How Can I Pay for College In the U.S as an International Student?

by | May 9, 2023 | Finance

Studying abroad in U.S colleges and universities gives you access to quality education, a multicultural environment, and opens up doors to an infinite number of opportunities.

U.S colleges and universities are prominently featured among the highest ranking educational institutions in the world. That’s partly due to the substantial funding and support these universities receive, as well as the challenging academic standards and stringent prerequisites that they instill in their students.

But higher education in the U.S isn’t cheap. An undergraduate degree can cost you as much as $25,000-$35,000 per year at a public university and $30,000-$45,000 at private colleges on average in tuition fees.

For many African students, paying for college in the U.S with their own resources is simply unattainable. Fortunately, there are several funding options you can explore to pay for college in the U.S as an international student.

To help you have a smooth study abroad experience, let’s explore some of the best ways to pay for college abroad:


Study Abroad Scholarships

Scholarships are a popular way for international students to pay for college in the U.S. They’re a form of financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid.

Scholarships are awarded by various government bodies, corporate entities, and non-profit organizations. They’re typically awarded to students based on:

  • Academic achievement
  • Athletic ability
  • Artistic Ability
  • Study Area
  • Financial need
  • Other factors such as ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation

Scholarships can cover tuition, fees, books, and living expenses, and can be awarded for a single year or for the duration of a student’s academic program.

To find the right scholarships for you, research different databases. The 8B scholarship database is specifically designed to help African students find funding to study in international universities.

To apply for any scholarships, you’ll need to submit an application, which may include essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Deadlines for scholarship applications can vary. It’s important to research and apply for scholarships well in advance of the start of the academic year.

It’s worth noting that competition for scholarships can be fierce. Not all applicants will receive a scholarship. Put your best foot forward in writing a compelling essay to complement your application. Make sure to avoid making these common scholarship application mistakes.

While there’s no guarantee that your application will be successful, you lose nothing by trying. Even a small scholarship can help offset the cost of tuition and other expenses that come with studying abroad.


Financial Aid Offered by Universities

Many universities in the U.S offer financial aid programs to help students – including internationals – pay for college.

When researching and selecting colleges in the U.S, it’s advisable to look for those with generous financial aid packages for international students.

Just like other scholarships, financial aid from your school is typically based on factors such as:

  • Academic merit
  • Areas of study
  • Athletic or artistic ability
  • Financial need
  • Being a member of an underrepresented group

Financial assistance from your university also includes work-study and loans – more on this below.

Research the types of financial aid available in your school and what you’re eligible for. To apply for institutional aid, students should contact the financial aid office at your college or university.


International Education Loans

You can also use international student loans to pay for college in the U.S. While international students aren’t typically eligible for federal student loans, there are several private lenders providing education loans for international students.

International student loans are a great option to explore after exhausting other resources. Remember, you’ll have to pay back all the money you get on your student loans – plus interest.

Research and compare different lenders to find the most affordable loan for your education abroad. The 8B loan comparison tool allows you to quickly see the kind of loan you’re eligible for from different lenders.

Here are some key factors to consider when comparing international education loan lenders:

  • Eligibility requirements: Eligibility for international education loans can vary depending on the lender or program. For instance, some lenders may require you to have a U.S citizen or permanent resident cosigner. The co-signer is responsible for repaying the loan if the student is unable to do so. If you don’t have a cosigner, look for providers that don’t require a cosigner.

The 8B loan program was specifically created to enable African students to access education loans – even without cosigners.  Check your eligibility.

  • Loan amounts: The amount of an international education loan can vary depending on the lender or program. In general, lenders will consider the cost of attendance at your school, as well as your financial need and ability to repay the loan.
  • Interest rates and fees: Interest rates and fees for international education loans can vary depending on the lender or program. In general, international student loans may have higher interest rates and fees than loans for US citizens or permanent residents.
  • Repayment terms: Different lenders also have varying repayment terms on education loans. Some loans may require repayment to begin immediately, while others may offer a grace period after graduation. In general, you should be prepared to start repaying your education loans soon after graduation.


Work-Study Programs

Work-study programs are a form of financial aid offered by many universities and colleges in the United States to help students pay for their education. These programs provide part-time jobs to eligible students, allowing them to earn money to help cover their expenses while studying.

Work-study programs are usually offered to students who demonstrate financial need. You will be required to fill out some forms to show that you meet certain income and asset requirements.

You can find work-study programs both on-campus and off-campus. Some common work-study jobs include working in libraries, administrative offices, research labs, or in the community.

Work-study jobs generally pay at least the federal minimum wage, but the actual rate can vary depending on the job and the university. Students are usually allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year, and more hours during breaks.

You can negotiate your work hours and pay rate with your employer. However, keep in mind your academic schedule should always take priority.


Part-Time Jobs

Part-time jobs, a popular way for students to earn extra money, can also help you pay for college in the U.S an international student.  

There are many part-time job opportunities available to students, both on-campus and off-campus. Some common part-time jobs for international students include working in:

  • In retail
  • In food service
  • As a tutor
  • As a research assistant

Students may also be able to find part-time jobs in their field of study, such as working as a lab assistant or a freelance writer.

Part-time jobs for students typically involve working less than 35 hours per week. Employers are usually willing to work around a student’s class schedule, and many offer flexible scheduling to accommodate students’ needs.

Part-time jobs for students usually pay at least the minimum wage, but the actual rate can vary depending on the job and the employer. Some employers may offer bonuses or other incentives to attract students to their positions.

Part-time jobs can provide you with more than just a paycheck. They offer an opportunity to gain valuable work experience, develop professional skills, and start building your professional network. Some employers also offer benefits such as health insurance or paid time off to their part-time employees.


Final Words from 8B

Paying for college as an international student in the US can be a challenging task, but there are many funding resources available to help make it more manageable.

Scholarships, grants, and work-study programs are all options for students looking to offset the cost of their education.

After exhausting your other options, international student loans are another valuable funding resource. Use the 8B loan comparison tool to find the most affordable international student loans for African students.

With the right financial resources and a solid plan in place, you can thrive both academically and financially while studying in the U.S. 

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