Student Grants Qualify
In the United States and Canada, as well as most European countries, college students enjoy significant assistance with the cost of pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees. This assistance comes in the form of government subsidized loans and grants, as well as funding from private foundations and scholarship competitions.
Even if you can qualify for tuition assistance in your own country, it can be confusing and difficult to find financial aid that you can use to pursue your college degree in North America. The United States government does not extend college funding to students from foreign countries. Likewise, immigration and travel restrictions can make it impossible to qualify for employment during your stay in the U.S.
Therefore, you must plan ahead and find resourceful ways to locate scholarships and sponsorships that can help you study abroad. Most students who successfully locate financial aid for an American degree program find it from one of three sources:
They identify a generous, private sponsor.
They earn funding from an international scholarship program.
They secure financial aid within their home country by participating in a locally based foreign exchange program.
Locating a Private Sponsor
Throughout most of the world, wealthy individuals often sponsor eager students from their communities. By paying for a college student's international learning experience, they hope that their beneficiary will contribute their talents to the world, bringing praise and satisfaction back to their hometown. Other sponsors expect students to bring the knowledge and the perspective gained from international study back home, where they can help fellow citizens. Experts advise that you seek private sponsorship for your studies from friends, family members, and neighbors in your home country.
Qualifying for Scholarship Programs
More frequently, international students can earn money for an American college degree by competing for prestigious scholarships. Many private foundations and charitable organizations sponsor scholarship competitions to help advance their cause or expand their profession. Family foundations extend smaller scholarships to honor the memory of deceased loved ones, some of whom may have wished to help foreign students.
A number of service organizations, like the Rotary Foundation, offer scholarships to international students who can spread goodwill on the organization's behalf in their home countries. Trade organizations often recruit bright students who want to apply specific skills in their homeland.
Government organizations and agencies offer scholarships for a variety of reasons. Many governments subsidize international education to bridge cultural gaps between countries. Other nations hope that students can gain advanced knowledge and skills in the United States that they can put to work to improve the quality of life in their home country.
Because competition for these limited international scholarships is fierce, you should have a clear vision of the career you want to pursue. That way, you can search for scholarships in a narrower field, where you stand a better chance at earning money for your college education. You may have to wade through directories and guidebooks to locate the right scholarship programs, but your research and hard work could earn you free tuition to some of the world's most prestigious universities.
Making Exchange Programs Work for You
Most international students who find financial aid to attend school in the United States arrange their degree program through a local exchange program. Although this solution may seem like a compromise, it may be the only reasonable way to get outside help with your tuition expenses.
Financial Aid Tip
"Through reciprocal exchange agreements, you will not have to pay tuition to your host campus, though you will be responsible for covering your living expenses."