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Financing Your Education as an International Student

Written by: Haley (she/her)

2 min read | Published: August 29, 2023

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Post-secondary education can be expensive. International students often pay more for tuition in the United States compared to students from America, exemplified by in-district or in-state tuition rates. Although it can be difficult to navigate paying for school, there are lots of options available to you as you think about covering the costs of your education.

Financial Aid

One option available to international students is applying for financial aid through the financial aid office at your college or university. You can typically schedule a phone or virtual appointment if a meeting on campus is not convenient. Some financial aid offices even allow drop-in appointments so you can stop by between classes on a day that works for you. You can also check with your school to determine if you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Although international students don’t qualify for aid from the U.S. government, your college might use this form to determine your eligibility for aid from the school itself.

Loan-Free Options

As an international student, you have many scholarship and grant opportunities available to you. Check your college or university’s website to see what scholarships or grants they offer. If you apply and are given a scholarship or grant, it can be a great way to avoid paying interest since it may prevent the need to take out a loan. Taking out fewer loans during your college or university experience can decrease the amount of student loan debt you have to pay back after graduation.

Student Employment

Another option available for international students is to look into student employment or paid internships. Working a job while you’re in school can be a great way to reduce borrowing money for your education and living expenses. In my experience, my student job allowed me to move off campus, saving me money by doing so. Many student employers are willing to work around your class schedule, offering flexibility other jobs may not. Internships and on-campus employment can also provide a way to meet people and become more familiar with your college or university. Don’t forget to inquire about nearby credit unions or banks so you have somewhere for your hard-earned cash to go!

Continuing your education can be a really exciting time in your life! As an international student, you have lots of opportunities available to you to finance your education. Using one or more of the tips above could help you make the most of your educational experience while taking some of the financial pressure off you as you complete your degree.


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