By far the number one question we get from students and parents is how to pay for college in the United States. Start your financial planning as early as possible. Each year international students receive significant amounts of financial assistance for their studies. However, competition is high. Applications for financial aid go together with applications for admission. As you work to develop a budget for your studies, keep in mind that your overall costs include tuition, fees, and living expenses. Actual costs vary by institution, so refer to each institution’s website for specific costs. When budgeting, you should estimate that tuition costs typically increase 6-10% each year.
Stoodnt counselors can help you distinguish yourself in a highly competitive applicant pool so that you have a better chance of competing for admission with financial aid. Counselors have access to resources that help you learn about scholarships and new programs. Counselors also share current information about financial aid opportunities.
Here are some of the options you have:
University Scholarships. One of the best sources of financial aid can be the college you attend. Universities provide aid through grants and scholarships which do not have to be repaid and can be offered based on need or merit. For example:
Tata Scholarships at Cornell University – This is US$25 million endowment from the Tata Education and Development Trust that supports around 20 Indian scholars at Cornell. To be eligible, it’s necessary to first be accepted into an undergraduate course at Cornell, and then apply for need-based financial aid.
The British Council – The British Council recently announced the single largest number of scholarships ever launched in a year in India, by offering around 370 scholarships worth almost 1 million pounds. There are 36 UK institutions participating in this program and scholarships will be offered for 260 undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
2. Current Learning Institutes. The institution you currently attend could be a resource for financial aid. It’s important to speak to your school and department heads to understand if any scholarships are available and what their admission criteria are. For example:
Davis United World Colleges Scholars Program – All graduates of UWC schools who gain admission on their own merits to selected U.S. colleges or universities qualify for need-based scholarship support through the program. The program currently supports over 2, 700 scholars at 94 partner colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Vedica Programme at Agnes Scott College is an opportunity for promising young Indian women to receive an exclusive four-year undergraduate degree at a 127-year old, leading women’s college in America. With a Vedica Scholarship of $20, 000 per year (fixed for four years) available for 10 deserving candidates annually, the Vedica Programme at ASC includes a reputed BA in liberal arts as well as full participation in Agnes Scott’s signature SUMMIT leadership development and global learning initiative.
3. Community Organizations. It is quite common for community groups to encourage and support exceptional members in their academic endeavors. For example:
Mustard Seed Foundation (The Harvey Fellows Program) – Provides scholarships to Christian students who are pursuing graduate studies at premier universities in fields considered to be underrepresented by Christians and who possess a unique vision to impact society through their vocations.
The tGELF Khemka International Scholarships 2016 – The Global Education & Leadership Foundation (tGELF) envisions to build a community of ethical, altruistic leaders on the planet who work together to improve the state of the world. Their mission is to identify and select these leaders through partnerships with local and global communities and organizations who are committed to improving the state of our Inner and Outer worlds.
4. Private Organizations. There are a number of trusts, foundations and private groups that look to aid exceptional candidates. The criterion varies depending on the ethos of the institution, but you will have to detail why you are the right candidate. For example:
Rotary Global Grant Scholarship Program – Supports international study at the graduate level and funds graduate-level coursework or research for one to four academic years. It is a partnership between the district / club in the study location and the district / club in the scholar’s home country. The minimum grant amount is US$30, 000.
Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships – Provides scholarships of up to US$100, 000 for exceptional Indian students to study in North America or Europe. The scholarship covers tuition fees, adequate living expenses and one-way travel. Applicants must be under 30 and reside in India at the time of application.
Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation – Awards interest-free loan scholarships to Indian students with a consistent and strong academic record. The scholarship amount can be up to Rs. 20 lakhs and is awarded to students who wish to pursue postgraduate studies at prestigious Indian and international universities.
5. The Indian Government, both individually and in collaboration, have launched scholarships to help finance proficient students looking to study outside of India. For example:
Government of Telangana – Introduced the “Overseas Study Scheme for Minorities” for the benefit of the students belonging to minority community. Financial assistance will be sanctioned to 500 minority students/graduates per year to pursue Post Graduate/Doctoral studies abroad as per the guidelines.
Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships – The Master’s Fellowships are designed for outstanding Indians residing in India to pursue a master’s degree at selected U.S. colleges and universities. Selected fellows have completed the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree, have at least three years of work experience, and are committed to return and contribute to their communities.