advider helping international student review study financing options

Step 2: Finance Your Studies


Start your graduate financial planning as early as possible. 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 each institution’s website for specific costs. When budgeting, estimate that tuition costs typically increase 6-10% each year.

Assess Personal Funds

Start out by evaluating how much funding you or your family can provide for your education: annual family income, family assets, your own earnings, and other sources. If you are planning to apply for financial aid, note that general financial aid amounts are based on the difference between college costs and what your family can afford. Understand that most scholarship awards may cover only part of your 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 schools, from public to private
  • 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 rural areas of the country
  • Identify sources of financial aid, including home government scholarships, U.S. government assistance, private sources and international organizations, U.S. universities, and loans.
  • Find out if the institutions in which you are interested have opportunities for you to work as a graduate teaching or research assistant in exchange for a tuition waiver and/or a stipend. This is very common at the PhD level.

Plan Ahead

Deadlines for scholarships and grants can be as early as 18 months before your program start date. Before you submit your application, research independent scholarships and identify univerisities with financial aid in your field of study. Contact professors in your department of interest at U.S. institutions since they play an important role in identifying and choosing grant and funding recipients in their departments.

The main types of U.S. university assistance are fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and administrative assistantships. Make sure you understand the responsibilities involved and level of funding before accepting an award.

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 identify scholarships and new programs. Advisers also share current information about financial aid opportunities.

General Funding Resources: