So you are an international student who wants to apply for colleges in the United States. If you seek financial aid as an international applicant, it may seem like you have no good options. Although your options are more limited than those of U.S. citizens, don’t give up! Here are some must-have financial aid starter tips:
First, be sure to visit the US Department of Education website to look at some of the most commonly recommended pathways. This website will be able to point you to official resources. Perhaps foremost among these options is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA.
Should I fill out the FAFSA?
Many colleges will ask international students to submit a FAFSA so they have data for assessing financial need. You may not be eligible to submit (or your FAFSA may be rejected), but the information can still be helpful for obtaining state-aid or college-specific scholarships. It’s usually worth the time!
Try looking at each college specifically.
Some colleges are more likely than others to provide need-based financial aid to international applicants. Though it may take some extra legwork, your most reliable information will come from the college’s official websites. [Tip: if you need help with the research side, reach out to Empowerly! We have experts to help you out.]
Here are some useful links to start you off:
- University of Pennsylvania
- UC Berkeley
- University of Chicago
- Pomona College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Washington University in St. Louis
And don’t be afraid to call the admissions office to clarify any confusion you may have! The officers who work there will likely be happy to answer your questions when you show initiative and interest in your education and a positive future at their school.
Last note: applying to University of California (UC) schools
You can learn about the California Dream Act grants at here. These schools also offer financial aid for international students. Some other options are:
- If you applied to UC Merced, Global Grants are available to qualified international students if you have a sponsored F-1 visa status. Please see the Global Grant website for more information.
- UC campuses can offer alternative/private loan options for international students with financial need. Please refer to the lender list provided specifically for international students.
Best of luck in the college admissions process!
If you have any remaining questions or are interested in learning more about college counseling, you can reach out to us directly below. We are more than happy to discuss your current standing, offer tips, and recommend best options for how we can help you achieve success on your educational journey.