College Financial Aid Tips for International Students

by | Feb 6, 2023 | Admissions, Finance

Higher education can be a valuable investment for one’s future. However, it can also be too costly, especially for international students.

According to a recent study conducted by the Institute of International Education, international students contributed over $45 billion to the US economy in tuition and living expenses in the 2018-2019 academic year. However, a separate study found that more than half of international students struggle to pay for their education and living expenses, often relying on personal savings, loans, and support from their families.

To help bridge the funding gap, college financial aid and scholarships for international students have become increasingly essential. But navigating the process of applying for financial aid can be challenging for many foreign student.

If you don’t know where to start, keep reading.

This guide will provide you with comprehensive tips to exploring college financial aid options as an international student.

Start Your Search Early

Starting early in your search for college financial aid is crucial as international students often face additional financial challenges. By beginning your search at least a year in advance, you’ll have enough time to research and compare financial aid options, meet deadlines, and avoid last-minute stress.

Planning ahead will also allow you to gather all necessary documentation, such as transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation, and give you time to address any issues that may arise.

Additionally, an early start can increase your chances of being awarded financial aid, as some scholarships and grants have limited funds and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis

Research Thoroughly

Thorough research is a critical step in securing college financial aid as an international student. The more you understand about the financial aid options available to you, the better equipped you will be to make informed decisions about financing your education.

There are a multitude of financial aid options available, including:

  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Loans
  • Work-study programs

Each of the college financial aid options above may have different eligibility requirements and application processes. Requirements may include:

  • Minimum grades
  • Test scores
  • Proof of financial need
  • Residency status

With that in mind, research and review each financial aid option thoroughly before you begin the application process.  Doing so will help you tailor your applications to meet the specific requirements of each financial aid option. For example, if a scholarship requires a minimum GPA, you may need to focus on maintaining a high grade point average in order to increase your chances of being awarded the scholarship.

Research both government and private sources of financial aid, as well as options specific to your country of origin and field of study. Compare the terms and conditions of each option to determine which one is the best fit for you.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the financial aid office at your chosen institution or consult with a financial advisor, for assistance in your research.

Complete All Application Requirements

To increase your chances of securing college financial aid, make sure that you complete all the application requirements. Leaving out important documents may lead to your application being disqualified for being incomplete.

After making sure that you’re eligible, carefully read and follow the application instructions.

Make sure to submit your applications well before the deadline. Late or incomplete applications may not be considered.

Additionally, take the time to review your applications before submitting them to ensure that all information is accurate and complete. That includes proofreading essays, checking for typos, and ensuring that all required signatures are in place.

Seek Assistance

Being unfamiliar with the process of applying for college financial aid is understandable. It’s likely that this is your first time doing it.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the college financial aid office at your chosen institution for assistance. They can provide valuable information and guidance on the financial aid options available to you. They can also answer questions about the application process and assist you in completing the necessary forms.

In addition, you can hire a study abroad advisor to help you make informed decisions about financing your education and provide you with information on other resources that may not be widely advertised.

In Closing…

By taking the time to carefully consider your options and make informed decisions, you can increase your chances of securing college financial aid. With careful planning and determination, you can achieve your goal of pursuing your education abroad.


Are you looking for scholarships or student loans to finance your education abroad? Find a scholarship through our extensive scholarship database and compare different loans on the 8B student loan marketplace.

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