Whether you need financial aid to study abroad or not, it’s likely that some is available for a student in your specific situation. If you’re an international student, you may have been discouraged by the number of scholarships, grants, and low-interest loans that are only available to US students. But don’t despair! There is money out there for students from all over the world who are qualified to study in the US, across numerous disciplines and fields. In some cases, the application process is not very competitive; some of these programs are not adequately advertised and NO ONE ends up receiving the awards.
Do Your Research
When you apply for school, you likely filled out a financial aid application along with your standard admissions forms. This will connect you with most resources related to your school, saving you a lot of trouble when researching finance options. But it doesn’t stop there. Search your school’s website for the scholarships and aid available then branch out from there. Seek out the organizations that officially pay out the award; look for other student aid programs they offer. Do a Google search using any and every search term related to your situation, including your major, your gender, your country of origin, and anything else you can think of. This is worth your time. You never know where searching for “Indian woman geophysics scholarship” will lead you!
Bargain with Your School
At the time you are offered admission, you will likely be offered a certain amount of financial aid…and it may be less than you expected. Remember the school is making you an offer. You can make a counter-offer if you feel you need or deserve more money to finance your education. Your school may not be able to meet your offer but it’s always worth a try. They may, in fact, compromise with you and offer you something in between!
Cover the Basics
When you’re seeking what is basically free money, you will face obstacles. Although the various resources and institutions you encounter want to connect qualified students with the money, they do have to perform due diligence and make sure you are who you say you are. No doubt, there will also be paperwork and deadlines that you must fulfill to qualify. Students who are unorganized or easily discouraged will not meet these requirements and throw away opportunities simply because they did not take care of the basics. Simply filling out forms and submitting them on time will put you ahead of more of your peers than you might realize.
Even after days’ worth of research, along with multiple emails and phone calls, you may not have found a program or offering that suits your needs. That doesn’t mean it’s not available! Be persistent and stay confident. Good things don’t come easily. If you’re feeling discouraged, take a break and focus on the positive. Remember: you’re embarking on a challenging journey, leaving your home country to start a new future for yourself. You’ve done a lot of great things to come this far. Don’t stop now!