student meeting with adviser to review US study options

Step 2: Finance Your Studies

Community College

Start your financial planning as early as possible to assess what you can afford. As you work to develop a budget for your studies, keep in mind that your overall costs include tuition, fees, and living expenses. Actual costs vary by institution, so refer to the institution’s website for specific amounts. When budgeting, you should estimate that tuition costs typically increase 6-10% each year.

Beginning your studies at a community college is often a great way to save on funds as tuition costs tend to be lower. Furthermore, many four-year colleges will accept transfer credits from community colleges, allowing students to complete the "2+2" model whereby they spend their first two years at a community college -- earning an associate's degree -- and then transfer to a four-year institution to complete their bachelor's degree, often saving thousands of dollars.  Some community colleges have articulation agreements with specific four-year institutions that further ease the transfer process. While some community colleges offer financial aid to international students, it is less common than at four-year colleges.

Assess Personal Funds

Start out by evaluating how much funding you or your family can provide for your education. If you are planning to apply for financial aid, note that general financial aid amounts are based on the difference between the college cost and what your family can afford. Understand that most scholarship awards cover only part of the total educational and living costs and may not be available to first-year international students. 

How can you reduce your educational costs? 

  • Research a wide variety of community colleges
  • Think about applying to colleges in areas of the United States that have a lower cost of living, such as in the South or the Midwest or in more rural areas of the country
  • Attend a community college first and then transfer to a four-year school to complete your bachelor's degree

How can EducationUSA Advisers help you plan your expenses?

Advisers can help you distinguish yourself in a highly competitive applicant pool so that you have a better chance of competing for admission with financial aid. Advisers have access to resources that help you learn about scholarships and new programs. Advisers also share current information about financial aid.

General Funding Resources: