scholarship Education, they say, is the key to success in life. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most
expensive pursuits in life. In the United States, for example, the average student pays $33,215 per year for
an undergraduate course, which translates into a whopping $132,860 for a four-year undergraduate degree.
As a result, many students end up either dropping out of school, deferring their studies, or going into the job market
to earn money to pay for their education.
Currently, the United States has the highest number of international students at an estimated one million.
That means about 5 percent of all students in the US are from abroad, with the number on a steady rise every year.
In a quest for quality education and greener pastures, many Africans have moved to the US and are thus
a substantial component of the one million international students.
Not all these students are having it easy, though. The financial burden is quite straining for a number of them.
Nevertheless, it does not have to be that way. There are multiple ways to overcome the financial constraints
. You must diligently examine the available options and come to a decision that suits your unique needs.
Below are some options available.
Despite not having enough funds to finance your education in the US as an international student
you can always apply for scholarships and grants. These funds run into billions a year and are availed by the Federal
Government, State Governments, nonprofits, government agencies, and educational institutions.
While grants are mainly disbursed based on the needs of every student applicant, scholarships primarily
target students with high GPA. Some scholarships are, however, awarded based on a student’s
excellence in sports and arts, among other talents.
To submit your application for either a scholarship or a grant, avoid companies that demand for some
fee as a prerequisite for applications. You can make use of the College Board’s Scholarship
Search system, which is free and comprehensive. Other platforms that offer extensive information
about scholarships and grants include CollegeNet.com, Scholarships.com, Federal Student Aid, and Fastweb.com.
Truth be told, most universities and colleges in the US are very expensive the one with lower price is scholarship.
However, with a good search, you can get colleges that are surprisingly affordable.
As you take this step, always give priority to government institutions because they are more reliable either
paid or scholarship. Of course, there are myriads of other private colleges and universities that are also trustworthy.
Even as you consider affordability, be sure to confirm the academic institution you choose is accredited.
Some of the US universities that are affordable and open for international students include
University of Georgia (Est. $30,392), Binghamton University (Est. $26,328),
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Est. $28,910), Florida State University (Est. $21,683),
and Asbury University (Est. $28,631).
University of Texas promises full scholarships to in-state students with family incomes under $65K by 2020.
If you do not have the financial aptitude to take care of your cost of education in the US, you
may choose to take advantage of the many loan facilities available for international students.
Most loaning institutions welcome both new and continuing students to apply.
If you are lucky enough, you can secure a loan that pays off your entire tuition fee for the course.
Either way, you are likely to get enough funds to finance your education if you do your search right.
Friendly loan terms are crucial if you are to have the peace of mind during and after your studies.
Some loans have very stringent terms and may jeopardize your learning experience.
Therefore, you have to exercise precaution and only go for what would work best for you based
on your current financial state and forecast.
Federal Government loans are among the friendliest. They do not attract high interest rates
and have amiable repayment terms as well. Repayment starts six months after your graduation.
You would also be required to start making payments when you drop out of school or go below
half-time enrollment. While direct subsidized loans demand proof of financial need, the direct unsubsidized
loans are accessible to anyone regardless of their financial status.
Whichever direction you take, ensure you fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
to find out about the loans available for you. For Federal Student Loans, the deadline is usually
June 30th every year, while state loans usually have varying deadlines.
On matters student loans, exercise due diligence.
In case your documents allow you to work, this could be a very good way to cut down
on the financial pressure that come with studying in the US. Still, you must be conscious period.
Before you consider taking a job, therefore, ascertain its nature and the implication it would have on your studies.
If you are fortunate enough, you could land a job with a company that pays for your education
besides giving you a little stipend at the end of every month. Some academic institutions
also offer jobs that carry with them numerous benefits for employees who would like to further
their studies. Such an institution may offer to fully pay for your school fees on specific terms.
Make sure the terms are agreeable to you. Serving as a correctional officer is another very beneficial position.
On top of a handsome monthly package, the position offers flexible working hours,
giving you ample time to balance work and study without major hiccups.
You would also benefit from an extensive medical cover and 401k.
Granted, studying and working may at times be very difficult, especially if your job is very demanding.
This, coupled with the need to attend classes at the campus, might simply not be practical, especially
if you are not working close to the school. In such a case, you may consider taking an online course.
This option would save you the time you would typically spend commuting to the campus from your workplace.
Even as you work to lower your financial burden, do not let work to completely eat into your study time
to the extent that you cannot continue with your education smoothly.
For a student travelling to the US either as a graduate or a continuing student, consider
discussing with the US academic institution whether you qualify for credit transfers. In most cases,
a transfer would help you get many exemptions that would end up cutting down on your tuition fees significantly.
If you wish to transfer credits from a non-US university, have your papers examined by the World Education
Services or Educational Credential Evaluators. Remember that even if you receive a credit transfer,
the credits would not form part of your grade point average in the US university.
If you have an academic advisor, seek his or her advice on which courses would give you credit in the
US institution. In case your former university has an existing relationship with your preferred US academic
institution, you may get credit transfers without much ado.
At the end of the day, the research you put in and the reliability of the information sources you rely
on to make your decisions will determine how much of the financial burden related to studying in the US
will be removed. At every stage, keep on visiting the information and application platforms
just to be sure that no changes have been effected that would invalidate your application.