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Most of you aspiring for a sky-high career probably spent nights browsing through brochures of dream schools like MIT, Harvard, Yale or Wharton. An “oh-so-stellar” profile with GMAT scores reaching 700 points, work experiences at good companies, and great GPA’s might be there to back you up but your juggernaut stops at the point where you see the hundreds of dollars in tuition fees. Managing your finances and funding for education abroad can be quite complicated. Well, at the end of this blog I assure you, you will think differently about it.
But first, you need to know that money is never a limiting factor for US education. There are great ways to attend the best schools in the world at the price of a 2008 Honda Civic. Sorry Honda, nothing personal. Before you read any further, let me make it clear that this is not a list of hacks or gimmicks to help reduce your stress of funding your education. This is just a perfect reference guide to help you save money while studying abroad.
1) Understand the different ways of reducing the financial burden of US education
Just to give you a little background, our CEO, Mr. Ashish Fernando, attended one of the best business schools in the United States. He didn’t have a lot of work experience but he still received a 100% scholarship before he left his home country. Not only that, but he even got reimbursement for his health insurance and travel, by his school. Cool right? So, point number one is all about doing your research well. Don’t miss out on applying for financial aid simply because you might not get it!
2) Reach out to the school for help. Nothing beats that.
The biggest mistake most students make when applying to schools is thinking that US schools do not solicit any requests for scholarships or tuition waivers outside of their usual norms. You cannot be more wrong if you are someone who thinks that. The US is always hungry for bright foreign brains. The US economy is built that way and schools are a major attraction for top talent from overseas. And to fulfill that commitment, schools will go above and beyond to give merit-based scholarships to deserving students. Browse through the school’s website and apply to any available tuition waivers. Some schools require you to fill out a separate scholarship application and submit along with your admission application. Some automatically consider all international students for foreign aid.
3) Scholarships funded by government and private bodies
No matter how much the schools offer in scholarship, you can still offset some more with a plethora of international scholarships available for worthy students. Most of them do not charge you a dime to apply. If you get through, you just saved yourself a few bucks at least. The internet is your best friend when it comes to finding the ones that fit your profile. The Fulbright-Nehru Awards, for example, enable the most outstanding students, academics and professionals in India and the U.S. to study, research and teach in the host country. Make use of great resources like StudyUSA.com or InternationalScholarships.com that list out the types of scholarships, eligibility criteria, and timelines for each.
4) Graduate and Teaching Assistantship
Say you did not make the cut on the school tuition waiver or the other scholarships. There’s still hope. US schools offer great ways to help full-time students obtain funding for education abroad. A Graduate assistant(GA) is a person who serves in a support role at a university, usually while completing post-graduate education. A Teaching Assistant(TA) is an individual who assists a teacher with instructional responsibilities. Instead of hourly wages, GAs and TA’s are often remunerated in the form of a stipend or waived fees on school courses. Speak to the school Admissions Office or the Center for International Students (every US school has one). Get to know your options and the likelihood of getting an assistantship at the school.
5) Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is sort of like being employed while studying through your Master’s program in the US. It includes alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other types of required internship which is offered by sponsoring employers to students. A lot of students get the opportunity to pursue 6 months of CPT. There, students not only get industry exposure but also get paid a reasonable salary during the duration of the CPT. That lets you pay off at least 25% of your education if you land a good offer. You might hear of Optional Practical Training(OPT) from some sources, but be aware that this only applies once you finish your education.
If you are diligent in trying for all these options to get funding for education abroad, there is a good possibility of you spending the least amount of money while studying. The only things left would be food and living. You can take a look at this video to find out how to eat healthy and stay healthy while studying in USA:
Remember, if you are not successful in getting any of the financial aids mentioned above, then there is always the 5th option. Student loans give you unbelievable interest rates and a 1 to 2-year deferral on installment payments post completion on your course. Research well before making decisions that might impact your pocket in the future. Good luck with all your endeavors. If you have any success stories, do share with the iSchoolConnect community. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please leave your comments and questions about studying abroad. We at iSchoolConnect are always glad to help with study abroad related questions. Visit the Students Home Page for help with applying to universities abroad and avail benefits like 2-week turnarounds, application waivers, and so much more! Know all about the different scholarships for studying abroad, how to apply for student loans, Financial documents required for studying abroad, and more. Click here to check out more helpful blogs!