Visa Crunch

Finance your graduation in USA as an international student

Did you know that the USA is the most prominent Noble prize-winning country with a total of 368 awards in academics? Research and development spending by the U.S. Universities and Colleges totalled to $75.3 billion in 2017! So what does this have to do with the funding of your education? Well as a student, it could mean more money for the university to recruit research assistants and also be able to offer scholarships in different fields focused on creative curricula and classroom environments to attract and retain talented students to their campuses.

Many believe that studying in the US is a costly proposition and may consider other destinations from the get-go. Whereas others might apply to some US universities and hope for the best. In this article, we want to spend some time clarifying the basic sources of funding that students from India can use and consider while applying and making final decisions. There is a plethora of resources available – some dependent on academics, some on talent, and some more concentrated on graduate students.

Scholarships are a good source of funding for students, and there are a few key forms that have been explained here:

Need-Based 

Need based scholarships are available typically for one year, but a student may reapply annually. These scholarships are provided based on financial need and completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) required. The FAFSA though can be completed only by domestic students.

Merit-Based

Merit scholarships are those that are usually provided based on academic, athletic or artistic merits of a student, in addition to special interests. Rewarding and recognising talent is the main purpose of merit-based scholarships. It may be given for the full duration of the course, for one year which could be renewed on the basis of the student’s academic profile.

At graduate level, sadly, there are not many grants available to foreign students, although there are part-time opportunities that can be pursued. The keyword here would be to do analysis and take the initiative to tap into what’s out there. 

1. Research Assistantship/Teaching Assistantship: These are only applicable on campus and all research assistant positions are often acquired by MS/PhD students. They may also provide waivers, but they vary from university to university, and from programme to programme.

2. Tuition Fee waiver/Scholarships (Athletic, Need-based & Need-Blind): These are mainly       open to outstanding athletes.

3. Graduate Assistantship/Resident Assistantship: Similar to the concept of RA and TA;    however these may not be in the primary field of research of a student. It could be work, say, at the university gym or at the student services office. Normally, a monthly fixed stipend will be issued bi-monthly or as a monthly paycheck.

4. On-campus part-time employment: International students are permitted to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week while the session is in progress and full-time for up to 40 hours per week during holidays.

5. Off-campus part-time employment: This is only available and allowed under certain conditions by the Designated School Official (DSO).

Networking is the ‘key’ to help expand your horizons. Take advantage of all avenues, such as job fairs, seminars on personal growth and more. Although good grades are significant – beyond that look outside of the classroom to improve your skills.

Interaction with alumni, faculty and current students as well as taking advantage of work and internship fairs, academic/professional conferences will be helpful for you to get financial support as well as improving your potential career and job prospects.

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Shloka Dave

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