Attending an American university or college has a big price tag. The tuition may surprise and alarm international students who come from countries where tuition is covered or significantly lower. You’re not alone, American students are equally alarmed by the costs, but it’s an investment, right?!
Before diving into the different resources for financing your American education, you need to be fully aware of the costs. Here’s a snapshot of the tuition costs and expenses:
- Entrance Exams: $500
- Application Fees: $250 – $600
- Tuition: $3,500 – $30,000
- Room & Board: $7,000 – $10,500
- Travel Costs: $500 – $3,000
- Books & Materials: $900 – $1,300
- Health Insurance: $350-$500
- Personal Expenses: $2,500
As you can see, the tuition and cost of living can vary quite a bit and that is a reflection of the United States’ diversity. For example, here is a comparison of the tuition at a private university, a state university and a community college. And this is ONLY tuition.
- Private University/College – Marlboro College: $38,320
- State University – Washington State University: $24,500
- Community College – Diablo Valley College: $7,038
The cost can vary a lot, but the schools above are also very different from each other. It’s important to not only find the school that is a good fit for your educational goals and preferred study environment, but that also fits your budget.
You can assume that the cost of living in the United States varies just as much. For instance, expatistan.com says that living in New York City is 137 percent more expensive than living in São Paulo! The website also provides U.S. city comparisons.
Okay, you get it, studying in the United States can be expensive. The question now is how to pay for your studies abroad.
The fact is that 65 percent of international students pay for their U.S. education with personal and family funds, while 19 percent of funding comes from the university or college you attend, according to the Institute of International Education. Eight percent comes from foreign governments or universities, and another eight percent comes from outside sources.
Use these numbers as a guide for where to ask for your funding. You may need to supplement personal or family funds with scholarships and/or loans. First, investigate to find out if you qualify to apply for any government sponsorships or grants from your home country, such as the Fulbright program.
If you want a scholarship, you should know that few scholarships would cover all of your tuition and costs entirely. But any amount of money helps! When you search for schools find out if they offer any scholarships to international students. Speak to the international programs office as well. Apply for scholarships from the institution you intend to attend. The majority of university and college scholarships will be merit based.
You can also apply for scholarships outside of the your university, but be aware of scams (more tips here!). Here are some reliable websites for scholarships:
- International Scholarships
- International Educational Financial Aid
- Fast Web Scholarships
- Scholarship Experts
Finding and applying for scholarships takes time, so give yourself plenty. Do your research, be cautious of scams, and work hard in school. Your good grades might help pay for your studies in the USA!
Jennifer Privette is the Editor and Assistant Publisher of Study in the USA magazines and StudyUSA.com. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Seattle University.