There are various sources of financial aid available for study in the United States:
- Private organizations (U.S. and international), foundations, and international agencies may offer scholarships, grants, and other financial aid to students.
- Certain agencies of the U.S. and foreign governments offer scholarships to international students. U.S. government funding comes only in the form of assistantships, fellowships, and awards programs. U.S. government student loans are not available to international students. Only two percent of all international students in the United States receive any funding from the U.S. government.
- Colleges and universities provide funding through scholarships, grants, and fellowships, although these are limited and most are for graduate-level students.
- Teaching and research assistantships are available at some universities for graduate students who assist an instructor with specific tasks in exchange for financial aid. Eligibility for such assistantships usually is based on academic merit or previous experience, background, and training, not on financial need. Assistantships may not cover all expenses, so you might need additional financial resources.
- Direct exchange programs between a home country university and a U.S. institution may provide a full or partial waiver of tuition and fees.
- Working in the United States is sometimes possible, but U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations strictly prohibit international students from working off-campus in their first year. The rules also impose restrictions beyond the first year. Do not expect to be able to finance your study by working while studying in the United States.
- Loans from some commercial banks require approval from a school’s financial aid office and proof of the creditworthiness of both the student and a co-borrower who must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Loan fees are very expensive; therefore, international students should use them only as last resorts.
- Interest-Free Loans
The Organization of American States, an international organization based in Washington, DC, (1889 F St. NW #619, Washington, DC 20006) offers, through the Rowe Fund program, interest-free loans to competent students from Latin American and Caribbean countries to help them finance their graduate, postgraduate, and final two years of undergraduate studies at accredited universities within the United States. For more information and to download the forms, see www.oas.org/rowe or e-mail the Rowe Fund Program at email@example.com.