Financial Aid for International Students: 3 Crucial Tips

by Ashley Eneriz

When it comes to paying for college, most financial aid is available for legal residents of the United States or green card holders. This can be discouraging for international students since they pay tuition in cash—and getting a loan to cover additional tuition costs is not an easy option like it is for U.S. students.

However, not all hope is lost. If you’re an international student looking to find the aid you need to get the degree you want, here are three crucial tips to assist your search.

1. Do Your Research

International student aid is out there, but it can take some digging. Check school websites, reach out to your local Education USA Advisor, and ask questions during campus tours. Some private lenders might be open to a private school loan for international students with a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident co-signer. Input your information into the International Education Financial Aid website to see if you qualify for a loan.

You can also search international scholarship databases, such as the following:

2. Look Into What Different Schools Offer

Many colleges offer scholarships and grants to international students, so look into what’s available at your top choices. At Azusa Pacific University, for example, students from other countries who do not qualify for the Trustees’, President’s, Deans’, Director’s, or Founder’s academic merit scholarships will be considered for the International Scholarship I and II. These academic scholarships cannot be stacked, but they are renewable for up to four years.

Winning either of the International Scholarships can cover up to $40,000 or $48,000 of a student’s four-year degree. Undergraduate international students can also qualify for the APU Grant and Haggard International Scholarship. As for graduate students, International Leadership Scholarships are available to applicants with at least five years of work experience.

3. Consider Community College First

It might not be feasible for some students to attend a university right after high school graduation. Several community colleges allow undergraduate students to earn general education credits while they save money to attend university. By using a tool like Transferology or viewing General Education transfer plans, you can easily see which credits from other U.S. colleges, military experience, and international schools can be applied toward your degree.

Research the schools you’re interested in to determine what scholarships or financial aid international transfer students are eligible to receive. At APU, international students who choose to attend community college first are still eligible to apply for financial aid. In fact, there are three transfer student scholarships (ranging from $7,000 to $12,000) offered each year.

While determining financial aid as an international student isn’t always straightforward, it is possible—and well worth it. Don’t let finances stop you from pursuing the college degree of your dreams.