Searching for scholarships to study at an American college or university can be daunting enough if you're an American student. If you live on the other side of the world, receiving financial assistance to go to college in the United States may seem next to impossible.
Don't give up hope. If you're an international student with your heart set on studying in America, there are some excellent resources out there for you, too.
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We recommend starting with the International Student Exchange & Study Abroad Resource Center at InternationalStudent.com. Not only does the site provide information about financing your education, but it also offers advice on selecting a U.S. school, what the different states are like, the college application process, and preparing for your stay in the U.S.—including information about how to calculate just how much money you will need for the particular area of the country in which you will be living.
Like all students, you'll likely need to fund your college education through a variety of sources, including:
1. Scholarship sites: Both International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search and InternationalScholarships.com use the same database of scholarships available to international students.
The basic search via either site is free and can help identify potential scholarship opportunities worldwide—including more than 500 scholarships for studying in the United States. Many of the scholarship criteria are tied to a specific field of study, which you can select from a handy drop-down list to narrow your search.
2. Your home country: We tell American students to "look close to home" all the time—and the same applies to international students. Your home country may be a source of funding for your international studies.
However, InternationalStudent.com recommends being extremely thorough when researching this option so that you understand all the stipulations involved. Several of these opportunities require their scholarship recipients to return to their home country upon graduation.
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3. U.S. universities: Generally, there is more aid for graduate study in the United States than undergraduate work, but some schools do offer financial aid for undergraduate international students. InternationalStudent.com has compiled a list of colleges and universities that do.
In addition, consider your family, place of employment, and international organizations as other sources of funding before turning to student loans. International students are eligible for private international student loans to study in the United States—as long as you attend an approved school and have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosign for you.
Janine Fugate joined Scholarship America in 2002. She is an alumna of the College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minn., and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Fugate is the recipient of numerous scholarships at both the undergraduate and graduate level.