international student organizing finances to study abroad in the US

Step 2: Finance Your Studies


Start your financial planning for short-term programs 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 transportation, tuition, fees, and living expenses. Actual costs vary by institution, so refer to the institution’s website for specific costs.

Assess Personal Funds
Start out by evaluating how much funding you or your family can provide for your education. How can you reduce your educational costs?

  • Research a wide variety of institutions, 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

University Exchange Programs
You may be able to apply for funding for an exchange program from your home university or institute, even if study abroad is not a requirement for your program of study. Check to see if your university currently has any partnerships or established exchange programs with U.S. institutions – there may be special tuition agreements or further support you can explore.

Non-degree Programs
Non-degree, or “special students,” are usually, though not always, ineligible to receive university-sponsored financial assistance such as scholarships or assistantships. Funding may be available from independent foundations and organizations, such as Fulbright Commissions, that award scholarships for postgraduate study. Some national governments also offer scholarships for short-term exchange or non-degree programs so be sure to research potential financing options available through your own ministry of education or the equivalent.

General Funding Resources:
Visit the EducationUSA listing of special opportunities and financial aid to see current government and U.S. higher education financial aid opportunities. There are also numerous financial organizations that offer educational loans for international students. Students and parents should thoroughly research loan terms prior to applying and accepting funds.