Bachelors for International Students
University Search for International Students
International students planning to study for their bachelor's degree in the United States face many of the same hurdles that undocumented & DACA students must contend with.
They do not qualify for in-state tuition or financial aid at most public universities. They also often face more selective admissions processes compared to American students. Finally, many international students don't have as much information about American colleges & universities, and often don't have the opportunity to visit prior to applying!
However, by following the steps outlined bellow, international students can find affordable university education in the States!
Three Steps for Success
1. Understand how cost & financial aid work in the United States
3. Apply to other countries as well!
As much as we'd love to guarantee that you can find an affordable university in the U.S., there are no guarantees. Many countries in Europe also have degrees in English.
College Search for International Students
Use the Excel & Map below to search for universities that are more likely to provide financial assistance for international studnets.
What they are going to get?
International students on non-immigrant visas such as (F or J student visas) are not eligible for state or federal financial aid. Basically they are just eligible for institutional aid, outside scholarships, and private loans. In addition, international students pay out-of-state tuition at public schools. Thus, affordable colleges for international students are limited, especially for families who can't contribute anything at all financially.
Financially Affordable Options
1. Look through the private universities that provide aid to international students
Private universities are typically the best options for international students. Most of the more financially generous colleges also provide substantial institutional financial aid for international students. However, some schools like Carnegie Mellon, U Mich, UNC, UVA, that provide aid for American students, don't provide aid for international students.
2. Public Exceptions
A. International students living in Texas can get in-state tuition if they meet certain criteria including attending & graduating from a TX high school for three years.
UT Austin: https://admissions.utexas.edu/residency
B. Other Public Schools providing in-state tuition or other benefits to international students
However, keep in mind that just because a university offers in-state tuition, doesn't mean that the international student qualifies for any need-based financial aid.
Texas State University- Any intl student who qualifies for an Assured Scholarship
UT Dallas- Any intl student who qualifies for a competitive scholarship
Eastern Michigan University (MI)- National Scholars Program
St. Cloud State (MN)
Minnesota State University, Mankato (MN)
Minnesota State University Moorhead
New Mexico State University-- offer “waiver scholarships” to some international students to pay for the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.
Southern Arkansas State University-- offer “waiver scholarships” to some international students to pay for the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.
University of Montevallo in Alabama-- grants in-state tuition to any applicant making a 23C ACT or better.
Truman State University (MO)- low out of state tuition of under $15K.
Don't set your mind on just one country! Check other countries that may be better fits for your needs!
Work & post-graduation options
Working while studying
International students are limited in how much & where they can work. Limitations also depend on wether thy come on a J or F visa. Students on both visas can work part-time on-campus employment is allowed during periods of full study. The difference between the two arises during periods of recess. During periods of recess, students holding F1 status may work full time. Students holding J1 status may also work full time however, they will require the permission of their Alternate Responsible Officer (OISS advisor).
Job restrictions and options after graduation
International students studying on F, J, or M visas face serious restrictions in their ability to stay in the U.S. post-graduation.
The two three main ways that students can remain in the U.S. are:
1. OPT (temporary job for 1 year or 3 years for STEM graduates)
2. Permanent Job (H1B visa)
3.Continue their studies
The Admissions and Financial Aid Process
Generally, admissions for international students is the same as for domestic students. Most universities, who may be need-blind for domestic students, are not need-blind when it comes to international students, but in general, admissions criteria are the same and include test scores, transcripts & grades, essays, recommendations, and extracurricular activities.
The Visa & The Certification of Finances Process
While international students apply and are admitted in a very similar process compared to domestic students, the enrollment process is different.
1. Student applies for admission & financial aid and receives admission letters.
2. Student receives financial aid award letter
3. Student submits certification of finances to the college they decide on.
4. University provides student with I-20 form.
5. Student applies for student visa at local U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country using the I-20 form issued by university.
6. Student passes visa interview, arrives in the U.S. (no more than 30 days before the start of their program) and begins classes.
How to Apply for Financial Aid
International students don't fill out the FAFSA, so institutions use one of 3 ways to get financial information from international students:
1. An institutional financial aid form (available on the website of each school)
2. The College Board International Student Financial Aid Application (ISFAA) form
3. The CSS Profile (see which universities use the CSS Profile for international students).
Student's Visa Status & Residency
Why it matters:
Most non-US Citizens or Permanent Residents (green card holders) are not eligible for state/federal financial aid and aren't eligible for in-state residency for tuition purposes. However, there are exceptions that may change the situation.
StudentAid.gov guidelines for aid:
U.S citizens, permanent residents (Green Card), and some special visa categories are eligible for state & federal financial aid. Typical international students on F, M, or J Visas are not eligible.
All US Visa types: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-typeall.asp
CUNY Non-Citizen Eligibility: http://www2.cuny.edu/financial-aid/student-eligibility/non-citizen-eligibility/
The most common student visas for international students are the F, J, & M visas.
J Visas are for student exchange programs-- usually either short term university exchange programs, or programs like Fulbright. J Visa students usually have a 2-year requirement to return to their home country, and have limitations on staying & working in the U.S. after their studies.
F Visas are the typical student visas that most international students study on.
M Visas are for students studying less than bachelor-degree technical programs such as Assoc. of Applied Science (AAS) degrees at community colleges.
Typical State Rules for Establishing Residency precludes international students from establishing residency even if they attend high school for multiple years.
However, in Texas and maybe?? Minnesota, if international students meet certain criteria, them may gain in-state tuition to certain universities.
UT Austin: https://admissions.utexas.edu/residency