Lette Berhe

Lette Berhe

U.S. Financial Aid for International Students

If you are an international student interested in studying at a U.S. university, we have good news for you: you can get help paying for it.

If you are an international student interested in studying at a U.S. university, we have good news for you: you can get help paying for it. Yes, it is true that a college degree in the United States is expensive. But, universities also give plenty of money to students like you. According to the 2017 Open Doors Report, the second largest source of funding for more than 1 million international students came from U.S. sources. One of these sources was the universities themselves. Now that you know you can get funding, find out what type of financial aid to look for.


Need-based aid is given to students who can show that paying for college is difficult for them and their family. The best thing to do is contact the admissions office and financial aid department —before applying—to find out what their financial aid process is.

The standard application normally asks you to give a statement of your current finances. But, if you know what extra documents you need to submit to qualify for financial aid, you will be one step ahead of other applicants.


Most schools have several merit-based scholarships for international students. This means they give you money for having an excellent academic record. Some of these scholarships will be given to you automatically after you have submitted your application. But, universities sometimes have other scholarships that are much more competitive and have different requirements. 

If you think that you have a strong, competitive academic record, take the time to look on the school’s website or email the admissions office to see what scholarships you could apply for.


The work-study program on university campuses is a common way many students receive financial aid. These programs are similar to the need-based scholarships in that you have to show that the cost of the university will be difficult for you financially. If you qualify for a work-study program instead of receiving all the money at one time, you will receive it as a salary working on campus.

Every semester, many on-campus departments (libraries, psychology departments, gyms, etc.) have job openings only for work-study students. So, if you qualify be sure to find out where you can find these job posting the first couples of weeks. Still think you can’t afford to study in the United States? Check out U.S. News’ 2016/17 list of financial aid given to international students by top U.S. schools.


School name (state)

Number of international students who received aid during 2016-2017

Average aid awarded to international undergraduates during 2016-2017

Harvard University (MA)



Yale University (CT)



University of Chicago



If you would like to find out more about how to qualify for a U.S. scholarship, sign up for a free Epro 360 consultation!

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