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How Do International Students Fund Their Education in the US?

Studying in the US can be expensive. So, how do students from abroad fund their studies? The Institute of International Education provides statistics on this every year. Below are the stats from the 2013/2014 school year — in particular, I highlight the top 4 ways students fund their studies. This accounts for 97% of students. Take note that this data includes international students at all levels — associate’s, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees (so graduate students, take heart! You will likely get more funding than undergrads :)).

Money map

1. Personal and Family: 64.7%

Almost sixty-five percent of students fund the majority of their education either personally, or with help from their family. For those of you considering doing this, I’d definitely recommend applying for scholarships to help ease the financial burden. It may be extra work, but it will be worth it.

2. US College or University: 19.3%

Almost 20% of students receive the majority of their funds from their institutions. There are several different ways a university could provide funding to international students: offering a TA position, a research position, scholarships, etc. Be sure to research the options at your target schools.

3. Foreign Government or University: 7.5%

Governments often have programs that encourage citizens to study internationally in order to foster cultural exchange and understanding (like the US’s Fulbright Program). Universities also have similar programs, so if you’re looking for ways to fund your education, this is definitely something to keep in mind.

4. Current Employer: 5.6%

Many companies offer to pay for an employee’s tuition to help them further their career and knowledge base. If you plan to return to the same company after earning an advanced degree, you should ask if your employer has any programs like this in place.


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