Colleges and universities can provide financial aid in the following main formats of scholarship:

• MERIT-BASED SCHOLARSHIPS - based on students' academic achievements, regardless of their financial situation
• NEED-BASED SCHOLARSHIPS - taking into consideration students’ financial situation but also strongly depending on their academic achievements
• ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS - scholarships for considerable achievements in sport

In the USA, there are only a few so-called "need-blind admission" universities, which make decisions about enrolling students on the basis of numerous documents, test results, in some cases - interviews. These decisions do not in any way depend on financial aspect, i. e. on the students' capabilities to pay for their education. All these colleges and universities are quite prestigious, so to enter them and obtain financial aid from them, students need to have an extremely high academic potential and demonstrate expertise in different aspects of science and culture, as well as community involvement. Here are examples of such universities:

1. Amherst College (Amherst, Massachusetts)

2. Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

3. Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)

4. Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey)

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

6. Dartmouth College (Concord, New Hampshire)

Currently more than 350 US colleges & universities award more than $20,000 per year to qualified international students, and almost 100 institutions have awarded more than $40,000/year. At least, 85 colleges and universities regularly award full funding (covering tuition, fees, and living expenses) to international students who use EducationUSA centers. In addition to our list, you can use the search option on the web site; after entering the data you are interested in you will get information about many universities that match your request. It is also a good idea to subscribe for the mailing list on current grants and scholarships moderated by EducationUSA centers. These centers are often visited by representatives of USA colleges and universities, who provide them with up-to-date information about financial support opportunities available to international students. The centers, in turn, disseminate this information among students.

You also need to keep in mind that the competition for university financial aid is very high. International students compete not only with students from other countries, but also with American candidates. Only those who have outstanding proficiency in English and excellent academic record can claim financial aid.
Certainly, active community involvement is always taken into consideration by universities in the USA. Describe this experience in details in your essay; remember to mention it in your application form. Give examples of the projects you have carried out. Explain how they have influenced your future activity. It will be great if your teacher or supervising instructor mentions your active involvement in the school life in his / her recommendation letter. It might play an important role in the process of making decisions on your enrollment and financial support.

Yes, there are scholarships which are called athletic, or sport, scholarships. They are awarded for achievements in different (although not all) kinds of sport. The process of applying for and obtaining this type of financial aid is quite complicated and can take a lot of time. Meanwhile, it can require submitting additional documents (a sportsman's profile, video materials, etc). It is also necessary to keep in mind that the most important role in obtaining such a scholarship is played by the coach.

Here is the list of the websites that will help you to find answer to the most urgent questions related to the search of universities that award athletic scholarships:

Best sport colleges and universities links

Banks in the U.S. give student loans to citizens of other countries only if they have a co-signer who is an American citizen who will be responsible for paying off the loan if you are not able to do it yourself. An alternative to this option can be taking a loan in your home country or searching for a university that awards scholarships to international students.

A university can give a scholarship for one academic year with the option of renewal for the whole period of study. The only requirement is that the student has to have good academic record during all these years to deserve the scholarship. The decision on scholarship renewal is made every year on the basis of the student's academic achievements and recommendations of his / her teachers - or coaches, if the scholarship in question is awarded for sport activity. It is also necessary to consider general financial situation of the institution, which can change with time and depend on the economic situation in the country.

You need to study very carefully the requirements of the institutions you are applying to. Keep in mind that the standard list of the documents required for applying to colleges and universities in the USA can be found on this website in the "Useful information" section: In addition to this standard set of documents, you need to fill in a financial aid application form (or forms) and send it (or them) to the special department that deals with financial aid allocation. Make sure that you meet the financial aid deadline. Many colleges and universities that offer need-based financial aid will accept the so-called CSS Profile - a standard form developed by the College Board. If this is the case, there will be a link to this form on the university's website. There is also a group of universities which have developed their own forms to be filled in. You will find these forms and instructions on filling them on the websites of these universities.

Those who apply to private institutions have more opportunities to get financial support, but it does not in any way mean that public colleges or universities do not have financial aid for international students and you must exclude them from your list. It depends on a university. For example, some public universities give discounts on tuition to students from other countries equaling them to residents of their state. In this case an international student gains a lot, because the tuition fee in public universities is much smaller than in private ones. However, it is necessary to admit that when distributing funds among new students, public universities favor residents of their state, because they get fees from them as taxes. Meanwhile, private universities are funded from different sources that are not connected to taxes, and thus have more opportunities to find financial support for international students.
Yes, there are colleges and universities in the USA that award research grants to undergraduate students. The size of these grants, as a rule, is smaller (not more than $ 4,000-5,000 per year) than the size of similar grants given to graduate students.

Can’t find your questions answered in these FAQs? Click on the Ask an Adviser button below to contact your local EducationUSA Advising Center.